T.Rex, along with other acts like David Bowie, The Sweet and Slade topped the pop charts in Britain, appealing to a generation that had been too young to adapt the revolutionary ethos of the Sixties.
Unfortunately, unlike Bowie, Bolan and T.Rex failed to catch fire with American audiences. Then in 1977 the Les Paul-slinging frontman, known as the “bopping elf” was killed when the car he was traveling in struck a tree.
Last Saturday night in London stars and music industry luminaries gathered with friends and fans of the late glam rocker for a tribute concert marking the 35th anniversary of his tragic death.
With T.Rex tribute band T.Rextasy serving as house band and the likes of Slade’s Noddy Holder on hand to do the emceeing, the audience was treated to a succession of eclectic performers, each taking their turn at various numbers from the Bolan/T.Rex catalog.
Also on hand was Andy Ellison, who’d played briefly with Bolan in the psychedelic freakbeat outfit John’s Children back in the mid-Sixties. Ellison joined T.Rextasy for rousing rendition of the Bolan-penned John’s Children numbers “Desdemona” and “Sara Crazy Child.”
One of the evenings highlights was ex-Cockney Rebel singer and Bolan contemporary Steve Harley performing “Dandy In the Underworld,” a song he’d done backing vocals for on the initial recording with Bolan nearly 40 years ago.
Other luminaries who appeared, either to perform or merely pay tribute to Bolan included producer Tony Visconti, T.Rex drummer Bill Legend and Sixties pop singer Sandie Shaw performed a rendition of “Life’s a Gas.”
The event which took place at the Shepard’s Bush Empire was a benefit for the PRS for Music Members Benevolent Fund, which provides support and assistance for aspiring musicians and songwriters.