BMG Celebrates Marc Bolan And T. Rex In New Documentary
BMG has announced “Angelheaded Hipster,” a new documentary about the British singer-songwriter Marc Bolan and his band T. Rex. The film will celebrate its world premiere at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival in June. It follows BMG’s September 2020 release of the tribute album by the same name.
Almost two years ago, in September 2020, BMG published the album “Angelheaded Hipster,” a tribute to Marc Bolan for which stars including U2, Elton John, Joan Jett, Nena, Marc Almond and Kesha recorded hits by the British singer and composer. Now BMG, which administers the rights of the singer who died in a car accident in 1977, is taking the next step with the release of a new feature-length documentary. “Angelheaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan & T. Rex,” will celebrate its world premiere in June, at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Marc Bolan and his band T. Rex achieved international chart success in the early 1970s with hits such as “Get It On,” “Children of the Revolution” and “Jeepster.” The group was one of the most popular representatives of “glam rock,” which, besides catchy hits, was notable for the band members’ garish costumes and eye-catching makeup. The new documentary features commentary by stars and bands including U2, Elton John, David Bowie (archive footage), Ringo Starr, Nick Cave and Joan Jett , as well as the well-known filmmaker Cameron Crowe. The film features 26 re-recorded songs from Bolan’s extensive body of work published between 1968 and 1977 as T. Rex and Tyrannosaurus Rex, along with archival footage of fans and performances. At the same time, the documentary provides a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the album “Angelheaded Hipster” and shows how the artists involved explore Bolan’s musical legacy. It also features the recollections of early Bolan fans such as Billy Idol and Joe Elliott (Def Leppard) and appearances by people including Bolan’s partner Gloria Jones and his son Rolan Bolan, as well as Lucinda Williams, Beth Orton, Maria McKee, Snarky Puppy, Macy Gray, Father John Misty, Devendra Banhart, and Nena. The film was financed and executive-produced by BMG, written and directed by Ethan Silverman, and produced by Bill Curbishley and Ethan Silverman.
“Marc Bolan stands as one of the most influential musical figures of his time,” said Fred Casimir, BMG EVP Global Repertoire. “Like David Bowie, he was one of the first artists to show a younger generation that it was okay to embrace being unique, express yourself, and break barriers. Now, more than ever, his music and style continue to speak to the next generation. BMG is proud to bring Ethan Silverman and Bill Curbishley’s visual document to this musical pioneer, alongside Hal Willner’s lovingly reimagined all-star tribute album, to the big screen and introduce Marc to new audiences.”
Ethan Silverman said: “Bill and I want to move Marc Bolan from footnote to headline. While still a beloved figure in the UK and amongst some musicians and music fans, we feel he never received his due especially considering his enduring influence. Marc Bolan’s unique spin on Rock & Roll, use of rhythm, poetic wordplay, and fearlessness deserve a fresh look. This film is neither a biopic nor a ‘making of’ documentary, rather it is a celebration of creativity looking backward and forward at the same time.” The music album “Angelheaded Hipster,” published two years ago, was overseen by the celebrated producer Hal Willner, who died of Covid-19 on April 7, 2020. Willner had produced albums by famous artists including Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull and William S. Burroughs over the past four decades, as well as tribute albums to great composers including Nina Rota, Thelonious Monk, Kurt Weill, and Charles Mingus. Willner, who called “Angelheaded Hipster” his “White Album,” worked on the project for several years, with sessions spanning continents, from New York, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, to London, Paris, and Berlin. Incidentally, the title “Angelheaded Hipster” is from the poem “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg, in which Ginsberg described the Beat Generation’s attitude to life as if in an emotional frenzy.
The documentary “Angelheaded Hipster” is the latest project in BMG’s growing lineup of music-related films and television projects, and the third film BMG has announced in quick session, following “Moonage Daydream,” a new portrait of David Bowie, and “DIO: Dreamers Never Die,” which recently made its world premiere at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Other BMG projects include the critically acclaimed “David Crosby: Remember My Name,” which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Music Film in 2020, and the Joan Jett documentary “Bad Reputation,” as well as “Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records” and “Echo In The Canyon,” one of the highest-grossing documentaries of 2019.