T. Rex

Light of Love

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1974 was not a good year for Libras. So Marc Bolan told one English music paper as he tried to explain his declining fortunes, although elsewhere around that star sign, things weren't going too badly. No, Bolan had a lot of problems, but being born in September wasn't one of them. The fact that his band was breaking up; that his singles were no longer automatically charting; that his US label Warner had dropped him without a care; now those were reasons to despair, and all the more so after a quick survey of the American music scene made it apparent that there weren't many labels left in town who would take a chance on a fading English pop god. Finally, he hauled his cookies across to Casablanca and hoped there'd be room to park his platforms in the home of the conquering Kiss. As it turned out there wasn't, but that's another story. A sure sign of Bolan's desperation, however, can be gauged from the album which inaugurated this new relationship, a U.S.-only compilation which drew three tracks from his last album, Zinc Alloy, and eight from his next, Bolan's Zip Gun, and then demanded a release date which actually pre-empted the U.K. appearance of Zip Gun itself. The result, predictably, did nobody any favors. Musically, it was a mess -- even with a track selection which certainly cherry-picked the finest moments from each album, the best of the so-poorly produced Zinc Alloy sounded sadly ill at ease alongside the sparse funk groove of Zip Gun's highlights. And commercially, it was a disaster -- the new set was so heavily imported into the U.K. (well, America had no use for it) that by the time the real Zip Gun was fired, most potential purchasers had already bitten the dust. But the album's swift disappearance from the American racks did do Bolan one favor. It forced him to admit that he was never going to break the U.S., and prompted him to concentrate on his homeland once again. The albums which followed would benefit accordingly.

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