There’s a lot weeping and gnashing of enamel today in regards to the query: which had been the best 12 months of music in your complete historical past of the world, ever? Standard consensus appears to be both 1969 or 1971; I’d say it’s no matter yr it was while you celebrated your fifteenth birthday. Thus, spiralling down Irwin Allen’s Time Tunnel, we tumble upon T.Rex and 1972.
Basking within the success of his Electrical Warrior album, launched the earlier yr, in ’72 Marc Bolan loved a brace of No.1 singles (Steel Guru and Telegram Sam); launched a brand new LP, The Slider; headlined Wembley Empire Pool; starred in a characteristic movie, Born To Boogie. All of which is catalogued intimately on this estimable assortment.
It’s only a disgrace that Slider, which kinds 1972’s spine, will not be certainly one of Bolan’s best hours. This author speaks from expertise, having been a part of a Sixth Type coterie of Marc fanatics again within the day. We had been assured to coolly strut round school whereas cradling 12-inch copies of the aforementioned Warrior in our arms; Slider not a lot. Our bitter rivals – David Bowie devotees – sensed blood and, with Ziggy Stardust additionally launched in ’72, we didn’t have a prayer.
As an aficionado of Bolan’s silver-plated poetry, a number of the sparkle was misplaced on Slider, his surreal lyrics not fairly hitting the candy spot. Examples embody ‘Be my airplane within the rain’ and ‘I’ve by no means by no means kissed a automotive earlier than/It’s like a door’. Er… proper.
Then there’s the bonkers Child Boomerang snippet: ‘Your uncle with an alligator, chained to his leg/ Dangles you your freedom, then he presents you his mattress.’ Shades of I Am The Walrus – maybe as a result of Bolan had just lately fashioned an unlikely friendship with Ringo Starr.
Nonetheless, no mistake, this can be a terrific package deal with mind-bogglingly complete sleeve notes and tremendous pictures. And it must be mentioned that Bolan’s naive missteps kind a part of its charms.
Listening to the audio from the Empire Pool matinee live performance, one can not assist however detect a level of confusion from the viewers, largely composed of teenage women, when Marc embarks on a one more freak-out guitar solo. (‘Bolan likes to rock now/Sure he does, sure he does,’ as our corkscrew-haired hero espouses on the Slider observe Principal Man.)
The sounds of Marc within the early levels of an, finally tragic, implosion is what makes 1972 such a vital buy, even at £100-plus for the full-on bells-and-whistles version. What would have made it 10/10 excellent? Visuals of the Born To Boogie film, slightly than a mere audio soundtrack. For many who don’t bear in mind or know the movie, assume Vic and Bob meet Marc and Ringo.