Top 10 T. Rex Songs
Marc Bolan left us way too soon, killed in a car accident just a couple weeks shy of his 30th birthday leaving us to wonder what might have been. We tip our top hat to the electric warrior with this list of the Top 10 T. Rex Songs. From his early '60s adventures rolling down a Dylan-inspired folk path, through his time with pop art rockers John's Children, Bolan eventually found his own unique voice with Tyrannosaurus Rex, a folk-hippie duo who would eventually morph into the electric fire that was T. Rex. Essentially launching the glam rock scene in the U.K., T. Rex has inspired countless rock and rollers over the years and Bolan remains a true rock and roll legend. So let's get it on, bang a gong and count down the Top 10 T. Rex Songs.
As one of the highlights of T. Rex's breakthrough album, Electric Warrior, "Jeepster" provides a great example of what you might call the "T. Rex Sound." This gem carries the original spirit of '50s rock and roll smiling and strutting into the '70s and capturing the era perfectly. Released as a single in late 1971, it shot to No. 2 on the British charts and helped solidify Bolan's place in the rock 'n' roll spotlight of the new era.
Actually released while still flying under the Tyrannosaurs Rex moniker, this song is a must for the T. Rex Top 10 Songs as it was in some ways the blueprint for what the band's sound would become. Acoustic guitars were pushed to the back of the line to make room for some searing Les Paul grit. Pounding drums also helped Bolan in his first foray into a full-on band sound. The surging groove of the song gives us the sound of 1972 in 1969.
The lazy, hazy slither of "Cosmic Dancer" is one of Marc Bolan's secret weapons. He can pull out that mood and seduce the listener immediately. "Cosmic Dancer" is a great example of that side of his writing, and one of many highlights on Electric Warrior. Though there are many highlights on that album, the production work of Tony Visconti on the track is simply perfect.
"Ride a White Swan" is, in many ways, where the hit-bound Marc Bolan story starts. A whimsical folk ditty, all dolled up with Bolan poetry and attitude, "Ride a White Swan" is a perfect bridge between the acoustic and the electric styles of the band. Released in the fall of 1970, it hit the top 40 in the U.K., eventually reaching No.2 in early 1971. "Swan," along with its follow-up, "Hot Love," kicked of the golden era of T. Rex and glam rock.
"The Slider" is a must for the T. Rex Top 10 Songs. The stone solid bump-n-grind groove moves this one along! Proudly drenched in sex as it moves and grooves, the title track from the 1972 classic is about as good as it gets in this style. The percussive use of strings only adds magic to the T. Rex sound, while the always spot on back up vocals of Flo & Eddie, a.k.a. Howard Kaylan and Marc Volman of the Turtles, add the perfect cream filling.
Another in a string of hits in the UK for T. Rex, this non-LP track is one of Marc Bolan's best. Released in the fall of 1972, it's almost militaristic rhythm and chunky, gritty guitar riff has an anthemic quality about it. The song was featured prominently in the 1972 film Born to Boogie with special guest Elton John on piano. Just missing the No. 1 spot, this beauty was covered by the Violent Femmes in 1986, and has only gained notoriety, and fans, over the years.
"20th Century Boy" fits perfectly in the T. Rex Top 10 Songs, as it was one of the loudest, most grooving singles T. Rex ever released. With a riff that knocks down all in its path, the song's urgency and passion is second to none in the Marc Bolan catalog. Pure unadulterated loud rock and roll, and you guessed it, another huge hit in England, making No. 3. Though nary a blip on the radar in America, the song was memorably brought back to life in a 2002 Mitsubishi commercial.
The first single released from The Slider, and the third No.1 U.K. hit for T. Rex, "Telegram Sam" is prime bump-n-grind rock 'n' roll action. The biting guitar riff sears the brain as the feet get moving. Marc Bolan's come hither vocals pull you into the raunch and roll all the way! The song was covered in the '80s by goth heroes Bauhaus, who gave it their own unique twist and took the song into the charts once again.
The kickoff song to The Slider, which many consider Marc Bolan's finest album, "Metal Guru" is first-class T. Rex. The sexy strut and swagger of the song is instantly captivating. The track provides more of Bolan's surreal meets bubblegum lyrics that helped define his unique style. Tony Visconti's flawless production was never better than it was on The Slider. Another No. 1 hit for T. Rex, "Metal Guru" is as perfect a pop record as you can find.
"Get It On" (as it was called in the U.K.) or "Bang a Gong" (like it was titled in the U.S.) is the definitive T. Rex classic. In three-and-a-half minutes, Marc Bolan and company establish the mood, decor, and fireworks of this great glam rock ride he was about to take us on. With piano courtesy of a pre-Yes Rick Wakeman, and sax delivered by Ian McDonald of King Crimson, "Bang a Gong" became a sensation. A year before Ziggy Stardust, the man with the corkscrew hair was laying his cards on the table. Sadly, this would be T. Rex's sole U.S. hit.