The legacy of Marc Bolan and T. Rex will be celebrated in extravagant fashion next year, when BMG will release a tribute album — for which U2, Foo Fighters, Elton John and others are recording tracks — and documentary honoring the singer. Veteran producer Hal Willner (Lou Reed, Lucinda Williams, Laurie Anderson, “Saturday Night Live”) is helming the set.
The project is a companion to a T. Rex documentary coming from the company’s film division, which CEO Hartwig Masuch spoke with Variety about early this year.
Other performers slated for the set include Joan Jett, Nick Cave, Perry Farrell, Soft Cell singer Marc Almond, Kesha and Borns. A source tells Variety that U2 have recorded T. Rex’s biggest hit, 1971’s “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” for the set.
A rep for BMG had no comment beyond a statement confirming that it and Who/Robert Plant manager Bill Curbishley’s Trinifold company “are currently co-producing an album and accompanying documentary of artists celebrating the work of Marc Bolan.”
However, a source close to the situation stressed to Variety that the lineup for the album is not finalized. News of the set has been trickling out for several months: Willner spoke about it in a New York Times profile last year, and veteran DJ Matt Pinfield tweeted about it last week.
While he had just one hit in the U.S., Marc Bolan and the band he led, T. Rex, were monumental superstars in the U.K. and Europe during the early 1970s. From his early days as a “mod” fashion plate to his first albums as a hippie folksinger to his 1970 transformation into a pioneering glam rock icon, Bolan’s star power and hits like “Bang a Gong (Get It On),” “Telegram Sam,” “Jeepster,” 20th Century Boy” and “Children of the Revolution” made him one of the biggest stars of the era.
As his hits cooled off, Bolan had his own variety show, “Marc,” on the BBC, which he used to spotlight rising punk bands of the era, passing the baton to a generation he had helped to spawn. David Bowie was a longtime friend and rival — during his 1999 VH1 “Storytellers” segment, Bowie recalled first meeting Bolan in 1964 when both were enlisted to paint their then-manager’s office — and the two of them performed together on “Marc” just days before Bolan’s death in a car accident in October of 1977.