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The Last Performance: Marc Bolan’s Final Show

The untimely departure of T Rex’s frontman, Marc Bolan, in a fatal car accident in 1977 marked the end of what should have been a flourishing chapter in his life. Bolan had orchestrated a successful return to the mainstream as the host of his musical television show, reigniting his career and casting a promising light on the future.

While T Rex’s commercial prowess had slightly waned from its peak in the early 1970s, the band found themselves back on significantly sized stages during their tours, steering everything in the right direction. Bolan and T Rex, having firmly established themselves over several albums, no longer relied on chart-topping hits to sustain their success.

The final year of Bolan’s life commenced with an extensive tour across France and the United Kingdom, culminating on March 20th in Portsmouth. After a two-month hiatus from the road, the band regrouped for a one-off performance at Gröna Lund in Stockholm on May 24th, sadly marking their final headline show.

Gröna Lund, primarily an amusement park, had played host to iconic artists like David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and Iggy Pop over the years. In the same year as T Rex’s performance, Gröna Lund welcomed Bob Marley, Thin Lizzy, and The Clash as part of its summer concert series.

The Stockholm concert signified the end of an era for the band, with Miller Anderson departing from T Rex after the show. Although T Rex never again took the center stage for a full headline show, they did participate in recording Bolan’s television show, “Marc.”

The six-episode series, recorded at Granada Studios in Manchester, featured star-studded guests such as David Bowie, Queen’s Roger Taylor, Hawkwind, The Boomtown Rats, 10cc, Showaddywaddy, and The Jam.

The last recording for “Marc” occurred on September 7th, 1977, just nine days before Bolan’s tragic demise. During the broadcast, Bowie delivered a rendition of ‘Heroes,’ and Bolan performed ‘Deborah,’ ‘Groove A Little,’ and ‘Ride A White Swan’ with T Rex. The program concluded with Bowie joining the group for a jam, and Bolan expressed gratitude to his musical guests, addressing the audience, “All the cats, you know who they are.”

Despite being a relatively low-budget television show, it proved to be a hit and had been renewed for a second season, a plan that was derailed by Bolan’s untimely death. Sadly, by the time his final performance was broadcast, the singer’s funeral had already taken place.

After navigating a challenging period in the mid-’70s, Bolan had finally regained his creative spark and was relishing a career renaissance. Tragically, the fatal car crash on September 16th, 1977, abruptly cut short his comeback just as it gained full momentum. Nevertheless, the iconic body of work he left behind serves as a testament to his genius and continues to uphold his enduring legacy.

Watch Bolan’s final performance below.

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