Posted by Richard Rawlinson
T-Rex star Marc Bolan died, aged 29, in a car crash in west London in the early hours of a September morning in 1977. His girlfriend Gloria Jones was driving him home from a night in Mayfair when her purple Mini smashed into a tree by the side of the road. Even today, flowers are still placed to mark the spot.
When Elvis Presley died a month before, Bolan is reported to have made the somewhat egotistical comment, ‘I’m really glad I didn’t die today because I wouldn’t have made the main story.’ As it turns out, he died on the same day as Maria Callas, with him being the bigger story, at least in this country.
Rock fans create legends around their heroes, and T-Rex lyrics have since been analysed for meaning linked to his death. Bolan’s last single, Celebrate Summer, includes the line, ‘Summer is heaven in seventy-seven’. His song, Solid Gold East Action, includes the line, ‘Easy as picking foxes from a tree’: the numberplate of the Mini was FOX 661L.
Footnote: John Lennon was shot dead in 1980 having just got out of his limo onto the pavement outside his Manhattan apartment block. Reporters have since unearthed quotes by the former Beatle such as, ‘I’m not afraid of death because I don’t believe in it. It’s just getting out of one car, and into another’.
Meanwhile, death preoccupied some of the so-called 27 Club, rock and pop stars including Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, who all died aged 27. Cobain is quoted as saying, ‘If you die you’re completely happy and your soul somewhere lives on. I’m not afraid of dying. Total peace after death’. Winehouse once said, ‘If I died tomorrow, I would be a happy girl’.
David Bowie at Marc Bolan’s funeral