Marc Bolan looked best in soft focus.

Today’s birthday: The late, great Marc Bolan, who would have been 63 today if not for an unfortunate incident with an automobile back in 1977.

Bolan was a truly singular talent, and although often tagged with the meaningless appellation “glam rock,” the music he made with his band T. Rex was really hors catégorie. His special gift was the ability to deliver the most ridiculous lyrics with a straight face and somehow make it seem cool:

I got stars in my beard
And I feel real weird
For you
(“Mambo Sun,” 1971)

Time is short today for a full appreciation; instead, here are five random Bolan factoids:

1. He was originally named Marc Feld, then Bowland, then Bolan.
2. Jewish!
3. Sez Wikipedia: “In 1973, Bolan played twin lead guitar alongside his friend Jeff Lynne on the Electric Light Orchestra songs ‘Ma-Ma-Ma Belle’ and ‘Dreaming of 4000’ ”
4. Sez Wikipedia II: “In 1974, Bolan played guitar for Ike & Tina Turner. He appeared on ‘Nutbush City Limits,’ ‘Sexy Ida (Part II),’ and ‘Baby Get It On.’ ”
5. He named his son, born in 1975, “Rolan Bolan.” This was another salvo in the friendly rivalry between Bolan and David Bowie, father of Zowie Bowie.

And just for good measure, how about a nice spin through my current favorite T. Rex song, “Teenage Dream”? For the record, it was on my mind even before it was used in the Scott Pilgrim movie, though it was nice to hear it in a crowded theater – if only for a few seconds. Of the many video versions on the YouTube, I liked this minimalist one the best; the sight of Bolan prancing like a tit only detracts from the beauty of the music. Enjoy.