Two centuries later, and another memorial to an English legend. Only this time the tree in question wasn't planted in honour of the dead hero, but was the direct cause of his death. An unprepossessing sycamore on Queens Ride, Barnes in London marks the spot where T-Rex singer/songwriter Marc Bolan died on 16th September 1977. Bolan was returning from a night out at Mortons, a club in Mayfair, with his girlfriend Gloria Jones (singer of the original Tainted Love). They were less than a mile from Bolan's East Sheen home when Jones lost control of her Mini on a hump-back bridge and crashed into the tree. Bolan, who wasn't wearing a seatbelt, was killed instantly.
Fans quickly turned the tree into an unofficial shrine to Bolan, and in 2007 (the 30th anniversary of his death), this was formalised by the English Tourist Board in 'England Rocks', their 'New Guide of Sites of Rock'n'Roll Importance'. Memorial plaques and a bronze bust of Bolan also feature at the site. The tree itself has been tended by the T-Rex Action Group since 1999, when it was in danger of falling down.
Several conspiracy theories suggest Bolan had a typically poetic premonition of his death: • In the song 'Celebrate Summer' he sings "Summer is heaven in 77". • In the song 'Solid Gold Easy Action', he sings "Easy as picking foxes from a tree". The number plate on Jones' Mini was FOX 661L. • In the same song is the line "Woman from the East with her headlights shining eased my pain and stopped my crying". As they were driving from central to South West London, they were technically travelling from the East; plus their home was in East Sheen. Jones herself, however, was from Cincinnati, which is the West however you look at it.
I don't know if it helps to suggestthere's something mystical about a man dying in a car crash. But if you want to pay your respects to an undeniable talent, track the tree down (opposite Gypsy Lane) and leave your own floral tribute.