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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A long overdue evaluation of a rock icon, 13 Sep 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: 20th Century Superstar (4CD) (Audio CD)
From the first unsure warblings of Dylan's "Blowin' In the Wind" to the frenzied buzz of "Celebrate Summer", this box set assesses Marc Bolan's entire recording career, and offers great insight into not only his acoustic beginnings, but his often misunderstood final years. Disc One features fantastic early demos, alternate recordings, and classic Tyrannosaurus Rex tracks like "Cat Black" and "One Inch Rock". It really becomes apparent that this rather ambitious and uncompromisingly quirky musician would someday accomplish a great deal, and these same tendecies to follow his muse would ultimatley pull him back down to earth. Disc Two chronicles the rise of the Les Paul, and the ultimate string of hits that still ring out of my speakers 25 years later. Alternate versions and mixes abound, including "Ride a White Swan", "Hot Love", "Mambo Sun", and "Rip Off". Finally, I have "Raw Ramp" on CD, and a few unreleased tracks to boot. Discs Three and Four provide listening every bit as fascinating as the early recordings, and this box set causes one to pause and reassess not just the hit period, but the breadth of the entire recorded output. After years of playing "Electric Warrior" and "The Slider" every other day in the car, I have recently sucuumbed to the joys and absurdities of "Tanx" and especially "Futuristic Dragon". For those who complained that Bolan created nothing more than disposable bubblegum (see "Solid Gold Easy Action"), it is a shame that when he tried to shape a new formula, the audience was not there to support him. He never lost his charm, wit, catchy tunes, sometimes overwhelming production, and simple touches of old fashioned rock and roll magic. Marc Bolan was a gas, and this box set is a fantastic confirmation of his talents and legacy. One wonders if this will ever be released in the States, though we have been receiving newly remastered 2 disc sets of all the T. Rex studio albums. They're brilliant as well.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bolan Must!, 5 Jan 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: 20th Century Superstar (4CD) (Audio CD)
Excellent packaging and excellent content helps complete the story for those Bolan fans who have cobbled together most of the Tyrannosaurus/T.Rex CD issues to replace (or expand) their vinyl collections - particulary the Fly era. Especially good to see 'There Was A Time' included but where are Woodland Rock and Summertime Blues?...perhaps one day the Fly work will be covered in the same comprehensive way as the Edsel T. Rex issues. The set is a must though...The Toby Tyler songs, the 'Work In Progress' Hot Love and the Xmas flexi-disc intro alone make this excellent value for money.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep A Little Piece Of Marc In Your Heart, 20 Mar 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: 20th Century Superstar (4CD) (Audio CD)
This Boxed Set was worth the price for CD 1 alone. Was, in fact, worth it simply for the Decca material which I'd only heard (and loved) yeas ago on a poor quality bootleg. But there are so many other terrific rarities - not least, Bowie's 'The Prettiest Star' featuring Marc's distinctive guitar work. The set gets five stars from me on the strength of these gems alone.
As with any compilation the selection of material is (excluding the hit singles) somewhat subjective (as are the opinions expressed in the sleeve notes). The tracks included on CD's 3&4 - notably from 'Tanx' , 'Futuristic Dragon' and 'Dandy In the Underworld' are not necessarily the ones I would have chosen. A few notable omissions for me are 'Sunken Rags', 'Squint Eyed Mangle' and a version of 'Horrible Breath' by John's Children - also only heard once on a bootleg and subsequently have never even seen referred to. Shades of Bowie's 'The Laughing Gnome', it was pure sixties!At least we don't get the truly terrible b-sides 'Satisfaction Pony' and 'Sitting Here'. (Yes, even Marc had off-days - or is this just my turn to be 'subjective'?!) Oh, but he had many, many more 'on-days' as this set makes perfectly clear. Minor quibbles apart, this boxed set is terrific!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the few genuine rock stars of the century, 20 Sep 2002
This review is from: 20th Century Superstar (4CD) (Audio CD)
It ain't cheap but if you don't own any Bolan material, it's worth forking out for. If you do, you'll still need to fork out cos there's stuff here that's simply not available anywhere else. It cost me nearly 40 quid but was worth it for the rarities included. So save up and buy this collection - excellent booklet and loads of never before seen photos. CDs 1 and 2 alone deserve 5 stars.
Rory
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Testament...25 years on., 15 Oct 2002
By 
Chris Del Prete (Victoria, Australia.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 20th Century Superstar (4CD) (Audio CD)
This box set has been put together as all boxes should be. A great informative booklet: lots of pics and memorabilia. A track listing that has the big hits, the not so big hits, alternate mixes and some 'true' rarities. It covers Bolan from the mid sixties until his death. The man has been crying out for this for years. Now get the alternate 'Slider', 'Zinc Alloy', etc. and you'll need no more.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE DEFINITE BOLAN COLLECTION, 12 Sep 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: 20th Century Superstar (4CD) (Audio CD)
This box set, released to mark the 25th year anniversary of Marc Bolan’s death is without any doubt the definitive Bolan collection.
It starts with the earliest known Bolan session recorded in 1964 and ends with his final single issued in 1977. Between, we follow the ups and downs of the Bopping Elf’s career; from mod, to the trippy Tyrannosaurus Rex days, via T. Rextasy and Marc’s Cosmic funk period, to his position as the Godfather of Punk.
Listening to these four CD’s, it’s surprising how good the music is throughout, considering that Bolan released some quite weak material at some stages in his career. The compilers manage to document the complete Marc Bolan & T-Rex story, warts-and-all, but they manage to choose the right tracks throughout.
It’s also nice to see that Tony Visconti has opened his archive and supplied quite a number of alternate versions and a couple of unrleased cuts.
This makes 20th Century Superstar an essential buy both for the Bolan fanatics and those who just are getting to know his work.
It’s great that Bolan’s legacy is treated with care and affection, after suffering years from shoddy compilations and packages of unreleased material that sould have stayed in the vaults.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Comprehensive history, 18 Sep 2002
By 
A. Fronteras (Rochester, Kent) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 20th Century Superstar (4CD) (Audio CD)
If you wanted to find a bit more about Marc Bolan then the usual great hits packages and wanted to get an overview from his entire back catalogue without being just confined to one era then this is the album. with 108 tracks on one CD. Universal have managed to negotiate with all the license holders of the different publishers and record companies to ensure that this is a complete package even to the extent of getting a David Bowie single (The Prettiest Star) which features Bolan on Guitar. It features his first ever recording in 1964 as Toby Tyler through to his last single Celebrate Summer in 1977 via the mod punk band of Johns Children, through the hippy music of Tyrannosaurus Rex plus all the Glam hits of the 70's. As well as every single there are a couple or so tracks from each album, b sides poems, radio sessions. Many of the tracks have been unavailable before to the record buying public and three tracks have not even been available to the die hard Marc Bolan fans. To keep the Bolan fan happy they have also given alternative versions of tracks that have not been released before. If you are a Bolan fan then you will need this. If you want a Bolan album that has more then just great hits then buy this.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The dilemma of the box set, 21 Sep 2002
This review is from: 20th Century Superstar (4CD) (Audio CD)
The dilemma of the box set is do you include everything the artist recorded such as the Jam box set or the recent Creedence Clearwater Revival one? Or do you just aim at the collectors by including only previously unreleased material as the the Doors boxset did and many of the Elvis ones do? Most box sets tend to straddle the middle ground by including all the hits and the best known album tracks, together with a judicious selection of album tracks, live cuts and outtakes. This Marc Bolan collection adopts that approach. Thus you get all the major hits from Ride A White Swan to The Groover and all the singles released after that when Bolan was in commercial decline. There is also lots of Tyrannosaurus Rex material together with a few John's Children cuts and rare Bolan solo material from the sixties. Indeed, the first couple of songs he ever released (including a version of Dylan's Blowing In The Wind) recorded under the name of Toby Tyler are almost unrecognisable as Marc hasn't yet developed his distinctive voice. I think this collection does prove that Bolan was more interesting than Bowie was in this period, even though the latter proved to be the more talented and enduring artist.
The previously unreleased tracks are actually virtually worthless, amounting to about a couple of minutes, including a few seconds intro and a few seconds outro to Ride A White Swan.
However, another reason for buying a boxset is that you expect it to come with good liner notes and a comprehensive discography together with some nice pictures. Again this colletion doesn't disappoint here, being informative and attractively packaged. I did hope, however, by buying this I would be able to sell my existing collection of Marc Bolan / T Rex cd's. This was not the case, as it omits some key tracks from Bolan Boogie, The Slider and Electic Warrior - including, unforgivably, Ballrooms of Mars, one of Marc's very best songs and a couple of my favourite T Rex rockers, Woodland Rock and Baby Boomerang.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marc Bolan Twentieth Century Superstar, 11 Sep 2002
By 
Michael Fleck (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 20th Century Superstar (4CD) (Audio CD)
I have mixed feelings about this one. It is great mainly because it contains all the rarities in one place, but it misses out on same great trax and also has too much Tyranasourus Rex and post Slider stuff. The really early stuff is good to have in one place and is actually not that different feeling wise from the material which eventually made him a superstar. It is just not as fully realised. The Tyranasourus Rex material grates in more than small doses and should have been cut down dramitacally. I would have included the whole of Bolan Boogie, Electric Warrior and Slider. The post Slider stuff I could also have done with less of as the songs were no longer innocent sounding, the production was trying to be too clever and some of the guitar playing is excrutiating. Thats what happens with too much indulgence and trying to impress your musician friends. Some glaring omissions for me are Summertime Blues, Midnight and the Bump n Grind version of The Groover which is absolutely ROCKIN. Some highlights are The Wizard, Desdemona and Prettiest Star. The set is great for fans and completists but will hardly convince the unitiated. Some great pics however especially of the Mad Hatter session. The cover pic is awesome.
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20th Century Superstar (4CD)
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