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AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T. Rex

Angelheaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T. Rex

New compilation produced by the late Hal Willner

Marc Bolan and T. Rex are remembered with AngelHeaded Hipster, a new compilation album which features interpretations of his songs by Nick Cave, U2, Elton John, Marc Almond, Todd Rundgren, Joan Jett and more.

There’s certainly and interesting mix of styles and artists evident. U2 celebrate Marc with a version of ‘Bang A Gong (Get It On)’ (with Elton John on piano), Nena tackles ‘Metal Guru’, Joan Jett jumps on ‘Jeepster’, while Nick Cave puts his stamp on ‘Cosmic Dancer’, which you can hear below.

AngelHeaded Hipster also acts as a tribute to American music producer Hal Willner who died earlier this month from COVID19. He worked on this project and before his death he discussed his thoughts on Bolan and this album:

“I became immersed in this artist by listening to everything, talking to Bolan experts & fans, researching his reviews and interviews. And I found that Bolan was hardly ever talked about as a “composer”. It was all about what a great rocker he was, how innovative he was, how David Bowie took his essence and Bolan was in his shadow… But I put him in the same pantheon as other composers that I’ve explored before. So, the concept for the album became to show Bolan as a composer with our typical cast of artists from different worlds that one rarely sees in the same place.”

AngelHeaded Hipster (the term is from a line in Allen Ginsberg’s poem ‘Howl’) will be released on 4 September 2020, via BMG. It’s available as a two-CD set and on double vinyl. A limited white vinyl edition is also available. A special AngelHeaded Hipster online store has also been set up.

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Various Artists

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Angelheaded Hipster - 2LP black vinyl

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Children Of The Revolution – Kesha
Cosmic Dancer – Nick Cave
Jeepster – Joan Jett
Scenescof – Devendra Banhart
Life’s A Gas – Lucinda Williams
Solid Gold, Easy Action – Peaches
Dawn Storm – Børns
Hippy Gumbo – Beth Orton
I Love To Boogie – King Khan
Beltane Walk – Gaby Moreno
Bang A Gong (Get It On) – U2 feat. Elton John
Diamond Meadows – John Cameron Mitchell
Ballrooms Of Mars – Emily Haines
Main Man – Father John Misty
Rock On – Perry Farrell
The Street and Babe Shadow – Elysian Fields
The Leopards – Gavin Friday
Metal Guru – Nena
Teenage Dream – Marc Almond
Organ Blues – Helga Davis
Planet Queen – Todd Rundgren
Great Horse – Jessie Harris
Mambo Sun – Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl
Pilgrim’s Tale – Victoria Williams with Julian Lennon
Bang A Gong (Get It On) Reprise – David Johansen
She Was Born To Be My Unicorn / Ride A White Swan – Maria McKee

66 responses to AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T. Rex

  1. NY Frog says:

    Yet more muzak for coffee shops…

    .. but of course, as an addicted Bolan completist I am compelled to listen to it at least once…

  2. AMP59 says:

    What utter nonsense from these folks with their blethering of this being nothing more than a magazine cover-mount. They’ve clearly not heard it, are stone cold deaf or listening through a bean can. Some great effort has gone into the makings of most of these tracks, with Emily Haines’ Ballrooms of Mars as a prime example. And what’s the point of carbon-copy versions? Most of the recordings come with brand new ideas and whilst Perry Farrell (he of never a dull moment) may mimic Bolan’s intonations, he’s reinvented with his take of Rock On. As stated by others, Nick Cave surpasses himself, but there’s 26 versions on this collection and a lot to thoroughly enjoy from it. Never thought I’d hear Gavin Friday doing the Leonard Cohen.

  3. Chris S says:

    Nice mix of songs and artists.

  4. No “I Love To Boogie”, “20th Century Boy”, or “Celebrate Summer”? What about Morrissey? How come he doesn’t appear on this album? But good to see that the legacy of T-Rex is being carried on into the Generation Y and Millenial market. :-)

    • Joe says:

      “I Love to Boogie” by King Khan is on there…Agree, these type of releases do help the the T.Rex legacy. Many fans of these contributing artists get a nod to listen to some original Bolan, and many will get hooked…The usual stick in the muds are already rubbishing the release, and decided it’s ‘rubbish’ without hearing over 90% of it..

  5. Noel Kelly says:

    No Hot Love?

  6. Samson says:

    This is cool, I like Ty Segall’s T Rex cover albums as well. I think everyone has their own super list of artists to cover T Rex mine would be: Caetano Veloso, Cass McCombs, Cate Le Bon, White Fence, King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard, Wand, Thundercat, Thee Oh Sees, Sylvan Esso, STRFKR, Sam Cohen, Sleepy Son, H Hawkline, The Growlers, & Dirty Projectors.

  7. garax says:

    That cover is so bad it actually makes me cross. It’s like – if you are going to make that little effort then why bother at all.

  8. Mic Chandley says:

    Looking forward to it. Love Nick Cave cover of Cosmic Dancer and should be a single release ASAP.

  9. Stiv Bator's Ghost says:

    Where’s “20th Century Boy” and “Cadillac?” Imagine someone like Jack White, Iggy Pop, Guns n’ Roses or what’s left of AC/DC covering those tunes….

  10. Jim says:

    I love the Nick Cave version.

    • Mic Chandley says:

      Me too. I think it should be made available for a single download ASAP. In doing that, it would help to promote the album. I believe it would be a huge hit too.

  11. Stuart Wright says:

    aaargh, no! The “cover CD ” comments were bang on…

    (Elton John and U2 were the final straw).

    If I like it when I hear it I will eat my Wizard’s Hat..

    • Haha. I’m with you. Although he did play keyboards along with Ringo Star on drums in a version of “Tutti Frutti/Children of The Revolution” with T Rex many moons ago.

  12. Jamil Ahmad says:

    I can not believe that Peter Murphy is not on it… Especially since Bauhaus covered Telegram Sam and I have to say, if anyone could cover Cosmic Dancer …it would be Peter M.

  13. Claw, PS says:

    Where is Dandy in the Underworld? One of T Rex’s great songs.

    • Mic Chandley says:

      The words, brilliant. The music C, Am, F, G Bolan used so so much so for me, just another boring track. Teenage Dream with different words.

  14. Kenny C says:

    Several interesting names, Nick Cave, Maria Mckee, Nena etc and for £10 I’ll give it a go. Be good to hear the Tyrannosaurus efforts but as for U2 jumping on the bandwagon again , please NO. Cover artwork a bit dodgy but easily ignored. Great to hear Bolan still being appreciated today

  15. Michael says:

    I really like Nick Cave’s version of “Cosmic Dancer.” The list of other participating artists on this album might be a mixed bag of hits and misses, as cover albums tend to be, but very interesting nonetheless. Everything considered, I still can’t stop thinking how perfect it would have been if David Bowie were able to contribute some of his interpretations of the Marc Bolan songbook on this compilation.

  16. David Geldard says:

    I will buy this but I wish they had included Def Leppard ( huge Bolan fans) or Gilby Clarke’s version of Life’s A Gas.

  17. Rog says:

    Main Man is one of my favourites. Looking forward to the Father John Misty version!

  18. David ellis says:

    The Pilgrim’s Tale is an overlooked gem so can’t wait to hear that – it’s these lesser known songs (outside of Bolan circles) that are going to be the interesting ones. U2 doing Get it on? Yawn….

  19. Michael G says:

    Just buy a T.Rex Lp. instead of this rubbish!
    It really should be a free cd on a magazine.

    • Kevin from Edinburgh says:

      You’ve decided it’s ‘rubbish’ before hearing 95% of it? Remarkable insight……

      When will we come out of lockdown? Come on, tell us.

  20. Jarmo Keranen says:

    I have always hated it when they use Bang A Gong (Get It On) instead Get It On. Last xmas i bought five double cd’s of T.Rex from years 1973-77. Still haven’t listened them. Already owned much of the recordings from 1968-1972. When i looked at the artist list of this, only U2, Todd Rundgren, David Johansen and Nena seems interesting!

  21. Michael McA says:

    I know it’s de rigueur to gush about Nick Cave but all I hear is po faced grimness.

    Marc’s original is a joy.

    It just makes me wanna play Electric Warrior.

    • SimonP says:

      Sucks all the joy out of the original, doesn’t it? Most of these tribute cover albums are full of slowed down “emotional” reworkings that DO belong on a free newspaper CD. Or on X Factor/A Country’s Got Talent…

  22. Steven says:

    Metal Guru by Nena is worth the price of admission on its own…

  23. Wayne Klein says:

    Why is Amazon still not willing to ship to the U.S. in Sept? This is frustrating.

  24. Joe T says:

    Looks interesting….sure some of it’s good….David Jo rocks …would’ve bought it if there was an acoustic version of Dandy in the Underworld by The Damned

  25. Noel Fitzsimons says:

    Jeez. What a piss poor assemblege. I agree with another commenter in that this is the sort of CD that you would receive free with a magazine or Sunday newspaper. I’d rather have a CD compilation of the Top of The Poppers cover versions from the 1970’s.

    • cath says:

      Wheres ride a white swan???
      Why would you listen to Bolan without it

    • Steven Roberts says:

      ‘Tis the nature of such compilations. For every Maria Mckee (yes!!!!) there’s a U2 (no!!!!).

      Not forgettting an awful lot of…..who?

      YMMV.

  26. Stuart says:

    Amazon.co.uk are claiming to have the white vinyl double too, at a cheaper price than Townsend. https://amzn.to/3bKMHgy

    • Jim Galvin says:

      Unfortunately Amazon UK isn’t shipping to the U.S. during this virus outbreak. Amazon U.S. cancelled my CD pre-order stating it wouldn’t be available here. So now I’ve got to get them from the Artist site. Sucks

      • Wayne Klein says:

        I actually contacted amazon about this. They are favoring vinyl in some instances over the Cd counterpart not realizing that their return rate will be higher because of issues with pressing.

  27. Noel Bayley says:

    I have no words for that cover.

    • Cornelius says:

      The cover does nothing for me at all. The sleeve should have starred Marc Bolan – not an oversized hat and a cloud.

      • Mic Chandley says:

        The fact that artists want to be involved is a great tribute to one of the greatest writers of all rock time.

  28. Paul Higgins says:

    David Johansen!!!

  29. Wayne Olsen says:

    Losing Hal Willner was a tragedy! What a gifted
    man.
    This looks great. Snapping it up.
    Thanks, Paul!

  30. DON COOPER says:

    There was a covers album a good many years ago.Have it somewhere.Ray Dorsey (Mungo Jerry)
    was one of the artists.
    Of course there is the long-standing observation that his vibrato on ‘In The Summertime’ was lifted from Marc’s Tyrannosaurus Rex warblings. Very much a part of T.Rex lore for us faithful.

  31. AndreasL says:

    Duran had nothing left over from the classic Thank You sessions :-) ?

  32. AndreasL says:

    Shame there’s no Loyd Cole. He’s done a few excellent Bolan covers, and of course his 4MB is a great ode to one of his favourite artists.

  33. Anna says:

    I can’t wait to hear this compilation..
    Dax Riggs from Acid Bath and Agents of Oblivion did a cover of Cosmic Dancer too..and numerous covers ranging from The Rolling Stones , John Denver and Elvis.. the man has a stunning voice that must be heard. Shame they don’t play a bigger variety of T.rex songs on radio, like Mambo Sun!

  34. Chris S says:

    Todd Rundgren, Lucinda Williams and Marie McKee, just those 3 are enough for me to order.

  35. Danny says:

    Seems more like a CD you get free with a music magazine to be honest.

    • Sam says:

      You’ve obviously not encountered Wilner’s other brilliant tributes. Much to explore if you’ve got the ears.

      • Bill Z says:

        Absolutely right, Sam, Hal Wilner’s tributes were consistently eclectic and entertaining. Never close to run of the mill. I’m not much of a Bolan fan, but I’ll be sure to check this out.

    • RJS says:

      Yes, that’s what I thought – an Uncut or Mojo cover mount.

  36. MüllerMüller says:

    All new and exclusive these songs?
    U2 – i think so….. Please no Ryan Tedder production!

  37. Eric says:

    Well, I’m certainly not the biggest Nick Cave fan in the world but I must admit his take on ‘Cosmic Dancer” is simply breathtaking, enhancing the sadness and loneliness that shines through in the original: well done!
    Will definitely be ordering the 2-CD set…

  38. Catweazle says:

    Sounds promising, though would have loved to have Steve Harley and JAPW included!

  39. Mikael says:

    Well, that is a pretty odd and diverse set of artists, but the song list is even weirder, almost more Tyrannosaurus Rex than T.Rex.
    Interesting, but strange, a bit like Marc, actually.
    Couldn’t U2 just stick Hold Me, Kill Me, Kiss Me, Thrll Me on there as well? It’s basically their cover if Children of the Revolution, no?

  40. gary oliver says:

    Jessie Harris, who wrote Norah Jones’ best songs ?

  41. Jeremy says:

    Surprised there’s no contribution from Ringo. He and Bolan were good friends and worked together on a movie (‘Born to Boogie’) not long before Bolan died.

  42. Chris Squires says:

    Nick Cave is just the gift that keeps on giving.
    In a strange twist the first Nick Cave song I ever heard was “Tower of Song” on the utterly superb “I’m your Fan”, the Leonard Cohen tribute album from 1991. At the time I thought it was a bit beyond me, but my love of all things Cave has grown from my time on these pages over the last 6 years. So almost 30 years later Nick can do little wrong in my eyes. His orchestrations are un-touchable.
    If you listen right to the end of “Cosmic Dancer” I swear there is a hint of “Music in Colors” and Nigel Kennedy’s meanderings, I’m probably hearing “Natalie” or something reminiscent of it at least..

    • Ex-Oligarch says:

      Actually, the arrangements for Cave’s songs were done by Mick Harvey all the way up until 2009. That role then was basically assumed by Warren Ellis, who has continued with the same essential template.

      Not to diminish Nick’s achievements, whether as writer, singer, or performer, but to give credit where credit is due.

      If you enjoy these arrangements, may I recommend the albums “Shine” by Crime and the City Solution (also featuring Harvey) and “Forever,” the first album by C&CS singer Simon Bonney.

      • Chris Squires says:

        You are, of course, absolutely right Mr. Oligarch (so sorry for your loss). I am thinking of “Nick Cave” as an entity which involves much more than just the man himself. Highlighted by the fact that I adore the soundtracks (Jessie James for example) with Warren Ellis.

  43. CJ Feeney says:

    I heard the Nick Cave track earlier today. Very Nick, not much like Marc.

  44. Aaron says:

    I wonder if that’s the first time Sean and Julian have appeared on the same album!

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