Marc Bolan ended the 60s as a cult star playing hippy, pixie acoustic music and hanging out with John Peel. He then went through a massive transition and re-emerged in the early 70s as a highly successful, fully-fledged glam-rocker who came to epitomise the first half of that hedonistic decade.
This single disc compilation covers both periods and contains all the classic hits such as the excellent Hot Love, Jeepster and Children Of The Revolution. Also included is Cosmic Dancer, another superb song which has risen in prominence in recent years after its appearance in the film Billy Eliot.
With his hippy background, Bolan always had more about him than the likes of Slade and Gary Glitter though he wasn't as arty as David Bowie or Roxy Music. He always thought that he was going to be a massive star and had the looks, charisma and arrogance to define his time as well as a superb, swaggering rock'n'roll voice. This backed by a gift for catchy melodies, crunching guitar riffs and (now) rather sickly sounding orchestrations was the recipe for success and T Rex reigned supreme for a couple of years.
This CD contains all of those big hits and the best of Bolan's other songs. The only unfortunate omission for me is the absence of the ballad Life's A Gas though this is much better than virtually every other T Rex compilation on the market where a hit or two is missed out altogether, presumably for legal reasons.
Yes, Bolan's business assets were (and are) a mess. This first really became evident in the mid 70s when the hits started stalling and Marc's drug use started to get out of control. Coming out of the other side of this bleak period as punk dawned, he started to make a promising comeback before tragically dieing in 1977 in a car accident near Barnes Common.
The Essential Collection is the best T Rex compilation for those who want just one album with all the hits. An excellent purchase with some of the best teen anthems ever written.