One More Hal Willner Production: A Tribute to T.Rex

There’s really nothing else like a Hal Willner production. The late and legendary music producer and connector loved to bring disparate artists together to create something strange and magical, like a chef who doesn’t care for geographical boundaries and mixes unexpected ingredients to create something entirely new.

His first posthumous release fits that description. AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T.Rex is set to be released Sept. 4 on BMG and features Father John Misty, Kesha, U2 together with Elton John, Joan Jett, Nick Cave, Perry Farrell, Sean Lennon with Charlotte Kemp Muhl, Victoria Williams with Julian Lennon, Maria McKee, Devendra Banhart, Børns, Gaby Morena, King Khan, Beth Orton, Lucinda Williams, Maria McKee, Marc Almond, Elysian Fields, Jesse Harris, Helga Davis, Gavin Friday, Emily Haines, Nena and Peaches.

Willner, who served as a music producer for Saturday Night Live for decades, died from COVID-19 on April 7. If you’re unfamiliar with his tribute albums, check out his Disney tribute Stay Awake featuring Michael Stipe, Los Lobos, Sun Ra and Ringo Starr or Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys with Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed and John C. Reilly.

The Bolan tribute features 26 songs from the glam-rock icon, who went by both T.Rex and Tyrannosaurus Rex, and died in a crash at age 29 in 1977. They include “Jeepster,” “Bang A Gong (Get It On),” “Cosmic Dancer” and “Ride A White Swan.” It was recorded in several studios spread across New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans, to London, Paris and Berlin, and also features instrumental performances by Donald Fagen, Bill Frisell, Van Dyke Parks, Marc Ribot and many other legendary performers. The title came from Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl”: “angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.”


AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs Of Marc Bolan and T.Rex Tracklist:
Disc 1
1. Children Of The Revolution – Kesha
2. Cosmic Dancer – Nick Cave
3. Jeepster – Joan Jett
4. Scenescof – Devendra Banhart
5. Life’s A Gas – Lucinda Williams
6. Solid Gold, Easy Action – Peaches
7. Dawn Storm – BØRNS
8. Hippy Gumbo – Beth Orton
9. I Love To Boogie – King Khan
10. Beltane Walk – Gaby Moreno
11. Bang A Gong (Get It On) – U2 feat. Elton John
12. Diamond Meadows – John Cameron Mitchell
13. Ballrooms Of Mars – Emily Haines

Disc 2
1. Main Man – Father John Misty
2. Rock On – Perry Farrell
3. The Street and Babe Shadow – Elysian Fields
4. The Leopards – Gavin Friday
5. Metal Guru – Nena
6. Teenage Dream – Marc Almond
7. Organ Blues – Helga Davis
8. Planet Queen – Todd Rundgren
9. Great Horse – Jessie Harris
10. Mambo Sun – Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl
11. Pilgrim’s Tale – Victoria Williams with Julian Lennon
12. Bang A Gong (Get It On) Reprise – David Johansen
13. She Was Born To Be My Unicorn / Ride A White Swan – Maria McKee