The 30th of September 1947 saw the birth of Mark Feld, the undoubtedly confident boy who years later went on to be better known as the scandalously fabulous, Marc Bolan. From guitarist and vocalist in mod rock group ‘John’s Children’, to the psychedelic rock band ‘T. Rex’. The fame that Bolan experienced throughout his career could only be described as chart topping and the same fate was destined to coincide with fellow performer and friend, David Robert Jones. A man who fan’s undeniably better recognise as David Bowie. Bowie was born on the 8th of January 1947 and studied arts, music and design as a young man. Not necessarily as determined for popularity as Bolan but sure in knowing what it was that he enjoyed expressing, Bowie went onto become one of the most unorthodox and influential musicians of the 20th Century and unquestionably, still is to this day. 

Bolan and Bowie met whilst offering a fresh coat of paint to their manager’s office wall. Bolan mentioned to Bowie how he was “king mod” and that Bowie’s shoes were “crap”, to which Bowie replied “Yeah, well you’re short”. Instantly shining light on the approaching wondrous friendship. What would later go on to be a very glamorous life for the pair, didn’t start that way, “Marc took me dustbin shopping,” Bowie stated. “At that time, Carnaby Street, the fashion district, was going through a period of incredible wealth. And rather than replace buttons on their shirts or zippers on their trousers, they’d just throw it all away in the dustbins. So we used to go up and down Carnaby Street and go through all the dustbins, around nine, ten o’clock, and get our wardrobes together.”

It wasn’t long before Bolan began to gain moderate success from ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex’ whilst Bowie was still relatively unknown, prompting Bolan to invite Bowie to open for their shows. That admittedly didn’t go too great when Bowie performed a mime based on China’s invasion of Tibet, which saw him booed off stage. In 1969, Bolan decided to drop his hippie persona, changing the band’s name to ‘T. Rex’ and their style to electric rock. It was at that point the artists both found themselves at a matching creative intersection, empowering them to modify the music world.

Unfortunately, Bolan’s years of success were set to reach their untimely demise as on September 16th 1977, tabloids throughout the UK were headlining the sorrowful news of a car accident that heartbreakingly saw Bolan D.O.A. The adoring fans of ‘T. Rex’ were devastated by the announcement and soon turned up in the numbers to pay their respects at Marc’s place of death. Bowie was of course one amongst many of the famous faces to have attended Bolan’s funeral and since went on to share memories and heartfelt dedications to his affiliated musician and comrade.

Whilst both artists are indisputably two of the biggest names in glam rock, Bowie’s 39 years of life on Bolan, only witnessed his status grow to immeasurable heights. Distinguishing Bowie as contestably one of the biggest names in music of all times. From the point of their first interaction with one another, Bolan and Bowie followed a somewhat similar path of stardom and whilst it’s impossible to say, it’s a thought worth pondering on just how far Bolan’s fame might have gone if not for his early departure. One thing’s for sure, in the peak of both Bolan’s and Bowie’s careers, there’s no denying that the two individually created a strong image of confidence, freedom and style. Often seen in boldly flamboyant attire and well assembled makeup, both artists iconically combined rock and roll with a liberating sense of fashion and were always meant to have many eyes and ears follow them, throughout generations ongoing.