Marc Bolan’s trailblazing and often outrageous glam rock style left its indelible mark on everyone from David Bowie to Johnny Rotten and Lady Gaga, writes Tony Dewhurst.
And while this year marks the 40th anniversary of Marc Bolan’s death, aged 29, his monster hits Jeepster, Metal Guru, Telegram Sam and 20th Century Boy, sound as vibrant as contemporary today as they did in the glam rock fuelled era of the 1970s.
“Marc Bolan was an extraordinary pop artist, the greatest rock star this country has ever produced, and he certainly paved the way for his great friend Bowie as well as creating that iconic glam rock image,” said singer Danielz, who plays Bolan in doppelgangers T Rextasy, and brings the 40th anniversary tour to the Grand, Clitheroe, on February 11th.
“A lot of music today is about image makers - and people who want to be famous overnight on these terrible talent shows – but Marc was his own man, an innovator.
“Marc Bolan was a natural born rock and roller.”
Danielz saw T Rex play several times and was listening to Radio Luxembourg when he heard the T Rex sound for the first time on the airwaves.
“I saw him on the Electric Warrior (1972) and Slider Tours (1973) and on two other occasions, and each time he had reinvented himself and his music.
“Marc was at the height of his powers on Electric Warrior, with Jeepster, Get it On and Cosmic Dancer.
“There was this raw passion in the crowd, girls screaming, boys shouting, and at that time it felt like Marc could achieve anything.
“Then, on Slider, he had turned everything on its head, doing long guitar solos.
“He was saying to the musos of the era, some who had dismissed him, ‘Hey listen, I can play the guitar as well as you. Just watch me.’
He added: “Marc would have been 70 this year, and he was definitely on the way back when he died.
“Marc Bolan would still be doing great music if he was alive today, probably producing other bands, but he would certainly be still writing and embracing life.”
For the past quarter of a century, T Rextasy have toured the world – performing T Rex’s rock and pop anthems – a career that has lasted longer than Bolan’s very own T Rex.
Bolan hosted a pop music show on Granada TV – Marc – months before his death, and Danielz recalled: “Once again he was ahead of the game, showcasing punk bands like Generation X, The Jam, Radio Stars and Eddie and the Hotrods.”
Later, Siouxsie and the Banshees covered T Rex’s 20th Century Boy and Public Image leader John Lydon said Bolan’s Life’s a Gas was his favourite song.
“That show is largely forgotten about now because it was broadcast at 4pm in the afternoon, but I’m sure a lot of kids would have found Marc’s music through that and heard punk rock for the first time.”
Danielz and his band, the world’s only official tribute to Marc Bolan and T Rex, have even played with Micky Finn and Dino Dine, former T Rex members, and Marc’s son Rolan Bolan.
“I think getting respect in a tribute band is a hard thing to do, but I’ve always believed Marc’s music had the power to cross the generation gap and it did.
“People come to our shows with their children and grandchildren, and last year when we did The I Love to Boogie tour a lady arrived with her 93-year-old mother, who sat at the side of the stage and loved it.
“Marc used to call the fan gatherings the Church of Marc Bolan and I know what he meant.”
T Rextasy, Clitheroe’s The Grand, February 11th, 01200 421599 or www.thegrandvenue.co.uk