I have been a fan of Marc Bolan since the age of seven. I became aware of Hot Love, the first T.Rex number one single, for several reasons. All these years later, here are my memories.
There was no pop music in our home. My parents did not listen to any contemporary music, not even Elvis or the Beatles. They were in their early thirties when I was born, but somehow their tastes had been set before the advent of Rock & Roll, and were stuck. My two older siblings were yet to show an interest in modern music – or if they were interested, I was unaware of it – so I had to find my own way.
We lived in a Home Counties town. Our garden boundary was no more than a single piece of limp wire, woven through occasional two-foot posts. We’d just hop over the wire to play with next door’s kids. On one such sojourn I heard music coming through the kitchen window. It was probably the Sunday evening chart run down. The music I heard was Hot Love.
Around the same time I watched Top of the Pops – quite possibly for the first time – and there, again, was Hot Love. Whether this first exposure was to one of the two March 1971 performances by T.Rex, or the BBC-created video to the song, I am unsure. I must have seen at least two of the three as I clearly remember two anonymous figures riding horse-back in an English idyll, as well as seeing Marc Bolan for the first time. He was like nothing on earth, and certainly like no-one in the three streets around me.
My third memory is from our 1950s prefab junior school. Each year’s classroom joined on to the next, both via the general corridor and the gardens outside. I was in the third year, and the oldest kids were in the first year (as it was numbered backwards; very Home Counties). The first year kids’ teacher had died tragically young, and as a special dispensation they were allowed to play records during their break times to help ease the pain, or something. One day I could hear Hot Love coming out of their open metal-framed windows, past year two’s classroom, and down to year three. In my grey short trousers and grey short-sleeved shirt, I ventured past the shrubs and herbaceous borders. I started to dance. To my horror, one or two of the girls in the classroom spotted me. I was very, very small as a boy, and these girls were huge in comparison. Their long hair made them seem even taller. They came out and grabbed me, made a circle around me and insisted that I continue to dance. Hot Love.
I asked my mother for the single for my next birthday, that July. Hot Love was the first record I ever owned. It came from Rumbelows, in a plain white bag.
43 years later I still keep more than a little Marc in my heart. Rest in peace, beautiful pixie man.
30 September 1947 to 16 September 1977