1960 Bill Fifield (Bill Legend)
Bill was born in Barking where he went to Roding Primary School then Erkenwald Secondary School. But following his parents move to Ilford, the last three years of his secondary schooling were spent at Mayfield. It was here that Bill, inspired by a friend and classmate who played guitar, became interested in playing drums.
Bill was influenced not only by the rock artists of the day but also many blues musicians and in particular a soul outfit called ‘Booker T & the MG’s’. They played backing tracks for the renown ‘Stax’ label and were true mentors to Bill’s way of playing.
Bill left Mayfield in 1960 and started work in a London art studio as an apprentice to become a commercial artist and Illustrator, but his self taught drumming skills led him into the music scene. During this time he was combining his job with music, and attending his local church youth movement (the Covenanters) at Marks Gate Baptist Church. He played in ‘The Zodiacs’, ‘Teen Beats’, ‘Scorpions’ and the ‘Epics’ on the pub and Youth Club circuit.
In 1968 Bill married and moved to Hockley. It was in the Southend area that he met the singer/songwriter Mick Jupp, leader of the band ‘Legend’. Bill joined the band, working the College and London Club circuit. The band enjoyed success, making two albums ‘The Red Boot’ and ‘Moonshine’ plus five singles.
Then Bill was introduced to Marc Bolan, the leader of T.Rex. Bolan was impressed by Bill’s skillful drumming and invited him to join the popular rock band. Marc Bolan renamed the drummer ‘Bill Legend’ after the band he came from. The first T.Rex single with Bill Legend on drums, ‘Hot Love’, went to number one in the UK charts in 1971 and stayed there for six weeks. The albums that followed include: ‘Electric Warrior’, ‘Bolan Boogie’, ‘The Slider’, ‘Tanx’ and ‘Zinc Alloy’.
From left to right: Bill Legend (Drums), Marc Bolan (Vocalist, Song Writer and Guitar), Mickey Finn (Congas and Bongos), Steve Currie (Bass Guitar). Bill Legend is the only surviving member of this classic 1970/73 T.Rex lineup, regarded by many as the most successful.
I can remember growing up with Bill, and David on Marks Gate estate. Going to the Covenators which was a boys organisation associated with the local Baptist church. It was there that Bill, Dave and myself were all baptised as Born again Christians. I have lost touch with Dave since he moved to New Zealand. But gave met up with Bill on a few occasions. Bill and I still gave a strong faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Good to hear from you Richard, and hope the family are keeping well! Yes we had a great time living in Marks Gate and attending Covenater and the Church there that had only just been built! Its amazing how God has His hand upon your life and how he still does. I guess we’ve all been through some ‘stuff” in our lives but God has been good as Jesus becomes more and more the center of it! That’s what I want Richard as I know you do also! It was good to meet up when Tony and I played at your daughters 21st…
So take care and every blessing to you and the family. Lets hope we can meet again in the near future! Bill
Hi Bill, are you still in San Francisco? I am taking Linda on a surprise holiday for her 65th, Las Vegas then onto San Francisco. We will be there 5th to 7th May. If you’re there we could meet up. Have you still got my email?
Hi Richard… We live in the Sierras about 150 miles due east of San Francisco. Haven’t been there for some time and, unfortunately, I’m hoping to be back in the UK when you’re due in San Francisco would you believe. However, if and when I’m in England I’ll check to see if you’re going to be around when I’ll be there! I do have your email now so I’ll write at length soon. Blessings! Bill.
Hi Bill so good to hear from you again. Hear from you soon.
I remember Bill’s mum and dad, Rose and Arthur coming to our house near Potters Bar at Christmas. Arthur and my Dad John Gough, were in the army together I think Bill came a couple of times. Rose and Arthur were really nice and Arthur always played our piano. Happy Times.
I met Marc Bolan four times in all and one occasion interviewed him for Canadian radio in 1975. I am sorry I didn’t get to meet you Bill, because it would have been good to have a got a band member’s perspective. The interview which survived from a listening copy was on a pod cast from UKRadio in New York a couple of weeks ago. It was also used in a 2012 edition of Johnnie Walker’s Sounds of the Seventies. It’s interesting to note that you are in the US, because my first professional attempts at radio were in fact in the US. Since then I have worked for both the BBC and ILR networks and still do some broadcasting with veteran Keith Skues for the BBC and also some programming for local radio. I’ve played T Rex records on air for many years. Well keep up the good work and keep on a’rocking.
Hi Ben, goodness me your mum and dad and mine were really good friends. Yes, dad and your dad (Ginger) were in the army together and I have some photos of them. I came to your house many times and it would be great to catch up with you. If you are on face book you can find me under (Eileen Fifield -Dean ). If not email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Would be lovely to hear from you. From Eileen Dean nee Fifield
So nice to hear all about your musical career. I used to live in Hockley too, nice village. We went to see the Marc Bolan shrine at the weekend, and so the music of T Rex still lives on!
T Rex, a wonderful band that will never be forgotten. So interesting to hear about Bill’s Christian faith he seems very contented with his life now. I had a crush on Mickey Finn as a teenager! It is very sad that he passed away at the age of fifty five and we all know what happened to Marc and Steve. So Bill is the only one left. He sounds very down to earth and approachable which is nice.
Hello Bill. You may not remember me. I lived few doors away from you near Marks Gate. I hope you are well.