Although T Rex had been regular performers on Top Of The Pops during the early 1970's their performances became less frequent as the decade progressed. Most of the performances relating to the Dandy album were courtesy of ITV and Marc's close friendship with Mike Mansfield, the producer and editor of 'Supersonic'. Unlike 'Top Of The Pop's, 'Supersonic' was not broadcast natiowide.
The six MARC shows were broadcast in August and September 1977. The first four editions were broadcast before Marc's death with the remaining two being shown posthumously. The programmes were broadcast around 4.20pm on a Wednesday afternoon and were aimed at the children's/youth market. Programmes were low budget but had a certain charm about them. The series afforded Marc the opportunity to promote T Rex to a potentially new audience and to promote a number of punk bands such as Generation X (with Billy Idol on vocals), The Boomtown Rats, The Jam and old friends, Radio Stars (with Andy Ellison from John's Children on vocals). When the announcement was made about the series Marc modestly claimed "The media have been clamouring for me to do a TV series for years and finally I've given in".
The TV Programmes
This ITV programme was made by Thames Television and was current affairs magazine style show with music guests. The programme was only broadcast in the London region. Marc appeared as an interviewee in July 1975 and, due to him giving a good performance, he was later given the task of interviewing other guests for short slots on the programme. For his performance of Funk London Childhood Marc sung a live vocal over a pre-recorded backing track. Although there is no known surviving video tape of the performance a finished audio recording exists and has been given an official release most recently by Edsel ('Unchained Volume 6', released 1996). The Today programme made national headlines and a received a degree of notoriety in December 1976 when the Sex Pistols were interviewed by Bill Grundy. After Grundy encouraged the Sex Pistols to swear on live TV he was suspended for two weeks and the show was cancelled two months later.
Top Of The Pops
Probably the most famous British television music programme. T Rex made numerous performances on the programme in the early 1970's returned to the show in July 1976 to give two outstanding live in the studio performances of 'I Love To Boogie'. Although only a mimed performance (which was the norm for Top Of The Pops) Marc's delivery of 'The Soul Of My Suit', with him wearing the canary coloured jacket and purple trousers from the Dandy tour, shows him looking both relaxed and happy. This was to be his last performance on 'Top Of The Pops'
Rollin' Bolan (Supersonic Special)
This was a recording of T Rex live at Wimbledon Theatre, London. Recorded on the 13th July 1976 and subsequently broadcast on the 28th August 1976, this was a specially recorded show featuring 5 T Rex songs (those listed below plus 'New York City' and 'Laser Love'). T Rex performed a rehearsal/soundcheck in the afternoon which was recorded by a fan from outside the hall and subsequently given a bootleg 'release' along with a recording of the full performance in front of the audience, including fluffed starts. Marc appeared on good form and chatted with the audience during the stop/start performances. For the performance in front of an audience, T Rex performed 'Funky London Childhood' once and 'I Love To Boogie' and 'The Soul Of My Suit' twice (though Marc announced this as being 'You Damaged The Soul Of My Suit'). 'Many of these takes broke down due to instruments going out of tune because of the extra lighting required for the television production, or because of sound problems' ('Marc Bolan 1947-1977 A Chronology', Cliff McLenenehan pub. 2002). The support act was AC/DC and Leapy Lee.
This was a charity concert performed live at The Royal Theatre, Drury Lane, London on the 19th December 1976 and then broadcast as a 'Christmas Supersonic' a few days later on Christmas Day. Although T Rex performed 3 songs at the concert only 'New York City' was broadcast. It was intended that T Rex would be top of the bill at the show, however, Marc kindly let Gary Glitter take that honour as he was making a 'comeback' from retirement.
La Nuit De Noel De Graziella
'Marc appeared live on the French programme 'La Nuit de Noel de Graziella'.This was a programme which was broadcast live from 9.30pm to 1.30am. The programme was dividedinto several sections. Marc appeared in the section entitled 'Une Viellee de Noel'. This section was transmitted close to the end of the programme, early in the morning of 25th December. The whole show was broadcast on French Television Antenne 2' ('Marc Bolan 1947-1977 A Chronology', Cliff McLenenehan pub. 2002). It is known that Marc performed 'I Love To Boogie' and 'Laser Love' and that he sung over pre-recorded backing tapes. It is possible that a further two songs were performed during the show. There is no known surviving video tape of the performance.
Supersonic was a pop music programme produced for ITV by London Weekend Television which ran for two series starting in September 1975 and ending in April 1977. The programme was put out in the UK on the ITV network and was broadcast around the country, though some regions did not broadcast the show. T Rex appeared several times on the show. It was generally considered at the time that Supersonic was the ITV pop show rival to BBC's 'Top Of The Pops'. The producer of Supersonic, Mike Mansfield, attended the launch party of the 'Dandy In The Underworld' album at The Roxy. T Rex performed a live in the studio performance of 'The Soul Of My Suit' on the last ever Supersonic show. Bolan then led the other guests, including Dave Edmunds and Alvin Stardust, with a finale song of 'Sweet Little Rock 'n' Roller'.
Get It Together
This was a children's pop quiz show which which helped to fill the void left by the demise of Supersonic. T Rex gave two great live in the studio performances on this show.
A Muriel Young produced ITV show which was given a UK network broadcast. Programmes were filmed at Granada Studios in Manchester. Most songs were recorded in the morning and then mimed for the cameras in the afternoon, with the notable exceptions being 'Dandy In The Underworld' where Marc performed a live in the studio vocal and the final song of the last show where he performed an incomplete version of a new song titled 'Standing Next To You'(*) with old friend David Bowie. This song was a joint composition by Bolan and Bowie and was tragically cut short when Bolan fell off the stage.
Due to a dispute with a union at the time Granada studio staff would not/could not work overtime and there was insufficient time to attempt a second recording of the song. Several photographers had made their way to Granada Studios to witness Bolan and Bowie appearing on a stage together for the first time and, by all accounts, Marc was very upset at the loss of the 'grand finale'. The song would remain uncompleted and only very rough working demo's exist of the song.
* This song has sometimes been referred to as 'Sitting Next To You' or 'Sleeping Next To You'.
Click on the links below to see the performances on You Tube
(links open in a new window).