Ringo Starr Inducts T. Rex Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
“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 of bandleader Marc Bolan, who died in 1977 at the age of 29. “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.”
The Beatles drummer – a two time Rock Hall inductee – also noted Bolan’s vibrant personality, an important component of his trailblazing glam-rock ways: “He had great style and was really unlike anybody else I had ever met. He was a great performer, just incredible.”
Starr directed the 1972 concert film Born to Boogie, which featured T. Rex, as well as Elton John. Starr recalled the experience as a joyful one, noting that Bolan was the star of the show. “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.”
Of course, it’s the music that earned T. Rex enshrinement in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Starr made sure to give Bolan and his bandmates their due. “We lost [Bolan] way too young, but in 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," Starr added. "And that’s why people are still listening to T. Rex today. There’s no doubt they belong in the hall of fame, finally. And I’m very proud to welcome them in right now.”
In accepting the honor on behalf of his father, Rolan Bolan said: "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 sound.
"As I reflect on this incredible honor," Rolan added, "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 my ears.
"When I was a kid watching MTV, Def Leppard’s “Rocket’ video came on, and had clips of T. Rex’s performance of “Get It On.” That was my daily hello to my father," he said. "When I saw GNR and Slash was wearing his ‘Slider’ T-shirt, and looking just like my dad, I had to check out the Slider album and discover the T. Rex sound for myself. I know my dad would be very proud to receive this. He always aimed for the top, and here he is now."
The 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was originally scheduled to take place in last May in Cleveland, but was postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, this year's class – which also includes the Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Whitney Houston and Notorious B.I.G. – are being virtually inducted tonight during a pre-recorded television special.