Wednesday 24 April 2024

The Runes Of My Tunes

The Soul Of My Suit by T. Rex shuffled into play as I was driving home from work, a lovely journey after a strange day, sun shining and carpets of spring flowers in the countryside creating a lovely counterpoint to the various towns and villages that I passed through. 
Windows down, volume up, The Soul Of My Suit is a real singalong (with apologies to any who were "treated" to a fleeting excerpt of my vocal efforts), all the easier as there are limited lyrics, oft repeated.
(In a tip of the hat to Charity Chic's excellent Saturday Shuffle series, I'll add that The Soul Of My Suit was sandwiched between Give It Up by Talk Talk and Jesse Malin's cover of Harmony, so it was in very good company indeed)
By coincidence, The Soul Of My Suit was released on 18th March 1977, although by 24th April it had exhausted a three week run in the UK Top 50 singles chart (#'s 50, 42 and 46 consecutively). There were two more singles that year - a remixed and re-recorded version of album title track Dandy In The Underworld, followed by a standalone single Celebrate Summer - but The Soul Of My Suit was the last T. Rex song to chart in the UK before Marc Bolan's tragic death on 16th September 1977.

So, as a nod to one of my favourite songs from the T. Rex catalogue, harking back to past glories but also nodding to a possible future, here's not one but four versions of The Soul Of My Suit, found on t' internet.
Opening up is an official video for The Soul Of My Suit, filmed less than a week before the single release on 12th March 1977. T. Rex had played the song at the Apollo Theatre in Manchester the previous evening (supported by The Damned, fact fans) and stayed in the city, using the Hall Of Mirrors in the Belle Vue zoo and theme park as a location. The video was not shown at the time and languished in the EMI vaults until 1999 and finally got an inevitable upload to YouTube at the tail end of 2020. It's slightly at odds with the song and visually not overly exciting but Marc himself looks fantastic and sometimes that's all you need.
Top Of The Pops broadcast The Soul Of My Suit on 24th March 1977, Marc and the band performing in the round, elevated above a shuffling, somewhat soporific audience. Marc swaps his jacket from lilac to banana yellow, which makes him pop out against the technicolour backdrop. I'm less sure about Herbie Flowers' dungarees or Dino Dines woolly hat, though!

A change of scene but not wardrobe for a follow up performance on ITV kids show Get It Together, broadcast on 27th April 1977 by which time The Soul Of My Suit had dropped out of the singles chart. Get It Together had premiered on 6th April 1977 and was co-presented by Roy North, his first major gig after securing a place in history as Mr. Roy, straight man/sidekick to Basil Brush...
Ignore the constant split screen 'mirror' video effects (had the producers seen the video in the Hall Of Mirrors, I wonder?), this is a great clip, the band performing live and extending the guitar break and Marc looks like he's having more fun than in the mimed TOTP performance.

Finally, a full on live performance of The Soul Of My Suit. I've no idea where or when this concert took place: the YouTube labelling indicates 1976; Setlist claims the song had it's live premiere in Newcastle on 10th March 1977; Iffypedia states that The Soul Of My Suit was recorded in the spring of 1975 in Munich. 
Perhaps reflecting the support act, there's another shift in Marc's style: the tousled, tangled hair more closely cropped, banana yellow limited to a stripe on his wide tricolour tie, short sleeve dusky jacket, make up reapplied. It's a great look, even if the rest of the band clearly didn't receive the memo. Again, the song is teased out, Marc slowing the vocals down, making for an enjoyable alternative take.

Marc, I love you, yeah yeah


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, CC, though 50 (and counting) over at yours is mightily impressive!