T-Rex singer and, later, solo artist, Marc Bolan, was killed instantly in a car accident when driving with his girlfriend at the tie, Gloria Jones. The car he was driving left the road and hit a tree in Barnes, London, on this day some 42 years ago. It was a grave loss to music.
Bolan was, at the time, one of the biggest pop stars in the UK. He helped create his own genre and, with the help of David Bowie et al in forging the foundations of glam rock, had a huge influence on the face of music in the mid-70s. Bolan had become friends with Bowie in the late ’60s before his career took off, and they both struggled to find their niche. It was with help from John Peel that he managed to begin to make a name for himself.
Bolan’s and his friend began T-Rex, a psychedelic-folk rock acoustic duo named Tyrannosaurus Rex had been born out of starry eyed dreams but had started to gain momentum. Bolan eventually shortened the group’s name to T. Rex before he wrote the song that would set the tone for his future hits like ‘Cosmic Dancer’ and ‘Children of theRevolution’. Notorious for its hand-clapping beat and electric guitar the song slowly made its way up the charts. That track was ‘Ride A White Swan’.
The song was released on the 24th of October 1970 and didn’t reach number 2 until January 23rd 1971 a whole 11 weeks later. The classic track shows the traits of many Bolan songs notably his accomplished guitar skills and his ability to create catchy and memorable hooks.
Watche below as T-Rex, with Marc Bolan at the helm, turn a small Sheffield pub into a riot with their performance of ‘Ride A White Swan’.