‘Telegram Sam’: Remember Purple Pie Pete? T. Rex Did

Marc Bolan sang about the character, and Golden Nose Slim and Jungle Faced Jake, in the glamrock classic ‘Telegram Sam.’

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T Rex Telegram Sam

Today’s trivia question: who were Golden Nose Slim, Purple Pie Pete and Jungle Faced Jake? They were part of the lyric on the UK’s favourite song of February 5, 1972, when Marc Bolan sang about them in T. Rex’s new No.1 “Telegram Sam.”

The previous 12 months had been a whirlwind for the group, with two chart-topping singles in 1971 with “Hot Love” and “Get It On,” and two more No.2s in “Ride A White Swan” and “Jeepster.” In the November, Electric Warrior had become T. Rex’s first No.1 album in the UK, but with Bolanmania raging through Britain, the new year called for a new single.

When word got out that it was a fresh track, not yet on any album, demand went sky high. It was also the band’s first single to appear not on Fly (or Regal Zonophone before that), but on the T. Rex label that Bolan had started himself.

A double No.1

“Telegram Sam” went straight at No.3 and then, on the first chart of February, spent the first of two weeks at the top. Later in the year, the song appeared on the album The Slider. Meanwhile, there was double cause for celebration, because in the same chart week that “Sam” hit No.1, Electric Warrior returned to the album summit.

As producer Tony Visconti remembered in his autobiography Bowie, Bolan & the Brooklyn Boy: “In early 1972, T. Rexstasy reached new heights, with Marc the centre of just about everyone’s attention, with page after page of the UK pop press devoted to his antics, his thoughts and his image.” Bolan even sang about himself on the new No.1, with its line “I ain’t no square with my corkscrew hair.”

Follow the 70s playlist for more classic songs from the decade.

Format: Union Jack flagUK English


  1. Nathan

    February 5, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    YES I remember Telegram Sam

  2. roger

    February 6, 2015 at 9:31 am

    I was a fan of bolan way back in 1969, I bought the albums ,went to the gigs.when ride a white swan came out I was ok,bought electric warrior. but after telegram sam, I thought they went a bit stale.still listen to them though

  3. Les Skinner

    February 6, 2015 at 2:39 pm


  4. chris

    February 26, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Bolan was more lyrically creative pre-1970, but still brilliant until his death.

  5. Tony Rogers

    February 5, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    On a school trip to the Blue John mines in Derbyshire, we stopped off in Buxton, where I bought Telegram Sam. Great memories, great music. So, so long ago, but the brilliant music lives on, and ALWAYS will.

  6. Rob Naylor

    February 6, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    44 years ago, it seems like it was only a few years ago. Loved it then, still love it now.

  7. Nobby

    August 19, 2016 at 2:10 am

    Purple pie pete is B.P. Fallon?

  8. hippy pete

    August 19, 2016 at 9:14 am

    ya but tranasoraus rex album

  9. Hanginon

    August 19, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Tomorrow’s trivia question: Why didn’t we answer yesterday’s question?

  10. Maggie

    August 19, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    I still have the vinyl single…..

    • Richard Grant

      February 6, 2020 at 9:32 pm

      So do I

  11. Yoerc ♪♪

    February 5, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Oh ja, das war eine verdammt schöne Zeit. ♪♪

  12. bulldogboy

    February 6, 2020 at 3:48 am

    Back then…Telegram Sam was my main man!

  13. Tex

    June 6, 2021 at 9:12 am

    TS= tony secunda
    Golden nose slim= jimmy saville.

    Purple pie pie =john peel or BP Fallon.


    “heroes” is a autobiographical bowie/bolancomposition.

    Bolan was boston brakes.

    June child= “handler”
    Visconti the same.

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