25 September 2007

He Was Born To Boogie

I couldn't let the month go by without paying tribute to the great bopping elf himself, Marc Bolan. Marc died 30 years ago this month when the car driven by his partner, Gloria Jones, hit a tree after they had been on the town for the night. He was a couple of weeks away from his 30th birthday. I often wonder what Marc would have gone on to achieve if this tragedy hadn't occured and it's odd to think of him as a 60 year old. How I wish he'd made it.

Marc was my first musical hero and has remained a hero through all other twists and turns in my musical tastes. I didn't notice him when T.Rex released 'Ride A White Swan' but once the follow-up single, 'Hot Love' hit the airwaves and stayed at number one for six weeks I fell in love with the music of this amazing man. I was ten years old and the world was just beginning to open up for me and the music of T.Rex would be the soundtrack of the next few years. I bought every single as soon as they were released, saving every penny of my pocket money and rushing into the centre of Bristol with my mate, Geoff Ford, so we could get our hands on the wax at the earliest possible moment. 'Get It On', 'Jeepster', 'Metal Guru', 'Telegram Sam', 'Children of the Revolution'....on and on and on. It's almost impossible to imagine now an artist having such an impact as Bolan and T.Rex did back then. Bolan invented Glam Rock. They were the new Beatles. It took a me while to get hold of an album because they were financially beyond my reach for a while but Geoff (who was a little more affluent than me) bought Electric Warrior and we played it on his little mono record player constantly. My own first T.Rex album was one of those budget MFP label things that actually featured the weirdo folk songs of Tyrannosaurus Rex plus 'Ride A White Swan'. I didn't care, it still sounded mad and wonderful! It wasn't until my 12th birthday that I actually got an up-to-date album, The Slider, which was also a gem.

To fast forward a little, by about 1974 we started to get into prog and heavy rock and Geoff decided he didn't care so much for Bolan anymore and I ended up with his original copy of Electric Warrior, which I still have today with the original poster inside and all. I'd never part with it. I wonder if Geoff regrets his haste now? So, we were digging Deep Purple, Sabbath and Yes but I was still secretly spinning 'Teenage Dream' and 'Truck On Tyke'. Slowly, Marc started to slip from the centre of the pop scene and even though I kept up with his singles I didn't buy any more albums after Tanx. I couldn't afford Zinc Alloy and The Hidden Riders of Tomorrow (Or A Cream Cage In August) AND Stormbringer! It was either/or in more ways than one.

Most of the pop press and the radio shows mainly ignored or scoffed at Marc by the mid-70's but in 1977, with punk rock taking over our lives (I went that-a-way too), he came back with a strong album, Dandy In The Underworld, and a tour with The Damned as support. Geoff and I couldn't resist the chance to see our old hero at Bristol's Colston Hall, so we got our tickets and I'm so glad we did. It was no longer the old T.Rex of Mickey Finn, Steve Curry and Bill Legend but Marc played a blinder even with his session muso pals. I believe this was in March of that year. A few months later, he was gone and we had lost a true star.

Over the years I have now collected all the albums on vinyl and CD (including the excellent pixie-folk with Steve Peregrine Took) and all the singles are stashed away safely in the attic and I'll not part with them. I still play the music of Marc Bolan and T.Rex regularly and I just want to thank him for all the pleasure he's given me and for starting a young lad off on a musical adventure that will never end. Wherever you are, Marc, thanks and keep on rockin'!

1 comment:

The Purple Gooroo said...

It still seems unbeliveable that he died so young (like Morrison, Jones, Joplin, Hendrix, etc.).

We were having dinner in a place called the Tontine Hotel a couple of nights ago and they were playing the newest T.Rex "Greatest Hits" comp. on repeat. It was nice to hear it cranked-up in a place like that.

R.I.P. Marc, thank for all the music!!