T. Rex was a rock and roll comet that graced earth and left behind a new rock style and inspired generations of musicians.
Marc Bolan and Steve Peregrin Took began the group as psychedelic folk-rock with elements of eastern music, baroque songs, and fantasy stories. In 1970 Bolan teamed with drummer Mickey Finn and producer Tony Visconti to record “Ride a White Swan,” which is now considered the musical herald that ushered in the birth of Glam Rock.
The next release was a full length self-titled album that experimented with electronics and rock sounds on songs like “The Wizard.” They added bass player Steve Currie and drummer Bill Legend and made Electric Warrior, and glam rock diamond that changed the world of rock. The music kept the underpinning of folk-rock and psychedelia, but added an undeniable guitar crunch, pulsing rockabilly rhythms, and pop vocals. “Jeepster” is a power cord romp, “Cosmic Dancer” a space journey ballad, and “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” an anthem for the ages.
Between 1971 and 1977 the band stayed aggressively creative by releasing at least one album per year. Bolan’s tragic death on September 16, 1977, put an end to the band, but their music went on to influence countless musicians and styles that include post-punk, new wave, indie, and alternative rock. Artists including the New York Dolls and KISS took the style of Bolan to the next level and created new musical scenes. Bauhaus toughened up “Telegram Sam” into a gothic explosion and the rock & roll supergroup the Power Station had a top ten hit with “Bang a Gong” in 1985, bringing the music of T. Rex to the MTV generation.
T. Rex is name checked in the lyrics of songs by Bowie, The Who, and the Ramones, featured in film soundtracks, and referenced in novels: their presence in popular culture is everywhere.
“Ride a White Swan” (1970) • “Hot Love” (1971) • “The Wizard” T. Rex (1971) • “Bang a Gong (Get it On),” “Jeepster,” “Cosmic Dancer” Electric Warrior (1971) • “Children Of The Revolution” (1972) • “Telegram Sam,” “Metal Guru” The Slider (1972) • “Life is Strange” Tanx (1973) • “20th Century Boy” (1973) • “Teenage Dream” Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow (1973) • “Light of Love” Light of Love (1974) • “Calling All Destroyers” Futuristic Dragon (1976) • “I Love To Boogie” Dandy In the Underworld (1977)