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20


THE SLIDER
T. Rex
Reprise, 1972
Photographer: Ringo Starr

 massive star in his native England, Marc Bolan of T. Rex concocted the image of a pouting, strutting rock demigod. The cover of The Slider -- Bolan in soft focus, androgynous and vulnerable -- deflated that image. Although the LP was Bolan's commercial peak, his heath and his marriage were deteriorating under the strain of rock stardom. "And when I'm sad," Bolan sings on the LP's title track, "I slide."

T. Rex producer Tony Visconti remembers that he took the photo with Bolan's ever-present Nikon one misty day on John Lennon's estate, Ascot, during the filming of Ringo Starr's T. Rex documentary, Born to Boogie; the photo, however, is credited to Starr on the album. "Marc was always an opportunist and would name-drop whenever he could," says Visconti. "I don't want to denigrate him as the great rock star that he was, but this is one one of the times that he tried to rewrite history. He used to be really bitchy about me getting credited too much.

"I think the top hat was an allusion he always made to being a magician," says Visconti. "Marc told me that he lived in Paris for six months when he was a male model with a French wizard." But Bolan, as the Mad Hatter, wore the same hat in the mad-tea-party scene of Born to Boogie, shot the same day.

Bolan tragically died in a 1977 car crash, but his music lives on, as does his look -- the stovepipe hat and the curtain of ringleted hair have not gone unnoticed by a fellow named Slash.

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