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Remembering Bolan, ‘20th Century Boy’

October 18, 2017

By Peter McDermott

Joe Hurley.

PHOTO: K. YATOROLA

 

By Irish Echo Staff

A star-studded cast will mark the 40th anniversary of the passing of glam-rock icon Marc Bolan and the 70th anniversary of his birth on Sunday and Monday evenings at the City Winery, Varick Street, in Downtown Manhattan.

Joe Hurley, who organized a similar event a decade ago, will share the stage with Suzanne Vega and Bolan’s son and guest of honor Rolan Bolan.

The Irish performers, he revealed, will include the Screaming Orphans, Gerry Leonard (perhaps most famous for his work with David Bowie), Daphne Guinness and Pierce Turner.

Hurley said that “members of Blondie, the New York Dolls, Patti Smith Group, Alice Cooper Group, Voidoids, and more” will showcase Bolan and T. Rex’s hits such as “Telegram Sam,” “Ride a White Swan,” “Children of the Revolution,” “Metal Guru,” “20th Century Boy” and “Get It On.”

Rolan Bolan.

“This is the kind of super group you would pay to hear play the hits of the Wombles, let alone those of Marc Bolan,” Hurley said. “The moon is rising, there’s barely a cloud in the sky, and nearly 1,500 Bolan fans and New York rockers are enjoying an almost endless parade of New York legends singing tribute to the founding father of Glam Rock.”

Bolan was born Mark Feld, on Sept. 30, 1947, and grew up in Hackney, east London, the son of Phyllis (nee Atkins) and Simeon Feld, a truck driver who was of East European Jewish extraction.

An enthusiast for rock ‘n roll music during his childhood, he was briefly a model and formed a series of bands that had little success. Then in 1967, Tyrannosaurus Rex was born. The band released four psychedelic folk albums, and the front man also published a book of poetry that sold thousands of copies.

However, real success came when the band went electric and shortened its name to T. Rex. From 1970 through 1973, it had 11 consecutive top-10 hits in the UK charts, four of which went to No. 1.  Thereafter T. Rex had less chart success, but it continued to release an album a year.

Marc Bolan on ABC’s “In Concert” in 1973.

 

In 1975, Bolan’s girlfriend, the American singer-songwriter Gloria Jones, gave birth to Rolan.

Marc Bolan died in the early hours of Sept. 16, 1977, when his car hit a tree in southwest London. Jones, who was driving, was seriously injured.

Jones, who eventually returned to live in the U.S., released an album, “Windstorm,” in 1978. On the back cover is written: “Special Dedication in memory of my son’s father, Marc Bolan, whom we miss very much.”

Some of the proceeds from the City Winery shows will go to the Marc Bolan School Of Music in Sierra Leone. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show both nights. Go to citywinery.com.

 

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