|Occupation||Guitarist Singer-songwriter Singer|
|Country||England United Kingdom|
|Date of birth||Stoke Newington, London Borough of Hackney, Greater London, London|
|Date of death||Sep 16, 1977 Barnes, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Greater London, London|
|Authority||IMDB id Library of congress id NNDB id ISNI id VIAF id Musicbrainz id Discogs id|
Marc Bolan ( BOH-lən; born Mark Feld; 30 September 1947 – 16 September 1977) was an English singer-songwriter, musician, guitarist, and poet. He was best known as the lead singer of the glam rock band T. Rex. Bolan was one of the pioneers of the glam rock movement of the 1970s. He died at the age of 29 in a car accident a fortnight before his 30th birthday.
Early life and career
Bolan grew up in Stoke Newington Common, in the borough of Hackney, east London, the son of Phyllis Winifred (née Atkins) and Simeon Feld, a lorry driver. His father was an American Ashkenazi Jew of Russian and Polish ancestry, while his mother was of English, Welsh and Scottish descent. Later moving to Wimbledon, southwest London, he fell in love with the rock and roll of Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Arthur Crudup and Chuck Berry and hung around coffee bars such as the 2i's in Soho.
Bolan was a pupil at Northwold Primary School, Upper Clapton. He appeared as an extra in an episode of the television show Orlando, dressed as a mod. At the age of nine, he was given his first guitar and began a skiffle band. While at school, he played guitar in "Susie and the Hula Hoops," a trio whose vocalist was a 12-year-old Helen Shapiro. During lunch breaks at school, he would play his guitar in the playground to a small audience of friends. At 15, he was expelled from school for bad behaviour.
Bolan briefly joined a modelling agency and became a "John Temple Boy", appearing in a clothing catalogue for the menswear store. He was a model for the suits in their catalogues as well as for cardboard cut-outs to be displayed in shop windows. Town magazine featured him as an early example of the mod movement in a photo spread with two other models. In 1964, Bolan met his first manager, Geoffrey Delaroy-Hall, and recorded a slick commercial track backed by session musicians called "All at Once" (a song very much in the style of his youthful hero, Cliff Richard, the "English Elvis"), which was later released posthumously by Danielz and Caron Willans in 2008 as a very limited edition seven-inch vinyl after the original tape recording was passed onto them by Delaroy-Hall. This track is one of Bolan's first professional recordings.
Bolan then changed his stage name to Toby Tyler when he met and moved in with child actor Allan Warren, who became his second manager. This encounter afforded Bolan a lifeline to the heart of show business, as Warren saw Bolan's potential while he spent hours sitting cross-legged on Warren's floor playing his acoustic guitar. Bolan at this time liked to appear in boho-chic, wearing a corduroy peaked cap similar to his then current source of inspiration, Bob Dylan. A series of photographs was commissioned with photographer Michael McGrath, although he recalls that Bolan "left no impression" on him at the time. Warren also hired a recording studio and had Bolan's first acetates cut. Two tracks were later released, the Bob Dylan song "Blowin' in the Wind" and Dion Di Mucci's "The Road I'm On (Gloria)". A version of Betty Everett's "You're No Good" (still unreleased) was later submitted to EMI for a test screening but was turned down.
Warren later sold Bolan's contract and recordings for £200 to his landlord, property mogul David Kirch, in lieu of three months' back rent, but Kirch was too busy with his property empire to do anything for him. A year or so later, Bolan's mother pushed into Kirch's office and shouted at him that he had done nothing for her son. She demanded he tear up the contract and he willingly complied. The tapes of the first two tracks produced during the Toby Tyler recording session vanished for over 25 years before resurfacing in 1991 and selling for nearly $8,000. Their eventual release on CD in 1993 made available some of the earliest of Bolan's known recordings.
He signed to Decca Records in August 1965. At this point his name changed to Marc Bolan via Marc Bowland. There are several accounts of why Bolan was chosen, including that it was derived from James Bolam, a contraction of Bob Dylan, and - according to Bolan himself, that Decca Records chose the name. He recorded his debut single "The Wizard" with The Ladybirds on backing vocals, and studio session musicians playing all the instruments. "The Wizard" was released on 19 November 1965. Bolan's first single was produced by Jim Economedes, with music director Mike Leander. Two solo acoustic demos recorded shortly afterwards by the same team ("Reality" and "Song For A Soldier") have still only been given a limited official release in 2015 on seven-inch vinyl. Both songs are in a folk style reminiscent of Dylan and Donovan. A third song, "That's the Bag I'm In," written by New York folk singer and Dylan contemporary Fred Neil, was also committed to tape, but has not yet been released. In June 1966, a second official single was also released, with session-musician accompaniment, "The Third Degree", backed by "San Francisco Poet", Bolan's paean to the beat poets. Neither song made the charts.
In 1966, Bolan turned up at Simon Napier-Bell's front door with his guitar and proclaimed that he was going to be a big star and he needed someone to make all of the arrangements. Napier-Bell invited Bolan in and listened to his songs. A recording session was immediately booked and the songs were very simply recorded (most of them were not actually released until 1974, on the album The Beginning of Doves). Only "Hippy Gumbo", a sinister-sounding, baroque folk-song, was released at the time as Bolan's third unsuccessful single. One song, "You Scare Me to Death," was used in a toothpaste advertisement. Some of the songs also resurfaced in 1982, with additional instrumentation added, on the album You Scare Me to Death. Napier-Bell managed The Yardbirds and John's Children and was at first going to slot Bolan into the Yardbirds. In early 1967 he eventually settled instead for John's Children because they needed a songwriter and he admired Bolan's writing ability. The band achieved some success as a live act but sold few records. A John's Children single written by Bolan called "Desdemona" was banned by the BBC for its line "lift up your skirt and fly".
His tenure with the band was brief. When the band split following an ill-fated German gig with The Who, Bolan took some time to reassess his situation. Bolan's imagination was filled with new ideas and he began to write fantasy novels (The Krakenmist and Pictures Of Purple People) as well as poems and songs, sometimes finding it hard to separate facts from his own elaborate myth - he famously claimed to have spent time with a wizard in Paris who gave him secret knowledge and could levitate. The time spent with him was often alluded to but remained "mythical". In reality the wizard was probably American actor Riggs O'Hara with whom Bolan made a trip to Paris in 1965. Given time to reinvent himself, after John's Children, Bolan's songwriting took off and he began writing many of the poetic and neo-romantic songs that would appear on his first albums with T. Rex.
When John's Children collapsed, among other problems, the band's equipment had been repossessed by their label Track Records. But Bolan, unperturbed, rallied to create Tyrannosaurus Rex, his own rock band together with guitarist Ben Cartland, drummer Steve Peregrin Took and an unknown bass player. Napier-Bell recalled of Bolan: "He got a gig at the Electric Garden then put an ad in Melody Maker to get the musicians. The paper came out on Wednesday, the day of the gig. At three o'clock he was interviewing musicians, at five he was getting ready to go on stage.... It was a disaster. He just got booed off the stage."
Following this concert, Bolan pared the band down to just himself and Took, and they continued as a psychedelic-folk rock acoustic duo, playing Bolan's songs, with Took playing assorted hand and kit percussion and occasional bass to Bolan's acoustic guitars and voice. Napier-Bell said of Bolan that after the first disastrous electric gig, "He didn't have the courage to try it again; it really had been a blow to his ego... Later he told everyone he'd been forced into going acoustic because Track had repossessed all his gear. In fact he'd been forced to go acoustic because he was scared to do anything else."
The original version of Tyrannosaurus Rex released three albums and four singles, flirting with the charts, reaching as high as number fifteen and supported with airplay by Radio 1 DJ John Peel. One of the highlights of this era was when the duo played at the first free Hyde Park concert in 1968. Although the free-spirited, drug-taking Took was fired from the group after their first American tour, they were a force within the hippie underground scene while they lasted. Their music was filled with Bolan's otherworldly poetry.
In 1969, Bolan published his first and only book of poetry entitled The Warlock of Love. Although some critics dismissed it as self-indulgence, it was full of Bolan's florid prose and wordplay, selling 40,000 copies and in 1969-70 became one of Britain's best-selling books of poetry. It was reprinted in 1992 by the Tyrannosaurus Rex Appreciation Society.
In keeping with his early rock and roll interests, Bolan began bringing amplified guitar lines into the duo's music, buying a white Fender Stratocaster decorated with a paisley teardrop motif. After replacing Took with Mickey Finn, he let the electric influences come forward even further on A Beard of Stars, the final album to be credited to Tyrannosaurus Rex. It closed with the song "Elemental Child", featuring a long electric guitar break influenced by Jimi Hendrix.
Bolan married his girlfriend, June Child (a former secretary to the manager of another of his heroes, Syd Barrett), who was influential in raising her new husband's profile in the music business. Becoming more adventurous musically, Marc bought a modified vintage Gibson Les Paul guitar (featured on the cover of the album T. Rex), and then wrote and recorded his first hit "Ride a White Swan", which was dominated by a rolling hand-clapping back-beat, Bolan's electric guitar and Finn's percussion. At this time he also shortened the group's name to T. Rex.
T. Rex and glam rock
Bolan and his producer Tony Visconti oversaw the session for "Ride a White Swan", the single that changed Bolan's career which was inspired in part by Mungo Jerry's success with "In the Summertime", moving Bolan away from predominantly acoustic numbers to a more electric sound. Recorded on 1 July 1970 and released later that year, it made slow progress in the UK Top 40, until it finally peaked in early 1971 at number two.
Bolan took to wearing top hats and feather boas on stage as well as putting drops of glitter on each of his cheekbones. Stories are conflicting about his inspiration for this—some say it was introduced by his personal assistant, Chelita Secunda, although Bolan told John Pidgeon in a 1974 interview on Radio 1 that he noticed the glitter on his wife's dressing table prior to a photo session and casually daubed some on his face there and then. Other performers—and their fans—soon took up variations on the idea. The era of glam and glitter rock was born.
The glam era also saw the rise of Bolan's friend David Bowie, whom Bolan had come to know in the underground days (Bolan had played guitar on Bowie's 1970 single "Prettiest Star"; Bolan and Bowie also shared the same manager, Les Conn, and producer, Tony Visconti) but their friendship was also a rivalry, which would continue throughout his career.
Bolan followed "Ride a White Swan" and T. Rex by expanding the group to a quartet with bassist Steve Currie and drummer Bill Legend, and cutting a five-minute single, "Hot Love", with a rollicking rhythm, string accents and an extended sing-along chorus inspired somewhat by "Hey Jude". It was number one for six weeks and was quickly followed by "Get It On", a grittier, more adult tune that spent four weeks in the top spot. The song was renamed "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" when released in the United States, to avoid confusion with another song of the same name by the American band Chase. The song reached No. 10 in the United States in early 1972, the only top 40 single the band had in America.
In November 1971, the band's record label, Fly, released the Electric Warrior track "Jeepster" without Bolan's permission. Outraged, Bolan took advantage of the timely lapsing of his Fly Records contract and left for EMI, who gave him his own record label, the T. Rex Wax Co. Its bag and label featured an iconic head-and-shoulders image of Bolan. Despite the lack of Bolan's endorsement, "Jeepster" peaked at number two in the UK.
In 1972, Bolan achieved two more British number ones with "Telegram Sam" and "Metal Guru" (the latter of which stopped Elton John getting to the top with "Rocket Man") and two more number twos in "Children of the Revolution" and "Solid Gold Easy Action". Bolan told Gloria Jones the track "Metal Guru" would be "the smoothest song in history".
In the same year he appeared in Ringo Starr's film Born to Boogie, a documentary showing a concert at Wembley Empire Pool on 18 March 1972. Mixed in were surreal scenes shot at John Lennon's mansion in Ascot and a session with T. Rex joined by Ringo Starr on a second drum kit and Elton John on piano. At this time T. Rex record sales accounted for about six percent of total British domestic record sales. The band was reportedly selling 100,000 records a day; however, no T. Rex single ever became a million-seller in the UK, despite many gold discs and an average of four weeks at the top per number one hit.
In 1973, Bolan played twin lead guitar alongside his friend Jeff Lynne on the Electric Light Orchestra songs "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle" and "Dreaming of 4000" (originally uncredited) from On the Third Day, as well as on "Everyone's Born To Die", which was not released at the time but appears as a bonus track on the 2006 remaster.
Bolan played guitar on the track "Have You Seen My Baby (Hold On)" on Ringo Starr's album Ringo.
By late 1973, his pop star fame gradually began to wane, even though he achieved a number three hit, "20th Century Boy", in February and mid-year "The Groover" followed it to number four. "Truck On (Tyke)" missed the UK top 10 reaching only No. 12 in December. However, "Teenage Dream" from the 1974 album Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow showed that Bolan was attempting to create richer, more involved music than he had previously attempted with T. Rex. He expanded the line up of the band to include a second guitarist, Jack Green, and other studio musicians, and began to take more control over the sound and production of his records, including by then girlfriend Gloria Jones on keyboards as well as backing vocals.
In 1974, Bolan played guitar for Ike & Tina Turner. He appeared on "Sexy Ida (Part II)", and "Baby Get It On". Tina Turner confirmed this in a BBC Radio 1 interview.
Eventually, the vintage T. Rex line-up disintegrated. Legend left in 1973 and Finn in 1975 and Bolan's marriage came to an end because of his affair with backing singer Gloria Jones. He spent a good deal of his time in the US during this period, continuing to release singles and albums which, while not reaching major commercial success, were full of unusual lyrics and sometimes eccentric musical experiments. Bolan was not living healthily and began to gain weight, though he subsequently improved and continued working, producing at least one album every year.
In September 1975 Gloria Jones gave birth to Bolan's son, whom they named Rolan Bolan (although his birth certificate lists him as 'Rolan Seymour Feld'). That same year, Bolan returned to the UK from tax exile in the US and Monaco and to the public eye with a low-key tour. Bolan made regular appearances on the LWT pop show Supersonic, directed by his old friend Mike Mansfield and released a succession of singles, but he never regained the success of his glory days of the early 1970s. The last remaining member of Bolan's halcyon era T. Rex, Currie, left the group in late 1976. In early 1977, Bolan got a new band together, released a new album, Dandy in the Underworld, and set out on a fresh UK tour, taking along punk band the Damned as support to entice a young audience who did not remember his heyday.
Later in 1977, Granada Television commissioned Bolan to front a six-part series called Marc in which he hosted a mix of new and established bands and performed his own songs. By this time Bolan had lost weight, appearing as trim as he had during T. Rex's earlier heyday. The show was broadcast during the post-school half-hour on ITV earmarked for children and teenagers and it was a big success. One episode reunited Bolan with his former John's Children-bandmate Andy Ellison, then fronting the band Radio Stars.
Bolan's longtime friend and sometimes rival David Bowie was the final guest on the last episode of Marc. The two performed Bowie's song "Heroes" near the end of the show, and after Bolan's signoff, they began to play a bluesy song over the closing credits. Right as the vocals were about to begin, however, Bolan stumbled off the stage and out of the camera frame. Bowie's amusement was clearly visible and the band stopped playing after a few seconds. With no time for a retake, the occurrence was aired.
On 16 September 1977, Bolan was riding in a Mini 1275GT driven by Gloria Jones as they headed home from Mortons drinking club and restaurant in Berkeley Square. After she crossed a small humpback bridge near Gipsy Lane on Queens Ride, Barnes, southwest London, the car struck a fence post and then a tree. Bolan was killed instantly, while Jones suffered a broken arm and broken jaw.
At Bolan's funeral, attended by David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Tony Visconti, and Steve Harley, a swan-shaped floral tribute was displayed outside the service in recognition of his breakthrough hit single "Ride a White Swan". His funeral service was at the Golders Green Crematorium, a secular provision in north London, where his ashes were buried. The car crash site has subsequently become a shrine to his memory, where fans leave tributes beside the tree. In 2013, the shrine was featured on the BBC Four series Pagans and Pilgrims: Britain's Holiest Places. The site, referred to as Bolan's Rock Shrine, is owned and maintained by the T. Rex Action Group.
Bolan never learned to drive, fearing a premature death. Despite this fear, cars or automotive components are at least mentioned in, if not the subject of, many of his songs. He also owned a number of vehicles, including a white 1960s Rolls-Royce that was loaned by his management to the band Hawkwind on the night of his death.
Bolan was mostly seen playing a Gibson Les Paul. His main guitar, a Les Paul Standard (fitted with a Les Paul Custom replacement neck after the original neck was broken), was refinished in a translucent orange to resemble Gretsch guitars played by one of his heroes Eddie Cochran. Following the theft of this guitar in early 1977, it was replaced with a black Les Paul. He was also seen playing a black Gibson Flying V with tremolo and an early 1960s model Olympic White Fender Stratocaster decorated with a paisley-patterned teardrop shape, which had been his main guitar in the immediate aftermath of his resumption of use of electric instrumentation in 1969 and until the purchase of the Les Paul circa August 1970. The Stratocaster was eventually destroyed onstage during the 1974 United States tour after becoming irreparably faulty.
One with both an eye and ear for the unusual, Bolan also played various models of visually striking guitars from smaller independent companies, among them a Veleno aluminium guitar, and the Burns Flyte. For acoustic guitars, he favoured the Epiphone and Gibson brands, particularly the Gibson Hummingbird and Gibson J-160E models.
In 2011, Gibson Guitar Corporation issued a specification-correct model of his main Gibson Les Paul guitar as part of their Signature series.
While Bolan was known to use makes as diverse as Vox, Orange, HH Electronics and Marshall, he is perhaps most associated with the short-lived Vampower line of British amplifiers, used from 1970 to 1973. The model MK1A Vampower 100 watt stack was present and used on the T. Rex tours and recordings of that period. When Bolan disassociated himself with Vamp, he was mainly seen using HH Electronics – mostly the HHIC100s 100w power-head.
Bolan was the early guitar idol of Johnny Marr, who later found fame as the guitarist of the influential indie rock band the Smiths.
In 1979, Siouxsie and the Banshees released a cover of "20th Century Boy" as the B-side to the single "The Staircase (Mystery)". The band had played the song live for several years and on the first anniversary of Bolan's death in 1978 played the song as the encore when they performed at Aylesbury Friars.
In December 1980, "Telegram Sam" was the fourth single released by British gothic rock band Bauhaus.
Also in 1980, the Bongos were the first American group, with "Mambo Sun", to enter the Billboard charts with a T.Rex cover. Since then, Bongos frontman Richard Barone has recorded several other Bolan compositions ("The Visit," "Ballrooms of Mars"), worked with T.Rex producer Tony Visconti for his current solo album, Glow (2010, Bar/None Records) that includes a remake of Bolan's "Girl" from Electric Warrior, and has himself produced tracks for Bolan's son Rolan.
In 1983, NWOBHM band Girlschool covered "20th Century Boy" on their Play Dirty.
In 1984, the Replacements released a cover of "20th Century Boy" as a B-side to the single "I Will Dare"; it is also included on the reissue version of their album Let It Be.
In 1993, Adam Ant covered the track live on his Persuasion tour. The song was included on a private preview show on 21 February 1993 in Burbank, Los Angeles which was recorded and released, complete with the cover version, as a live bonus CD with 1994 pressings of his Antmusic: The Very Best of Adam Ant collection.
In 1985, Duran Duran splinter band Power Station, with Robert Palmer as vocalist, took a version of "Get It On" into the UK Top 40 and to US No. 6, the first cover of a Bolan song to enter the charts since his death. They also performed the tune (with Michael Des Barres replacing Palmer) at the US Live Aid concert.
In 1989, X released a live cover of "20th Century Boy" as the B-side to their single "Kurenai".
In 1990, Baby Ford did a cover of "Children of the Revolution" that appeared on the album Oooh, The World of Baby Ford.
In 1991, T-Bolan a Japanese rock band debuted. The name of this band was inspired by T. Rex and its vocalist Marc Bolan.
In 1993, Guns N' Roses covered "Buick MacKane" on The Spaghetti Incident? but it was mislabelled on the album as "Buick Makane".
Oasis' 1994 hit song "Cigarettes & Alcohol" is acknowledged as drawing strongly upon "Get It On" in its instrumental music.
In 2003 Depeche Mode's Martin Gore recorded covers of "Life Is Strange" and "Left Hand Luke and the Beggar Boys", and included them as b-sides of the single "Stardust".
In 2006 Def Leppard released their album Yeah!, which contains covers of their favourite bands while growing up, the first song on this album is "20th Century Boy". Joe Elliott wanted to sing "Metal Guru" while Vivian Campbell wanted "Telegram Sam" but end up agreeing to "20th Century Boy". It's not the first time that Def Leppard has sung a T.Rex song; there is a live version of Get It On.
"Children of the Revolution" was similarly performed by Elton John and Pete Doherty of The Libertines at Live 8, 20 years later. U2's Bono and Gavin Friday also covered "Children of the Revolution" on the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack.
In 2000, Naoki Urasawa created a Japanese manga entitled 20th Century Boys that was inspired by Marc Bolan's song, "20th Century Boy". The series is a multiple award-winner, and has also been released in North America. The story was adopted into three successful live-action movies from 2008 to 2009, which were also released in the US, Canada and the UK.
"20th Century Boy" introduced a new generation of devotees to Bolan's work in 1991 when it was featured on a Levi's jeans TV commercial featuring Brad Pitt, and was re-released, reaching the UK Top 20. The song was performed by the fictional band The Flaming Creatures (performed by Placebo, reprised by Placebo and David Bowie at the 1999 BRIT Awards) in the 1998 film Velvet Goldmine. In every decade since his death, a Bolan greatest hits compilation has placed in the top 20 UK albums and periodic boosts in sales have come via cover versions from artists inspired by Bolan, including Morrissey and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Similarly, "I Love to Boogie" was briefly used on an advert for Robinson's soft drink in 2001, bringing Bolan's music to a new generation. Mitsubishi also featured "20th Century Boy" in a 2002 car commercial, prompting Hip-O Records to release a best-of collection CD titled 20th Century Boy: The Ultimate Collection.
His music is still widely used in films, recent notable cases being Breakfast on Pluto, Death Proof, Lords of Dogtown, Billy Elliot, Jarhead, Moulin Rouge!, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Breaking-Up, Hot Fuzz, Click, School of Rock , Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Dallas Buyers Club and Wonderland. Bolan is still cited by many guitar-centric bands as a huge influence (Joy Division/New Order's Bernard Sumner has said that the first single he owned was "Ride a White Swan".) However, he always maintained he was a poet who put lyrics to music. The tunes were never as important as the words.
An altogether less welcome legacy for his friends and family is the ongoing row about his fortune. Bolan had arranged a discretionary trust to safeguard his money. His death left the fortune beyond the reach of those closest to him and both his family and journalists have taken an active interest in investigating the situation, so far with little result other than bringing the story to wider attention. A small, separate Jersey-based trust fund has allowed his son to receive some income. However, the bulk of Bolan's fortune, variously estimated at between £20 and £30 million (approx $38 – $57 million), remains in trust. As of 2007, Bolan's family is supposed to have a house paid for by the trust, and Rolan is supposed to receive an allowance.
Bolan returned to the top of the UK charts in 2005 when the remastered, expanded Born to Boogie DVD hit No. 1 in the Music DVD charts.
In 2006, following an application by Mick Gray it was revealed that English Heritage had refused to commission a blue plaque to commemorate Bolan, as they believed him to be of "insufficient stature or historical significance". There is, however, an existing plaque dedicated to Bolan at his childhood home, put there by Hackney Council.
There are also two plaques dedicated to his memory at Golders Green Crematorium in North London. The first was placed there in the mid-1990s in white marble and was installed by the Tyrannosaurus Rex Appreciation Society with the help of fans worldwide. The second was installed by the official Marc Bolan fan club and fellow fans in September 2002, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his passing. The inscription on the stone, which also bears his image, reads '25 years on – his light of love still shines brightly'. Placed beneath the plaque there is an appropriate ceramic figure of a white swan.
In 2006, TV series Life on Mars, William Matheson portrays Marc Bolan, circa 1973, in a bar in Manchester. Time-travelling Sam Tyler recognises him, has a fan boy moment, and warns him to be careful of riding in Minis. In the American version of the series, the character is replaced by that of Jim Croce, who died later that year in a plane crash, and Sam warns him. However, the T. Rex version of "Get It On" is played in the New York dance club in that scene.
In 2007, the English Tourist Board included Bolan's Rock Shrine in their guide to Important Sites of Rock 'n Roll interest 'England Rocks'.
As reported in 2011, a school is planned in his honour, to be built in Sierra Leone: The Marc Bolan School of Music and Film.
The Cameron Crowe-created movie Almost Famous features a scene where a Black Sabbath groupie is telling aspiring journalist William Miller (said to be created in Crowe's own image) about how, "Marc Bolan broke her heart, man. It's famous," regarding the character of Penny Lane, played by Kate Hudson.
A musical, 20th Century Boy, based on Bolan's life, and featuring his music, premiered at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich in 2011.
See T. Rex discography for full details of releases by Tyrannosaurus Rex and T. Rex. Solo releases and other releases are listed below.
- with John's Children
- The Legendary Orgasm Album (1982)
- Smashed Blocked! (1997)
- The Beginning of Doves (1974)
- You Scare Me to Death (1981)
- Dance in the Midnight (1983)
- Observations (1992)
- with Tyrannosaurus Rex
- My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... But Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows (1968)
- Prophets, Seers & Sages: The Angels of the Ages (1968)
- Unicorn (1969)
- A Beard of Stars (1970)
- with T. Rex
- T. Rex (1970)
- Electric Warrior (1971)
- The Slider (1972)
- Tanx (1973)
- Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow (1974)
- Light of Love (1974)
- Bolan's Zip Gun (1975)
- Futuristic Dragon (1976)
- Dandy in the Underworld (1977)
- Billy Super Duper (1982)
- as Marc Bolan
- 1965 "The Wizard/Beyond the Rising Sun"
- 1966 "The Third Degree/San Francisco Poet"
- 1967 "Hippy Gumbo/Misfit"
- 1967 "Sleepy Maurice/Cat Black" (Only actually released after his death)
- 1967 "Hot Rod Mama/Sarah Crazy Child" (Only actually released after his death)
- with John's Children
- 1967 "Desdemona/Remember Thomas A Beckett"
- with Tyrannosaurus Rex
- 1968 "Debora/Child Star"
- 1968 "One Inch Rock/Salamanda Palaganda"
- 1969 "Pewter Suitor/Warlord of the Royal Crocodiles"
- 1969 "King of the Rumbling Spires/Do You Remember"
- 1970 "By the Light of a Magical Moon/Find a Little Wood"
- T. Rex
- 1970 "Ride a White Swan/Is It Love/Summertime Blues"
- 1971 "Hot Love/The King of the Mountain Cometh/Woodland Rock"
- 1971 "Get It On (Bang a Gong)/Raw Ramp"
- 1971 "Jeepster/Life's a Gas*"
- 1972 "Telegram Sam/Cadilac/Baby Strange"
- 1972 "Metal Guru/Thunderwing/Lady"
- 1972 "The Slider/Chariot Choogle" (not officially released however some copies exist)
- 1972 "Debora/One Inch Rock/Woodland Bop/The Seal of Seasons(Re-issued)(MagniFly EP)"
- 1972 "Children of the Revolution/Jitterbug Love/Sunken Rags"
- 1972 "Solid Gold Easy Action/Born to Boogie"
- 1973 "20th Century Boy/Free Angel"
- 1973 "The Groover/Midnight"
- 1973 "Truck On (Tyke)/Sitting Here"
- 1973 "Blackjack / Squint Eye Mangle" as Big Carrot
- 1974 "Teenage Dream/Satisfaction Pony"
- 1974 "Light of Love/Explosive Mouth"
- 1974 "Zip Gun Boogie/Space Boss"
- 1975 "New York City/Chrome Sitar"
- 1975 "Dreamy Lady/Do You Wanna Dance/Dock of The Bay"
- 1975 "Christmas Bop/Telegram Sam/Metal Guru" (not officially released however some copies exist)
- 1976 "London Boys/Solid Baby"
- 1976 "I Love to Boogie/Baby Boomerang"
- 1976 "Laser Love/Life's An Elevator"
- 1977 "The Soul of My Suit/All Alone"
- 1977 "Dandy in the Underworld/Groove a Little/Tame My Tiger"
- 1977 "To Know Him Is to Love Him/City Port"
- 1977 "Celebrate Summer/Ride My Wheels"
- 1977 "Ride a White Swan/The Motivator/Jeepster/Demon Queen"
- 1977 "Get It On/Hot Love (Re-issued)"
- 1978 "Hot Love/Raw Ramp/Lean Woman Blues"
- 1978 "Crimson Moon/Jason B. Sad"
- 1978 "You Scare Me to Death/The Perfumed Garden of Gulliver Smith"