Bauhaus “Ziggy Stardust” released October, 1982. 12″ single on Beggar’s Banquet. The masters of goth’s 8th single was a tribute to the master of glam – they were huge Bowie fans – and is close to perfection; it went to #15 on the UK singles chart. According to Far Out Magazine the video for “Ziggy Stardust” was shot in the catacombs of Camden Market (actually just a series of tunnels but that’s what the locals call them) and features a full mock-gig set up with complete backline and riotous fans. It would act as a catapult for the band, eventually landing them a spot on the acclaimed show Top of the Pops. Fittingly, I picked up this 12″ in Camden a couple of months ago (or maybe it was in Islington, possibly SoHo. I can’t remember). Also on this 12″ is a Bauhaus original, “Party of the First Part” which is really weird and seriously creepy (perfect for Halloween season), a swinging little number with dialogue from the cartoon The Devil and Daniel Mouhaus. Side B has the Brian Eno-penned track “Third Uncle” that is Peter Murphy’d and Daniel Ash’d up (dark and slinky vocals, a sinister screaming, vaguely industrial guitar; it also appears on Bauhaus’ 1982 LP The Sky’s Gone Out) and a fairly rough live cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Waiting for the Man,” recorded in October 1981 at Fagin’s in Manchester. Nico herself joined Bauhaus on stage for the song. Southern Death Cult (later, just The Cult) was the supporting act and Ian Astbury said about the scene, “Nico just ended up in Manchester on heroin. Southern Death Cult supported Bauhaus at Salford University when she did ‘Waiting for the Man’ with them, and Pete Murphy had to hold her up, she was so smacked out!” And Peter Murphy stated, “Nico was gothic, but she was Mary Shelley gothic to everyone else’s Hammer horror film gothic. They both did Frankenstein, but Nico’s was real.” (from dangerousminds)
T. Rex “Light of Love” 1974. Casablanca Records. Today, September 30th, would have been Marc Bolan’s 72nd birthday (b. 1947, d. 1977). Light of Love was T. Rex’s sole US-only LP release and the first to have Bolan on production (Bolan also wrote all the tracks), replacing Tony Visconti’s usual production duties (though he did help with some string arrangements on the album). Light of Love has three tracks that appeared on Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow (UK-only, 1974): “Teenage Dream,” “Explosive Mouth” and “Venus Loon.” “Teenage Dream” was released as a single and went to #13 in the UK and Bolan considered it the song with his best lyrics. The other songs on Light of Love were later included on the UK-release Bolan’s Zip Gun (1975), including the title track single “Light of Love” which went to #22 in the UK. Overall it’s a pretty good T. Rex glam-rock record, a bit over-the-top but it is glam, after all, maybe a bit too heavy on the orchestral strings and operatic doo-whop accents here and there. Unfortunately, Casablanca Records went bankrupt soon after the LP’s release and Bolan couldn’t find another US label to represent him so Light of Love was his first and only US-release (it also didn’t do very well in the US).
Tyrannosaurus Rex “A Beard of Stars” 1970. Blue Thumb Records. Gorgeously raw lo-fi psych rock, Marc Bolan’s – joined by Micky Finn – fourth LP as Tyrannosaurus Rex and the last before becoming T. Rex; “the turning point where Marc Bolan began evolving from an unrepentant hippie into the full-on swaggering rock star he would be within a couple of years.” You can hear this especially in the raggedly intense strumming and glammy vocals of “Fist Heart Might Dawn Dart” (expertly covered recently by Ty Segall on his 2011 Ty-Rex), the slinky sex appeal of Bolan’s vocal delivery on “By the Light of a Magical Moon” and the ferocious “Elemental Child.” There is still plenty of 60′s hippie/psych fascination with Anglican folklore (faeries, princesses, damsels, druids, etc.) both lyrically – “Great Horse,” “Dragon’s Ear” – and musically (“Wild Cheetah,” its organ instrumentation would be perfectly comfortable in a lord’s cavernous castle). Finn’s percussion leans both heavy hippie (i.e. Moroccan clay drums, bongos) and rock star grooving bass; Finn took over from the Tolkien-inspiried (obvs!) Steve Peregrine-Took just prior to A Beard of Stars in 1969.