For a while there during the glam slam of the early '70s, Marc Bolan had it all. He had hit records, a rabid following of fans who lusted after him, a pretty face, and a ton of money. But it all went away when he started taking himself too seriously, treating friends and associates like garbage, and sinking into the bottom of a whiskey bottle.
This is his story as told by veteran music journalist Chris Welch and manager Simon Napier-Bell. Born Marc Feld on September 30, 1947, to
a truck-driving father and flea market booth-owner mother, he'd later talk about being brought up by wizards who taught him to levitate. He played drums when he was eight, got his first guitar around the same time, and found his calling. He
would become a poet, model, television actor and fashionista.
He would eventually become part of John's Children and then leave them to put together Tyrannousaurus Rex, his acoustic/hippie band. He'd go electric and form T. Rex, experiencing a string of hits including "Jeepster," "Bang a Gong (Get it On)" and "Ride a White Swan." It was all there for the taking, but Bolan never understood people and how to get the best from them. He belittled his producers - Tony Visconti created the T. Rex sound, and he
would later discount Visconti's contributions completely - and treated the press with contempt and hostility.
Having never learned to drive, it seems only fitting that he would die in a car crash two weeks before his 30th birthday: he wasn't at the wheel. He was an intriguing figure and could have been bigger than David Bowie - he was for a while - but could never control his darker side.