Happy Birthday, Marc Bolan

The story of Marc Bolan has long been modern Britain’s remedy to lost folklore. The glam rock legend perfectly befits the spec of a mythical creature from an encapsulated epoch that has been idealised, dreamt and titivated over time. Today’s independence and indifference to mythology of faeries, imps and pixies has been substituted for a new fairy-tale. A modern lore of long-haired, glitter-painted and sequin-clad men wielding guitars and feather boas. Like so many untimely deaths of celebrated artists- their magic, opulence and youth seems to have been perfectly preserved as legend. And that certainly remains the case with Marc Bolan, who sadly passed away in a heart-breaking car accident two weeks before his thirtieth birthday. His girlfriend and mother of his son, Gloria Jones- of ‘Tainted Love’ fame- survived the accident. It is understood, that in a sad fable of fortune, that he never learnt how to drive for fear of a premature death. Poignantly, he collected a number of cars, including a white Rolls Royce- and themes of which were often woven throughout his songs. Moreover- when warned by his manager that he may ‘die in a Porsche’ if he continued to idolise James Dean, Marc replied: ‘I’m just tiny, I’d like to die in a Mini’.

 

Whether it’s the glamour or the music of the T-Rex frontman that enchants you the most- his contribution to British music is astounding. As intelligent as he was visibly captivating- his former publicist lamented ‘It’s easy to underestimate him because he overestimated himself’. In terms of his contribution to style, he remains often overlooked- though references to his glamorous and unflinching dress is repeatedly drawn from on the runway. Suits of sequins, satin, gold and glitter. With hits often far more accessible than his glam rock counterparts of Bowie or Mott the Hoople- he never fully broke it in America. In the UK- he achieved the rare title of cool to the teenybopper kids and cool to the cool kids. British hits like ‘Get It On’ or ‘Ride a White Swan’ seem perfectly accessible and commercially catchy- but they sadly never got the US acclaim they deserved. Though, never forgotten, his colour and character will always be celebrated this side of the pond. Today, on what would be his 70th birthday, we pull out our vinyl, and take a moment to enjoy his enchanting, lovechild lyrics and groove-driven guitar, which impeccably capture the dreamy, hopeful vibe of his generation.