It is as if Chuck Berry and Oscar Wilde were somehow melded into one and had just attended a Wicca ceremony; there is a roughness to the elegance, a polished grit.
This song begins the glam era, one that reclaimed the right to rock and wear shiny clothing and have FUN; and this song celebrates Beltane, the spring, new life bursting out everywhere after a long winter. It doesn’t hurt that Bolan looks a bit like a Druid himself, wide-eyed and wise, the sort of guy who could say (from an interview in Voxpop) that in the mid-60s he “boogied around for about a year doing nothing” and that if this song wasn’t a hit he was going to leave music and be a writer. This song was his last shot at music at the time, as “the business as such was at a very low ebb at that point, there was really nothing going down.” He expected to get flak for it, but obviously it was a success, and he quickly had to get a band together and before he was perhaps ready for it, T. Rex was a rock band, no longer a hippy duo.
Sometimes things get to such a low point that something new has to be done, as the old is indeed the old and must make way for the new; and the lyrics – which Bolan is proud of – herald this new time, a time for flights of fancy and wisdom, all to a beat and a rocking guitar. Bolan’s voice is pretty – not an adjective I use lightly – with a vibrato that is somewhat like a bird, high and nearly androgynous, the vocal equivalent of a cool breeze. Even if you don’t have any interest in Wicca and have never danced around a maypole this is a seductive and inspiring song, and amongst the angst and anger it was like the return of flower power, a big hint that elegance can rock too. I do not know if it was coincidence or not that glam anticipated a period when people would need something groovy to boogie to – as a way of escape – but this is as noble and serene as a swan itself, admirable at any time, a mixing up of so many things that it was open to all to love. Bolan had rolled the dice and finally won; this blog will get back to him once he is a star at last, and many musicians of the time as well as future ones will be inspired by him. But for now: “and I wanted to get on there and make some changes in a way that wouldn’t hurt anyone.” Change is the word; we shall see, dear readers, how much change there is in ’71.