Rock Corridor 2020: T. Rex Inducted by Ringo Starr, Joan Jett, Billy Idol
T. Rex were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during tonight’s ceremony, which aired on HBO. Ringo Starr inducted the band, honoring the late Marc Bolan in his speech. “People knew him as a great musician, a songwriter, a guitarist, but he was also a poet, and he was very proud of that,” Starr said. “In fact, his poetry was as important to him as his music. He had great style and was really unlike anyone else I have ever met.” Read the speech in full below, and watch the full ceremony on HBO Max.
Following Ringo Starr’s speech, there was a video featuring remarks from Billy Idol and Joan Jett, as well as archival footage of Tony Visconti, Elton John, David Bowie, and John Lydon. “There’s an amazing sexuality to Marc,” Joan Jett said. “I had a major crush on him.”
Billy Idol added: “Marc had this TV show he was doing. What was great is he was having different punk groups on, and he was breaking down certain walls not really caring and having this ‘eff you’ attitude. All of that sort of spoke to us. He championed us [Generation X] and he stood up for us, and I’ve always thanked Marc ever since.”
Marc Bolan’s son Rolan Bolan accepted the Rock Hall’s induction on his father and the band’s behalf. “I really think my dad was put on this Earth not only to play music, but to show off his unique magnetism and charisma,” Bolan said. Find his full speech below, too.
Read all of Pitchfork’s coverage of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2020 ceremony.
Ringo Starr’s induction speech
From T. Rex, my good friend Marc Bolan. People knew him as a great musician, a songwriter, a guitarist, but he was also a poet, and he was very proud of that. He was always telling me that he was the No. 1 selling poet in Britain. In fact, his poetry was as important to him as his music. He had great style and was really unlike anyone else I have ever met.
He was a great performer, just incredible, and that’s why I called the film we did together Born to Boogie because he really was. I told Marc, “I’ll bring the camera and everything else, you just bring yourself.” We had a lot of fun together. I remember lots of laughter.
We lost him way too young. Within his short life he made over 12 albums that are as far out and ahead of their time as he was. With the help of Tony Visconti and his band T. Rex, Marc’s style started a lot of trends. They called it glam rock, with singles such as “Get It On,” “Children of the Revolution,” and, of course, “Born to Boogie.” But it was always just great music to me, and that’s why people are still listening to T. Rex today. There’s no doubt they belong in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Finally! And I’m very proud to welcome them in right now. Peace and love to Marc, Mickey, Steve, and Bill, and peace and love to all the fans from me and T. Rex. Peace and love!
Rolan Bolan’s acceptance speech
I feel very honored to accept this award on behalf of my father Marc Bolan and his band T. Rex. I really think my dad was put on this Earth not only to play music, but to show off his unique magnetism and charisma. He took inspiration from American music, but formulated his own persona and his own sound. The T. Rex sound kept evolving up through when my mother joined the group, creating a cosmic soul which still tests musical boundaries as well as racial ones.
As I reflect on this incredible honor of my dad and his band being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I think about how I really didn’t have a chance to know him very well. He was taken away from all of us so early in his life. I discovered his music pretty much the same way you have—through my eyes and ears. When I was a kid watching MTV, Def Leppard’s “Rocket” video came on, and it had clips of T. Rex’s performance of “Get It On.” That was my daily hello to my father. When I saw GnR and Slash was wearing a Slider T-shirt and looking just like my dad, I had to check out The Slider album and discover the T. Rex sound for my self. I know my dad would’ve been very proud to receive this. He always aimed for the top and here he is now. To my mother Gloria Jones, my uncle Harry Feld, friends and fans all across the world, keep a little Marc in your heart and long live T. Rex.