T. Rex

Covered in glitter and eye-liner and oozing androgynous cool, Marc Bolan's strutting boogies and pouty glamour made him one of the great British pop stars of the 1970s and an iconic figurehead of the glam rock movement. Born Mark Feld in East London, he was a child actor and model before being inspired by early rock & roll, flower power and the folk scene and changed his surname to Bolan as a nod to one of his heroes Bob Dylan. He hung around the Soho coffee houses recording acoustic, singer-songwriter style tracks and played guitar with the wild, short-lived mod band John's Children, before forming Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1967. With Bolan's dreamy, psychedelic folk songs and Steve Peregrin Took tapping away on the bongos, their early albums 'My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair...' and 'Unicorn' were mystical hippy ballads which were championed by influential BBC Radio One DJ John Peel, which turned them into a cult act. Things changed dramatically in 1970. After studying the electric blues gods Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, the band evolved into T.Rex and, with Bolan's Tolkien poetry backed by funky, rhythmic grooves and bags of sexy, swaggering attitude, glam rock was born. The single 'Ride a White Swan' became their breakthrough hit and as the 'T.Rextasy' craze took over, follow-up hits 'Hot Love', 'Get It On', 'Telegram Sam' and 'Metal Guru' all topped the UK Charts. Albums 'Electric Warrior', 'The Slider' and 'Tanx' cemented the band's huge popularity and with Bolan striking up a relationship with soul singer Gloria Jones, their sound starting to include wailing Motown and R&B influences. More iconic hits included '20th Century Boy', 'Children of the Revolution' and 'Jeepster', but drugs, drink and egos had started to get out of control and, by the mid-70s, Bolan was living in Monte Carlo as a tax exile. With the birth of his son and the recruitment of some of David Bowie's session musicians, he got himself healthy and back on top form for their final album 'Dandy in the Underworld' but, in 1977, after a night out in Mayfair, he died in a car crash aged 29. Remembered as a flamboyant showman who bridged the gap between '60s psychedelia and '70s stadium pop and influenced punk, new wave and generations of rock acts, Bolan remains an iconic hero of British pop and rock.

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