Bang a Gong
Marc Bolan, leader of glam group T. Rex, was born Marc Feld on this day in 1947 in Hackney, London. He was the spacey, cherubic, fragile leader of British power pop during the 1970s, a genre distinguished by ripe, simple grooves, "fat, distorted guitars . . . [and] an overarching folkie/hippie spirituality," according to S. Erlewine. A teenage model, Bolan plunged headlong into psychedelic folk music in 1965 and formed the band Tyrannosaurus Rex (later shortened to T. Rex) in 1968, becoming a major force in British pop music by the early 70s with hits such as "Ride a White Swan" (1970), "Hot Love" (1971) and the glam-classic "Bang a Gong (Get it On)" (1972). His stage persona -- usually sequined and feather-boa'd, always androgynous -- attracted the attention of teens, fomenting the fan phenomenon of "T-Rextasy." Bolan's music was disposable, yet it somehow served to make fellow glam-guy Elton John seem more credible, and at the same time it provided elliptical inspiration to British punks in the late 1970s such as The Damned and The Jam. Bolan died when the Mini 1275 GT driven by his girlfriend, singer Gloria Jones, crashed into a tree in Barnes Common, London on September 17, 1977.