The Real Reason T. Rex Are Being Inducted Into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

For years now, fans of T. Rex have been wondering why the glam rock pioneers haven't been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As Ultimate Classic Rock pointed out in October 2019, lead singer Marc Bolan is already a member in spirit, simply due to the powerful influence he had on stars who made it in long ago, such as David Bowie, Elton John, Slash, and more.

The Rock Hall finally decided to right that wrong this year, when it announced that T. Rex would be among the 2020 inductees, alongside The Notorious B.I.G., Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, and Nine Inch Nails.

Although the glittery, dinosaur-named rock group had just a few radio hits in the United States during its frontman's short time on this earth (Bolan died tragically in a car accident in 1977 — he was just 29 years old), they experienced much more success in England. According to Official Charts, T. Rex had four number one singles in the U.K., while the highest they ever made it on the Billboard charts was number 10. But Bolan was a master at reinventing himself, and there's no doubt that had his life not ended so soon, he would have enjoyed astral success alongside the other famous starchildren of the day.

T. Rex invented both the glam rock look and sound

When we think of glam rock, our minds obviously go straight to David Bowie, but he wasn't the originator of the glittery style that defined so many artists in the '70s. As The Guardian reported, T. Rex's performance of its 1971 hit "Hot Love" on the popular British music show Top of the Pops "is often acknowledged as the birth of glam, or glitter rock as it was known initially." And it was the glitter teardrops shining beneath Bolan's eyes that did it. "There was some of my wife's glitter and I just spit on me fingers and stuck it under me eyes," he said in a 1974 interview with the BBC. "I thought it looked cute." But The Guardian also acknowledged others who claimed to have been responsible for those twinkling, genre-creating teardrops. Bolan's first wife claimed that the idea had been hers, but many say that his manager's wife, Chelita Secunda, was responsible for creating the glam rock look.

No matter who had the original idea, however, the shiny fad took a fierce hold of Britain, and Bolan's sparkly, boa-draped androgyny was copied by many other musicians. Although the T. Rextasy would be cut as unfortunately short as Bolan's fabulous life, both his music and his look would go on to influence generations of other gender-bending rockers.

T. Rex finally breaks into the US market

Caretakers of the T. Rex legacy say that Bolan has finally achieved his dream of "breaking the States" that he had back in the early '70s. Martin Barden, curator of the T. Rex catalog, told Billboard: "Even though he achieved some success on the coasts he didn't necessarily become quite as well-known in the U.S. as he would have liked. So all these years later to be talking about this induction into the Hall of Fame, it's terrific news. We're proud on Marc's behalf, on behalf of his family. He would have felt very rewarded."

Bolan biographer Mark Paytress said that the announcement is "wonderful news. The Hall Of Fame will be an infinitely more glamorous, curious, joyful and inclusive place with Marc Bolan and T. Rex on board. Bolan's work ... has a freshness and dynamism that belies its vintage. It's alive, and it keeps winning over new converts." T. Rex producer Tony Visconti spoke of the band's significant influence on other musicians, mentioning U2 as an example. And he wasn't kidding. As noted in that Ultimate Classic Rock piece, Bono is known to have confessed, "I've always said there's only one man I fancied as a prepubescent, and that was Marc Bolan."

Bolan will finally break through to the hardheaded U.S. on November 7, when the induction ceremony will be broadcast as an HBO special. The original ceremony was scheduled for May, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.