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Tuesday, October 05, 2004


If you were from England and were between the ages of twelve and twenty-four in 1972, you could not have been able to avoid exposure to T.Rex. Marc Bolan was everywhere, except in the U.S. Not for lack of trying though, americans just didn't get it I guess. "Bang a Gong" did manage to climb the charts, and I'm sure a good amount of americans were into T.Rex, but for the main part, T.Rextacy was largley an english phenomenon. In the late sixties, Marc Bolan and bongo player Steve Peregrine Took were clubbing around London under the name Tyranasaurus Rex to little success, but notable interest. A blend of folk and Tolkien inspired fantasy, Tyranasaurus Rex had limited commercial appeal. But appeal enough to lure producer Tony Visconti. From 1968 to 1970 Visconti produced 'My People Were Fair And Had Stars In Their Hair', 'Prophet's Seers and Sages', "Beard Of Stars', and 'T.Rex" The 'T.Rex" album marks the turning point from mystical folk to electric rock. The single 'Ride A White Swan' jumped up the UK charts, and a star was born (finally). It was at this time that Marc started to put a proper band together, dismissing Took, and replacing him with Mickey Finn, as well as adding the vocal talents of Zappa's Flo and Eddie to the mix. On the next record, 'Electric Warror' this transformation was completed with the addition of bassist and drummer Steve Curry and Bill Legend. The recording of Electric Warrior was a task in itself due to that fact that the band was now constantly touring in support of another hit single 'Hot Love'. Recorded in New York, LA, and London, 'Electric Warrior' was the breakthrough record that Marc had been so desperate for. Featuring the smash hit 'Bang a Gong (Get It On)' Electric Warrior went straight to number one in Engalnd, and managed to climb up the U.S. charts as well.

"This is the definitive T.Rex album. If you must own only one, buy this one."--Tony Visconti

The story, however does not end there. Marc Bolan and T.Rex went on to record two more stunning albums. 1972's The Slider, and 1973's Tanx. All three of these records are amazing. They define an era. The Slider would be my pick for the 'if you must only own one' award, but hey, Tony's the man. Sadly, Marc's star was on the decline by 1974's Zinc Alloy. Lost in overexposure, marc commited the common crime of believing his own hype. He gained weight, became reclusive, and though not confirmed, it is alleged that he fell victim to drug dependancy as well. Even sadder, in 1977 during the midst of a comeback, with a prime-time TV show in production, Marc died in a car crash on September 16th, 1977.

For more info on Marc Bolan/T.Rex

For more info on Tony Visconti

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