British broadcaster Bob Harris recalled the moment he witnesses Marc Bolan becoming a star in 1971.
Harris, a veteran BBC host, was on a U.K. tour with T. Rex in the early months of the year, just as “Hot Love” became the band’s first No. 1 hit.
“The first gig was Portsmouth Guildhall [in England],” he told Uncut in the latest issue. “The band finished their set, and we were hanging out. We realized there was a lot of noise in the street – the whole crowd was round the backstage door.”
By the time local police arrived, Harris said, the “place was surrounded by girls with scissors trying to get locks of Marc’s hair. What I remember is a lot of stainless steel flashing around at eye level. It was madness!”
When the tour arrived in Scotland 10 days later, the phrase “T. Rexstasy” had been invented by the media to describe what was going on, Harris recalled. The phenomenon escalated when Bolan made his iconic appearance on the BBC’s Top of the Pops TV show, wearing glitter on his face and kick-starting the glam-rock movement.
Watch T. Rex Perform ‘Hot Love’ on ‘Top of the Pops’
“People were ready for Marc,” producer Tony Visconti said, pointing out how different the singer looked. “Everyone was growing a beard. Musicians were trying to distance themselves from being slick. … You’d see people on Top of the Pops with beards, wearing jeans and flannel T-shirts. Then Marc came along.”
Visconti noted that Bolan “was very good-looking. But he was cheeky. He was preening himself to be a rock star. He didn’t do this stuff when I first met him, but he’d probably been working this out in the mirror.”