Marc Bolan - Glam Rock Never Looked So Good
Even though he invented the "Glam" genre, Marc Bolan was a lot more than our perception of the typical Glam Rocker. He was a self-made pop icon. He was a superstar with his band T-Rex. Best of all his music is timeless. T-Rex transcends all music genres. T-Rex is still fresh. T-Rex still has grunt.
Marc Bolan [Mark Feld] was born 30th September, 1947 in East London. At the age of 9 he was given a guitar and in 1959 formed a skiffle band called Suzie and the Hula-Hoops, with a female vocalist - 12 year old Helen Shapiro. He left school at 14, claiming they didn't teach him the things he wanted to know. He was signed to a management contract by Allan Warren. Six months later Warren "sold" the contract to property mogul David Kirch for 200 pounds, in lieu of 3 months unpaid rent.
Undeterred by such a inglorious start, Marc bounced around making demos and formed a band called Tyrannosaurus Rex. But it wasn't until 1969 when he was noticed by producer Tony Visconti that it all came together for him. In 1970 he released Ride a White Swan. He expanded his line-up to a quartet and called the band T-Rex, following up with recording songs Hot Love and Get It On, which reached Number 10 in the U.S. charts.
"Bolan likes to rock now. Yes he does yes he does."
In November 1971, T-Rex signed with EMI and recorded Telegram Sam and Metal Guru, both topping the U.K. charts, followed by Children of the Revolution which reached Number Two. Although no T-Rex single ever became a million-seller, in 1972 their record sales accounted for 6% of total British record sales, selling a massive 100,000 records a day.
"Metal Guru has it been
Just like a silver-studded sabre-tooth dream."
Some say Marc Bolan and T-Rex did not reach their full potential. However two of his albums T-Rex The Slider and Bolan Boogie are still regarded as epitomising the "Sound of the Seventies."
And Marc's unique guitar sound was highly admired, imitated and sought after. Ringo Starr asked him to play on his Ringo album and Marc played on Ike and Tina Turner's Nutbush City Limits.
Marc mostly played on Gibson Les Paul guitars and occasionally picked up a black Gibson Flying V and who can forget his Veleno all aluminium guitar, which was in the Hard Rock Cafe Sydney collection and on the wall before the venue closed in 2009.
"What can I do. We just live in a zoo.
All I do is play the spaceball ricochet."
On September 16th, 1977, Marc had dinner at Morton's Club in London with his love Gloria Jones, with who he had a two year old son Rolan. Marc did not drive, so after a few drinks, at about 4am, Gloria and Marc climbed into her purple Mini GT and Gloria drove them home. On the way, travelling on Queens Ride, South London, Gloria lost control in thick fog, the car left the road and hit a tree. The impact was all on the passenger side and Marc was killed. A genius lost.
Marc's funeral was attended by Rod Stewart, Elton John and David Bowie. His ashes were scattered under a bush in the Keats Rose Bed, at Golders Green.
"And when I'm sad
Watch me now I'm gonna slide."