It was a steep learning curve for me, turning 14 at the end of the 1960s. As 1970 dawned, and I got my first record player, I got the distinct feeling that it had all sort of happened. Anyway, I had heard some Tyrannosaurus Rex on the John Peel Top Gear show, and as at first I could only afford singles, one of the very first records I ever bought was “By The Light Of A Magical Moon”:
By the end of 1970 the band had become T.Rex, and for about 3 years it was massively in the vanguard of the “glam-rock” teeny-bopper scene. For me, this music was not nearly as good as the Tyrannosaurus Rex stuff.
I never got any of the four LPs as the original vinyl releases, but did get them all as two double LPs on the Fly Toofa label, which faithfully reproduced the original packaging:
The title of the first album is “My People Were Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair But now They’re Content To Wear Stars On Their Brows”. It was released in 1968 and is “Dedicated to Aslan and the Old Narnians”. It carries some sleeve notes written by John Peel:
“Tyrannosaurus Rex rose out of the sad and scattered leaves of an older summer. During the hard, grey winter they were tended and strengthened by those who love them. They blossomed with the coming of spring, children rejoiced and the earth sang with them. It will be a long and ecstatic summer.”
One curious feature of this first LP and the third one “Unicorn”, is that a track on each of them features a children’s story, concerning the adventures of Kingsley Mole and Lionel Lark, in each case read by the said John Peel. Unicorn is probably the best of the four; by the time of “Beard Of Stars” Marc is playing electric guitar, and woodland rock had become, on one or two tracks, woodland heavy metal.
I do have all four now as expanded CD versions, in each case doubling its length, and these feature prominently in one of my favourite playlists.
Marc Bolan died in a car crash on 16 September 1977, a few days before his 30th birthday. This year therefore sees the 40th anniversary of his death, and is a stark reminder of mortality to us all. It is just over three years now to the 40th anniversary of the death of the first Beatle to die…