John's Children - Hot Rod Mama (BBC Session)
The son of a lorry driver, Bolan grew up in post-war Hackney, East London, amongst a Jewish family, and later lived in Wimbledon, southwest London. He fell in love with the rock and roll ofGene Vincent and Chuck Berry at an early age and became a Mod, hanging around coffee bars such as the 2 I's in Soho. He appeared in an episode of the television show Orlando as a Mod extra.
At the age of nine, Bolan was given his first guitar and began a skiffle band shortly after. At 15, he left school 'by mutual consent.
He briefly joined a modelling agency and became a "John Temple Boy", appearing in a clothing catalogue for the menswear store. He was used as a model for their suits in their catalogues as well as a model for cardboard cutouts to be displayed in shop windows. "TOWN" Magazine featured him as an early example of the Mod movement in a photo spread with a couple of other "faces".
Bolan then shifted his focus back towards music and, at age 17, made an attempt to kick-start a career in the business. Sporting a denim cap and playing an acoustic guitar, he decided to try his hand at the British folk circuit. The sound resembled a Dylan/Donovan mix and his songs consisted of some Dylan covers and a few other folksy tunes. To complete the new look and sound, Mark even gave himself the new stage name Toby Tyler. Some of his earliest known music available are covers of "The Road I'm On (Gloria) by Dion and a recently discovered recording of "All at Once".
After changing his name again to Marc Bolan via Mark Bowland while with Decca Records he released his first single "The Wizard". In early 1967 Manager Simon Napier Bell added him to the Pop-Art/mod bandJohn's Children, which achieved some success as a live band but sold few records. A John's Children single written by Marc Bolan called "Desdemona" was banned by the BBC for its line "lift up your skirt and fly". His tenure with the band was brief. Bolan claimed to have spent time with a wizard in Paris who allegedly gave him secret knowledge and could levitate. The time spent with him was often alluded to but remained "mythical"; in reality the wizard was probably U.S. actor Riggs O'Hara with whom Bolan made a trip to Paris in 1965. His songwriting took off and he began writing many of the neo-romantic songs that would appear on his first albums with Tyrannosaurus Rex.