After spending all night living it up, Rock stars, or anybody else for that matter, should not attempt to drive home. Add to that, never let your girlfriend drive either. Also, make sure your mechanic does a good job fixing your car. All these things conspired to end Marc Bolan's life. Though his career was in a lull at the time of his death in September '77 he was too great a talent to remain a has-been for very long.
After a late evening at a London club Bolan and his girlfriend and sometimes collaborator Gloria Jones headed home. Jones was at the wheel when the car went out of control and struck a tree. Bolan was killed and Jones badly injured. It was later discovered that the car had been worked on recently and bolts on a tire were loose.
Starting life as Mark Feld, he became Toby Tyler before selecting the Marc Bolan moniker. His first performances and records were as a solo but he soon joined the psychedelic band, John's Children and stayed with that outfit for a large chunk of the late '60s before starting the acoustic/folk oriented Tyrannosaurus Rex. After a couple "mystical" albums Bolan, like Bob Dylan before him, went electric. He also contributed his guitar talents to a track on David Bowie's "Aladdin Sane" album. Meanwhile, Tyrannosaurus Rex went from a duo to a trio with the addition of Steve Curry on bass (percussionist Steve Peregrin Took was the other member). Also, the name got shortened to the familiar T-Rex. For a '71 U.S. tour drummer Bill Legend made T-Rex a quartet. They opened for Humble Pie and Mountain.
While best known for "Bang A Gong (Get It On)" and other boogie Rockers like "Jeepster" and "Telegraph Sam" Bolan, given his folk background, could turn a lyric. In "Bang A Gong," from the "Electric Warrior" album, he described a girl as having a "hub-cap diamond star halo."
T-Rex's U.K. popularity was so massive that it attracted the attention of the Beatles' Apple productions. Ringo Starr produced and filmed the documentary "Born To Boogie" which naturally centered on Bolan.
For a British TV show Bolan had Elton John sit-in on piano for "Bang A Gong." Bolan fit nicely into the Glam Rock scene with a little make-up and outlandish clothes but musically he seemed closer to the bare-bones Blues Rockers that were emerging in the U.S. He just looked better.
In the late '70s, with Glam Rock threadbare and Bolan's boogie style out of juice, he tried some unsuccessful experiments including an attempted re-launch of Jones' lackluster dance music career.
1968 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
1970 A Beard Of Stars
1970 T. Rex
1971 Electric Warrior
1972 The Slider
1974 Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow
1975 Bolan's Zip Gun
1976 Futuristic Dragon
1977 Dandy In The Underworld
"Electric Warrior" with "Bang a Gong" and "Jeepster" is T-Rex's best. It shows Marc Bolan's Boogie - Rock vision in full flower. The follow up, coming out a year later in '72, "The Slider," is nearly as great. This set features "Telegraph Sam" another mesmerizing Rocker, along with "Metal Guru," "Rock On" and the title track. "The Essential Collection" gives Bolan and T-Rex their due in a 24-song set. Avoid "Greatest Hits 1972-1977: The A-Sides." It is chalk full of filler. "The B-Sides" is even worse. Also, there are several compilations of material unreleased until the '90s. Sorry, it would have been better to leave it in the vault.