#188: Electric Warrior, T. Rex
I searched my memory for references to T. Rex (I knew I’d heard of them before) and all I could come up with was the reference in Baby Driver, where Baby calls them “Trex.” Hey, come to think of it, that actually doesn’t make any sense. Did he not see the period in the name? Had he never heard of the Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur?
In any case, T. Rex was a big deal at one point — their Wikipedia page says that they rivaled the Beatles in popularity, at least in the UK. Their frontman and charismatic driving force was Marc Bolan, who pretty much did all the writing and was the only constant member.
Bolan is a member of the Almost 27 Club, and died in ’77 at age 29 in a car crash. Creepy fact: He pretty much foretold his own death, and never learned to drive because he was afraid of dying in a car crash. Another fact: His girlfriend, who was driving at the time of his death, was Gloria Jones, who recorded the original version of “Tainted Love.” (You may know the Soft Cell cover better.)
T. Rex were only together for ten years before Bolan’s death, but man, they were prolific. They put out twelve whole albums. My favorite album title is actually their debut: My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair… But Now They’re Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows. Seriously, the cajones of that guy, to name his album such a long thing. Who did he think he was, Fiona Apple?
Finally, I think it’s always worth noting when an album cover is awesome, and this is an awesome cover. I assumed that it was way more recent than 1971 based on this cover.
“Mambo Sun” — Maybe it’s just the quality of Bolan’s voice, or maybe it’s the weird effects in the background, but this just feels so proto-indie to me.
“Cosmic Dancer” — I danced myself right out the womb/Is it strange to dance so soon? Not if you’re Marc Bolan!
“Jeepster” — He’s literally stomping on the ground here. I’m just a Jeepster for your love! All these car references are kind of creepy.
“Monolith” — The wowwow guitar always just gets me.
“Lean Woman Blues” — One two buckle my shoe. If you know anything about me, you know I love a lovelorn blues song that starts with a fun little nursery rhyme.
“Bang a Gong (Get It On)” — I cannot get enough of this one. Fun fact, this was retitled in the US — it was just called “Get It On” originally. They did that to avoid confusion with a song of the same name by Chase. Ever heard of Chase? Didn’t think so. (No disrespect to Chase.)
“Planet Queen” — Gee, he really did love cars.
“Girl” — Love these anarchical horn sections at the end of pretty acoustic songs.
“The Motivator” — I can’t be the only T. Rex listener who feels like all these songs were written just for me. I’m blushing.
“Rip Off” — Chaos!
LEAST FAVORITE SONGS:
“Life’s a Gas” — Maybe I’m just turned off by this one’s title.
IS RS FULL OF IT?
Not this time! Consider me a Trex fan now.