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Music / Marc Bolan

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"Well it's plain to see
You were meant for me
Yeah, I'm your toy
Your 20th Century boy"
T. Rex, "20th Century Boy"

Marc Bolan, born Mark Feld (30 September 1947 – 16 September 1977) was a British singer-songwriter, guitarist, and poet. and one of the leading pioneers of Glam Rock. Bolan was mostly known for his band T.Rex. His work was a major influence on Punk Rock and Alternative Rock artists.


As part of Tyrannosaurus Rex/T. Rex:

  • 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
  • 1969 - Unicorn
  • 1970 - A Beard of Stars
  • 1970 - T. Rex
  • 1971 - Electric Warrior
  • 1972 - The Slider
  • 1973 - Tanx
  • 1974 - Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow
  • 1974 - Light of Love
  • 1975 - Bolan's Zip Gun
  • 1976 - Futuristic Dragon
  • 1977 - Dandy in the Underworld
  • 1982 - Billy Super Duper


"Well you're slim and you're weak you've got the tropes of a Hydra upon you...":

  • Agent Peacock: Flamboyant, but also known for his simple, hard rocking riffs. Bolan always had good standing within the Punk Rock community.
  • Album Title Drop: From "Frowning Atahualpa"
    "My people were fair and had sky in their hair
    But now they're content to wear stars on their brows."
  • Anaphora: From "Ride a White Swan"
    "Wear a tall hat like a druid in the old days,
    Wear a tall hat and a tattooed gown."
  • Continuity Nod: From "Sound Pit":
    "Metal Guru's in the loo with my glue, yeah
    Telegram Sam bought some land in Milan"
  • Dance Sensation: "The Woodland Bop"
  • Death by Irony: A man who was so afraid of dying young in a car crash that he never learned to drive died in a car crash as a passenger a couple of weeks shy of his 30th birthday.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Had this with David Bowie for pretty much all of his career, which also included a couple of collaborations.
  • Genre Shift: Started as a hippie folk band called Tyrannosaurus Rex before switching to Glam.
    • Moved from glam to an almost disco style for Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow, then reverted back for his last album, Dandy In The Underworld.
  • Glam Rock: Many consider him to be the Trope Maker.
  • Heavy Mithril: Many of his songs contained mystical fantasy themes.
  • I Am the Band: To the point that linking to T. Rex here redirects to him. Really, it's damn near impossible to picture T. Rex without Bolan.
  • Intercourse with You: "Get It On (Bang a Gong)", of course, along with references to "the teeth of the Hydra" and a "cloak full of eagles".
    • "Buick Mackane," from The Slider, comes right out and says it:
    "You're just a sexual glider."
  • Irony: Despite writing many songs about cars, Bolan never learned to drive because he was horrified of the possibility that he would die prematurely in a car accident. He died in a car accident, as the passenger, aged just 29.
  • Kubrick Stare: The cover of Zinc Alloy.
  • Misblamed: Many think "Get It On" was retitled "Bang a Gong" for the US single release as the original title was considered too overtly sexual. In actually, it was retitled to avoid being confused with the Chase song "Get It On".
  • The Movie: 1972's Born to Boogie
  • Mood Whiplash: Bolan was quite fond of inserting oddly depressing lyrics in the middle of otherwise upbeat songs
  • The Musical: 2011's 20th Century Boy
  • Nice Jewish Boy: Despite his over-the-top onstage persona, Bolannote  often described himself as one among friends
  • New Rules as the Plot Demands: When Steve Peregrin Took and Bolan disagreed over the course of Tyrannosaurus Rex when harder and audience-pleasing rock was in demand, Bolan replaced him with Mickey Finn, who couldn't play percussion half as good as Took but was pretty and a good foil to Bolan. Bolan went electric and simplified his music, and the rest is history.
  • Pre-Columbian Civilizations: Crossed with Department of Redundancy Department: "My lovely Inca love" is mentioned in "Frowning Atahualpa."
  • Repurposed Pop Song: "20th Century Boy" was used in a Levi's commercial starring Brad Pitt.
  • Rhyming with Itself: From "Frowning Atahualpa"
    "Sitting all alone, looking at the throne of the one I used to love
    Sitting all alone, looking at the stone of my lovely Inca love"
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: "Ride a White Swan"
    Wear a tall hat like a druid in the old days
    Wear a tall hat and a tattooed gown
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: "Left Hand Luke" includes the line, "Myxomatosis is an animal's disease," which it, in fact, is, specifically one that affects rabbits.
  • Single Stanza Song: "Broken Hearted Blues", among MANY examples, especially on the pre-Electric Warrior albums.
  • Something Blues: "Organ Blues," "Lean Woman Blues," "Broken Hearted Blues"
  • Swan Boats: Having critical success as Tyrannosaurus Rex, but little in the way of record sales, Bolan relaunched the band as T. Rex and went electric. The "bridging number" between the two incarnations of the band, and the one that made their name as a glam-rock group, was called Ride a White Swan and evoked this trope. Indeed, given a TV pop music programme of his very own to host, Bolan shamelessly relaunched this song by appearing on stage and singing it from... a white boat shaped like a swan.
  • Take That!: "Shock Rock":
    "If you know how to rock you don't have to shock"
  • 12-Bar Blues: The verse structure of "Hot Love".
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Too many examples. Read the lyrics to ANY of his albums.

Alternative Title(s): T Rex