Telegram Sam – the lost verses
T Rex were without doubt, the most lyrically gifted of all British glam rock groups of the 1970s. Their songwriter, Marc Bolan, penned such classic lines as: “Metal guru, is it you?” "I drive a Rolls-Royce, 'cos it's good for my voice" and “Oh, Debora, you look like a zebra”. One of the seminal band’s greatest successes was Telegram Sam, a song whose lyrical depths and hidden meanings have been studied by musicologists and lyricologists since it first hit the charts in 1971.
References to the title character (“You are my main man”) and others, such as Purple Pie Pete (“Girls melt in the heat. Yeah”) and Jungle-Faced Jake (“make no mistake about Jungle-faced Jake), have been the subject of fierce debate among academics for decades. More fuel will soon be added to this furnace of argument and counter-argument as recently discovered discarded verses have been uncovered, verified to be in the great Bolan’s own handwriting, written with his trademark purple crayon. Just a few have been released to the media, and here they are in full.
Snuffly Steve, Snuffly Steve
He’s got snot all over his sleeve
Globetrotting Joe. Globetrotting Joe
He’s been to King’s Lynn and Felixstowe
Greedyguts Arnie, Greedyguts Arnie
He’d sell his mum for a bacon sarnie
Scruffy Brian, Scruffy Brian
I think that shirt could do with an iron
Scientist Ben, Scientist Ben
He cloned a goat that could count to ten.
Genius? You decide.
It is quite clear to music experts such as myself that this is another example of lyrics being both scintillatingly brilliant on the one hand, and a pile of crap on the other hand. And who wants a pile of crap on either hand? Sadly, Marc had an unscheduled meeting with a tree while driving his Mini and a career that could have been longer was actually made shorter. Junior musicologists who are not as qualified as what I am have put forward conspiracy theories about why the tree was there: if, indeed it had been deliberately planted by a rival glam rock outfit such as Slade or The Sweet. But this is just idle speculation from people who don't know any better.
Let's leave the last word to Marc himself:
Bill and Ben, Bill and Ben,
I love to groove with those Flowerpot Men
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