Marc Bolan was one of the most prolific and electric pop performers in the history of British music. At the age of 29 in 1977, only days before he was to turn 30, the performer died of massive head injuries when the car he was riding in veered off the road and struck a tree in the early morning of September 16. Marc Bolan did leave behind a fantastic legacy of numerous outtake recordings, unfinished demos as well as a huge cult following of loyal fans who still manage to keep alive the legacy of this great pop performer.
The latest tribute to the legacy of Marc Bolan is a musical, 20th CENTURY BOY, which is playing in London until the 29th of September. Reportedly, some clips of the musical play are circulating on YouTube, and actor George Maguire is doing an outstanding role playing the lead as Marc Bolan in the musical, with many songs written by Marc Bolan highlighting the show. Best seat tickets are selling for around $45.
Maguire manages to capture much of the excitement of a real Marc Bolan concert in this great play that will hopefully be made into a DVD presentation or movie production someday.
Marc Bolan’s T.Rex also has at least two very popular tribute bands that have kept the legacy of his music alive including one organized by Mickey Finn, who played bongos in the band, but died several years ago from liver cancer. Steve Took, who played bongos in the older Marc Bolan musical act, Tyrannosaurus Rex, reportedly choked to death on a cherry, celebrating after her won a recording royalty conflict with Bolan. Bass player for the band, Stevie Currie, was later killed in a car accident as well, leaving only drummer Bill Legend as the sole surviving member of the original electric T.Rex band that had a long string of top ten pop hits over in the UK and many parts of the world, although, “Bang A Gong(Get It On)” was the only big commercial hit success for the British pop act in the United States.
The T.Rex tribute band that was formed by the late Mickey Finn has just completed a concert tour of Poland and will have upcoming tour dates over in Germany and in the UK all before Christmas.
As a song writer, Marc Bolan was often known for mostly disposable songs that had enough catchy hooks to capture your attention and score top ten success, such as “Bang A Gong(Get It On)”, which became more enduring than most of his songs, and a true rock and roll anthem. Marc Bolan was sometimes viewed as Bob Dylan in reverse. Bob Dylan used words in songs for what the words meant, while Bolan seemed to use words for how they sounded in his songs. But, regardless, Bolan was great rock and roll fun during the glam rock years of the 1970’s, and was also produced by Tony Visconti, who produced David Bowie’s recordings as well.
It was a little known trivia fact that while Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman from The Turtles and Frank Zappa’s The Mothers Of Invention did backing vocals on “Bang A Gong(Get It On)”, and on the ELECTRIC WARRIOR album, the two were replaced by the backup vocals of Marc Bolan and Tony Visconti on THE SLIDER album, after Marc Bolan found out that Kaylan and Volman expected to be paid for their backup vocal work. Tony Visconti and Marc Bolan liked these backup vocalist’s style, so they imitated them in the studio, dubbing these vocals onto THE SLIDER. Marc Bolan was sometimes notoriously cheap and thrifty, but other times would spend extravagantly, such as buying himself a Rolls Royce, although he never had a drivers license and likely never drove himself. Bolan seemed strangely attracted to automobiles in some sort of sexual way. After Steve Took left the acoustic-oriented, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Bolan replaced him with Mickey Finn who was criticized by critics for not being as good of a musician as Took, and unable to duplicate the more complex bongo rhythms of Took. But, reportedly Bolan liked the way that Finn looked, and found him handsome, and loved his motorcycle. Bolan was said to have some bisexual characteristics, and reportedly slept with a male record producer he just met at a party once, which resulted in at least record contract deal. But, Bolan was also known for plenty of sexual excesses with females as well. If anything, his sexual excesses played a part in his own downfall from top success and likely also played a role in fatal accident as well. But, despite all of his faults, Bolan was well loved by his fans, who still remain loyal to this day. Bolan was also strangely seen as the “godfather of punk” by some, as he seemed to spur on this musical movement with his last album, DANDY IN THE UNDERWORLD, which was also one of his best recordings ever. Both Marc Bolan and Jim Morrison from The Doors seem to have had some real influence on the later punk rock music scenes of some sort.
Marc Bolan had a unique voice and guitar signature that made him a unique, once-in-a-lifetime musical act. As a performer, he was nearly as popular as any one single member of The Beatles during his lifetime, and his loyal fans will only continue to keep the memory alive of one of the greatest musical performers ever to fill concert halls over in the UK.