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MARC ALMOND • DEVENDRA BANHART • BØRNS • NICK CAVE • HELGA DAVIS • ELYSIAN FIELDS • PERRY FARRELL • GAVIN FRIDAY • EMILY HAINES • JESSE HARRIS • JOAN JETT • KESHA • KING KHAN • SEAN LENNON & CHARLOTTE KEMP MUHL • NENA • MARIA McKEE • FATHER JOHN MISTY • JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL • GABY MORENO • BETH ORTON • PEACHES • TODD RUNDGREN • U2 feat. ELTON JOHN • LUCINDA WILLIAMS • VICTORIA WILLIAMS with JULIAN LENNON
The genius and pioneering influence of Marc Bolan’s T. Rex – 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and one of the great rock musicians of all time – will be celebrated with AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T. Rex, out September 4 on BMG. The collection features 26 songs culled from Bolan’s vast body of work released as T. Rex and Tyrannosaurus Rex from 1968-77.
A wide-ranging cast of wizards and cosmic dancers have joined together to reimagine Bolan’s work – sometimes in radical fashion – resulting in a collection that is less tribute than bold new work. Read below for the full list of artists and tracklist, which includes Bolan’s greatest songs: “Jeepster,” “Bang A Gong (Get It On),” “Ride A White Swan” and beyond.
AngelHeaded Hipster was lovingly created by the late Hal Willner, who passed away on April 7 from COVID-19. The acclaimed music producer, who “for nearly four decades bent and shaped the dimensions of almost-popular music” (New York Times), produced albums for artists including Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull and William S. Burroughs, and concept albums drawing upon the music of Thelonious Monk, Kurt Weill, vintage Disney films and others. He also produced concert events exploring the work of such subjects as Leonard Cohen, Allan Sherman, Neil Young, Edgar Allan Poe and Tim Buckley, and served as the Saturday Night Live sketch music producer for nearly 40 years. After his passing, many of the artists who knew Willner best posted tributes to his singular spirit, including Elvis Costello, Bono, Tom Waits and Nick Cave, who praised Willner’s “limitless imagination” adding “Hal was our visionary, our ringleader, always working against reason itself, armed with a deep love and bottomless knowledge of music.”
Says Rachel Fox, Supervising Producer of AngelHeaded Hipster and longtime Willner collaborator, “Hal had a unique vision of Marc Bolan’s music, and working on AngelHeaded Hipster brought him great joy. Speaking for those closest to him, we will forever be heartbroken at the untimely loss of our beloved friend and irreplaceable creative engine. Hal, who referred to AngelHeaded Hipster as his ‘White Album’, was eager for everyone to hear these beautiful songs and to start thinking about Bolan and T. Rex again. This album is a testament to Hal’s spirit.”
Willner worked on AngelHeaded Hipster for several years, with sessions spanning continents, from New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans, to London, Paris and Berlin. The album features special guests Donald Fagen, Mike Garson, Bill Frisell, Wayne Kramer, Van Dyke Parks and Marc Ribot, with arrangements by Thomas Bartlett, Steven Bernstein, Eli Brueggemann, J.G. Thirlwell and Steve Weisberg.
The project was conceived and executive produced by Bill Curbishley and Ethan Silverman. Kate Hyman had the creative vision to ask Hal to produce it.
The many sides of Bolan are explored as each performer celebrates their favorite version of him. That includes mining his incendiary, imperial pop star albums Electric Warrior and The Slider, harking back to his days with Steve Peregrin Took in Tyrannosaurus Rex (the band that bridged his acoustic folk period and the electric awakening of T. Rex), and reflecting on his later records and comeback hit “I Love To Boogie” from his final album Dandy In The Underworld. In true Willner fashion, the album’s title was inspired by Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl: “angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,” a line heralding the coming rock ‘n’ roll revolution in the wake of Elvis Presley, an essence that Bolan embraced and reinvented.
Marc Bolan was many things – a folk pop troubadour, Glam Rock’s metal guru, a pop star who burned as bright as any, a brilliant guitarist, style icon, poet. He has been famously cited as a major influence by some of the biggest names in music from David Bowie to Johnny Marr. He died in 1977 aged just 29, after a car crash in London.
1. Children Of The Revolution – Kesha
2. Cosmic Dancer – Nick Cave
3. Jeepster – Joan Jett
4. Scenescof – Devendra Banhart
5. Life’s A Gas – Lucinda Williams
6. Solid Gold, Easy Action – Peaches
7. Dawn Storm – BØRNS
8. Hippy Gumbo – Beth Orton
9. I Love To Boogie – King Khan
10. Beltane Walk – Gaby Moreno
11. Bang A Gong (Get It On) – U2 feat. Elton John
12. Diamond Meadows – John Cameron Mitchell
13. Ballrooms Of Mars – Emily Haines
1. Main Man – Father John Misty
2. Rock On – Perry Farrell
3. The Street and Babe Shadow – Elysian Fields
4. The Leopards – Gavin Friday
5. Metal Guru – Nena
6. Teenage Dream – Marc Almond
7. Organ Blues – Helga Davis
8. Planet Queen – Todd Rundgren
9. Great Horse – Jessie Harris
10. Mambo Sun – Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl
11. Pilgrim’s Tale – Victoria Williams with Julian Lennon
12. Bang A Gong (Get It On) Reprise – David Johansen
13. She Was Born To Be My Unicorn / Ride A White Swan – Maria McKee