Marc Bolan / Sept 30, 1947 - Sept 16, 1977

Glam rock superstar Marc Bolan was born on this day. Born in London as Mark Feld to an Ashkenazi Jewish family, he grew up listening to the rock & roll boom. He started playing guitar at 9 and had a skiffle band as a teenager. As a young mod he did some acting and found good work as a model, as well as dabbling in poetry. He may have worked with Joe Meek as early as '63 but this is disputed.

He changed his name to Toby Tyler and recorded some cover songs in '64. He signed to Decca in '65, with his new name Marc Bolan, and released some folk-rock tunes. After nearly joining The Yardbirds, he joined John's Children as a contributing member and songwriter and his 1967 tune "Desdemona" was banned by the BBC as being too sexually suggestive.

He quit John's Children and started writing fantasy novels, even levitating with wizards (he claims), before putting together the psychedelic folk-rock band Tyrannosaurus Rex in late '67. They recorded a few albums to some decent success. In '69 he released a top-selling poetry book The Warlock of Love. He also did some session work with David Bowie around this time.

In '70 he re-branded as T. Rex, a funky and hard rocking glam band with glittery and flamboyantly stylish stage presence. The first single of the new look, "Ride A White Swan", reached #2 in '71 and turned Bolan into a star. "Get It On (Bang A Gong)" was a huge hit in '72 and the band were on their way to being one of the top sellers in the UK.

He continued guesting, contributing to albums by Ike & Tina Turner, Electric Light Orchestra and Ringo Starr. T. Rex went through various line-up changes but the music continued to stay fresh and relevant, even doing a tour with punk band The Damned. He died at 29 in a car accident with his girlfriend, singer Gloria Jones (she survived it).

Tagged: '70s Funk Rock, Celebrate Icons, folk, Marc Bolan, psych, rock, T. Rex

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