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What continues to attract musicians to an artist whose imperial phase lasted barely two years? The music, obviously: the golden run of singles that begins with 1970’s Ride a White Swan and ends with 1973’s 20th Century Boy; the insouciant, sexually charged brilliance of the albums Electric Warrior and The Slider. The image: what the Edge calls “that transgressional thing of challenging stereotypes and being this ambiguous creature … that really did create a new kind of space”. The sense that, while other artists ultimately sold more records or had longer careers, it is hard to think of anyone who has been better at actually being a pop star than Bolan, with his self-mythologising lyrics – “I drive a Rolls-Royce / ’Cos it’s good for my voice” – his interviews filled with wild claims and outrageously entertaining lies, his looks, his charisma.
“He was the perfect pop star,” says John. “His songs were great, his records rocked, he had attitude, he had performing skills, he looked fabulous, he dressed the part. At a time when I was still becoming Elton John, he was a great role model. I thought: ‘This guy doesn’t give a #, he’s just being who he is and he’s loving every single minute of it.’ And that had a great effect on me.”
I am a much bigger Robert Plant fan than any man should be. I often call him the male Janis Joplin. He just oozes grace and style in a very 'ugly duckling' sort of way < 3