Remembering Marc Bolan

Glam rocker Marc Bolan might now be preparing for his 72nd birthday, if he had not been killed in a car crash on this day in 1977.

His music with T. Rex permeated my last years of primary school, from Get It On and Jeepster, through to Children of the Revolution and 20th Century Boy.

His long frizzy hair framed a sexy kiss-curl on his forehead, and his cheeks were adorned with glitter tears. A feather boa often topped the fleece collars of his Afghan coat.

He was a poet and a fantasist, who enjoyed reading JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. By 1973, as glam rock was peaking, Bolan was rejecting the genre he spawned.

He reinvented himself during the punk years. When I was sixteen, I watched him host a music television show called Marc, featuring the Jam, the Boomtown Rats, Generation X, and Eddie and the Hot Rods.

Shortly after recording a song for the show with David Bowie, Bolan was killed when his car hit a tree on Barnes Common 42 years ago today. He was just 29. His girlfriend Gloria Jones broke her jaw but survived.

Some people have noticed that the car’s number plate was FOX 661L, and one of his biggest hits, Solid Gold Easy Action, began with the lines: “Life is the same and it always will be, easy as picking foxes from a tree.”

Surely that must mean something, they ask? The answer: no, it didn’t. Don’t be ridiculous. But Marc Bolan still means a lot to those of us who grew up with glam rock.

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