Marc Bolan, London's First Glam-Rock Star

Marc Bolan's House in Newington Green
25a Stoke Newington Common

Marc Bolan was born Mark Feld on 30 September 1947, at 25a Stoke Newington Common, where he lived up until 1962 with his mother, Phyllis, who worked on a Soho fruit stall, (Marc would sometimes assist) and his father, Simeon, a lorry driver.

While attending Northwold School he played guitar in a group "Susie and the Hoops" alongside 12-year old vocalist Helen Shapiro, who found fame before Marc in early 1961 with her first hit “Walking Back to Happiness”. Marc left school as soon as he could in 1962 and about the same time moved from his Stoke Newington Common home. He briefly joined a modelling agency and became a "John Temple Boy," appearing in a clothing catalogue for the menswear store.

His first stage name was Toby Tyler, which he took from a film of the same name, before he settled, sometime later, for Marc Bolan, Bolan coming from the first two and last three letters of his hero Bo(b) (Dy)lan

He is best known as the founder of the British rock band Tyrannosaurus Rex, which was later abbreviated to T. Rex. His music, as well as his highly original sense of style and extraordinary stage presence, helped create the glam rock era which made him one of the most recognizable stars in British rock music.

Marc was to spend his last night in Morton’s bar and restaurant at Berkeley Square, along with his girlfriend Gloria Jones, who drove him home in her Mini 1275GT (registration FOX 661L). Marc never took a driving test or had a licence. He died instantly when Jones lost control of the car and it struck a sycamore tree after failing to negotiate a small humpback bridge near Gipsy Lane on Queens Ride, Barnes, in South West London at 5 a.m. on 16 September 1977.

Jones suffered a broken arm and broken jaw and spent time in hospital; she did not learn of Bolan's death until the day of his funeral. Bolan's home, which was less than a mile away at 142 Upper Richmond Road West in East Sheen, was quickly looted.

Today the site of the crash is a shrine to Marc Bolan and is officially recognised as Bolan's Rock Shrine.

London Time

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