Monday, June 01, 2009

Number 389 - T Rex


Number 389

T. Rex

"Bang A Gong (Get It On)"

(1971)
.
.
................Genre: Glam Rock...............
So instantly recognisable this song, it is amazing Rolling Stone magazine forgot it while tripping over it [surely] when they compiled their "Top 500". So how did they miss this classic?
First of all we have to look for clues in the following places: Rolling Stone magazine's website, drawers in their office, cellphone txt's or just plain doodling on their toilet walls ... whatever it takes! First clue is they only make mention of T.Rex in their "Top 500 Albums" but its just the one entry @ #160, which is fairly high, so i can eliminate the theory they have never heard of T.Rex. After surfing their website, i discovered oodle upon stroodles of pages devoted to Marc Bolan & T. Rex, which rules out the theory that they didn't think he was an obscure one hit wonder Britt.
I even disguised myself as a janitor working late at night at 1290 Avenue of the Americas address in NY, but i cannot tell you what i discovered in those drawers in the main office, after all, this is a family site. But dear oh dear. But, i can tell you their toilets are 100% spotless! Not one tag or sharpie marker quote on the wall ... not even an exit sign on the door.
My last theory is the "Adam Lambert Theory", surely Wikipedia can put me straight ... er, correct, i mean. But alas, even that theory is quashed as Marc Bolan was a happily married man having an affair, as all happily married men do. So it leaves one last avenue of quest, ask Rolling Stone directly, why he was not included in their 'Top 500"? [I will let you if they ever reply, which i doubt for obvious reasons, breaking and entering is one].
The album that essentially kick-started the U.K. glam rock craze, Electric Warrior completes T. Rex's transformation from hippie folk-rockers into flamboyant avatars of trashy rock & roll. There are a few vestiges of those early days remaining in the acoustic-driven ballads, but Electric Warrior spends most of its time in a swinging, hip-shaking groove powered by Marc Bolan's warm electric guitar. The music recalls not just the catchy simplicity of early rock & roll, but also the implicit sexuality -- except that here, Bolan gleefully hauls it to the surface, singing out loud what was once only communicated through the shimmying beat. He takes obvious delight in turning teenage bubblegum rock into campy sleaze, not to mention filling it with pseudo-psychedelic hippie poetry. In fact, Bolan sounds just as obsessed with the heavens as he does with sex, whether he's singing about spiritual mysticism or begging a flying saucer to take him away.
Oddly, he had a phobia of driving cars, but died as a passenger
It's all done with the same theatrical flair, but Tony Visconti's spacious, echoing production makes it surprisingly convincing. Still, the real reason Electric Warrior stands the test of time so well -- despite its intended disposability -- is that it revels so freely in its own absurdity and willful lack of substance. Not taking himself at all seriously, Bolan is free to pursue whatever silly wordplay, cosmic fantasies, or non sequitur imagery he feels like; his abandonment of any pretense to art becomes, ironically, a statement in itself. Bolan's lack of pomposity, back-to-basics songwriting, and elaborate theatrics went on to influence everything from hard rock to punk to new wave. But in the end, it's that sense of playfulness, combined with a raft of irresistible hooks, that keeps Electric Warrior such an infectious, invigorating listen today. ~ [Steve Huey, All Music Guide]
The Influence of "Get It On"
30.09.47 to 16.09.77
Bolan claims to have written the song out of his desire to record Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie", and says that the riff is taken from the Berry song. In fact, a line (And meanwhile, I'm still thinking) of "Little Queenie" is said at the fade of "Get It On". Numerous artists have copied the song's main riff, notably the band Oasis, who used a very similar riff from "Get It On" on their single "Cigarettes & Alcohol". The band AC/DC (whose Malcolm Young was a Bolan fan) used a similar sounding riff on their album track "High Voltage" in 1975. Prince also used a similar riff on his U.S. chart-topper "Cream". "Cactus" by the Pixies uses a very similar riff, this was later covered by David Bowie who was along with Marc Bolan one of the defining musicians of the glam rock movement. The 1974 Rolling Stones song, "It's Only Rock'n Roll (But I Like It)" also uses a similarly styled riff. A close but not exact rendition can be found on KISS' 1976 classic "Mr. Speed" from their Rock and Roll Over album. Very admittedly, Def Leppard used the riff on their 1988 single "Armageddon It". The tone and production of the song is more similar to the Power Station version. Def Leppard has also covered "Get It On" numerous times live as well as covering 20th Century Boy on their album Yeah!. ~ [Source: Wikipedia]
For Chuck Berry see Number 783
For Oasis see Number 574
For AC/DC see Number 552
For Prince see Number 812 & MM Vol 1 #136
For David Bowie see Number 390, #455, #465, #495, #513 [w Queen] & #634
For Rolling Stones see Number 396, #689 & #767
For Kiss see Number 733
For Power Station see Number 893
and where the hell is Def Leppard in this countdown???
What does RS think of T.Rex?
With his Botticelli face and curls and whimsically glamorous image, Marc Bolan fronted T. Rex, a British group that generated a fan hysteria reminiscent of Beatlemania and produced 11 successive U.K. Top 10 hits between 1970 and 1974. Among these were "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" (#1), "Jeepster" (#2), and "Telegram Sam" (#1). But while T. Rex could not hardly duplicate its British success in America (where its sole major hit was the Top 10 smash "Bang a Gong") the group's heavy guitar sound has had an enduring influence and can be heard in songs such as Love and Rockets’ “I’m Alive” and groups like the Soup Dragons. ~ [Source: from The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll ~ Simon & Schuster, 2001]
Ah, I get it know, America just didn't dig T.Rex! OK, that makes sense now, with RS being American and this is why he never made the "500" OR got a cover on the Rolling Stone. [Light bulb animation needed] ~ crowbarred "Lord of the DOH"
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '389th Song of all Time' was "Just My Imagination" by The Temptations.have appeared in The Definitive 1000 of All Time @ #601 & #819.
Other songs with reference to T.Rex #390, #457, #512, #541, #574, #823, #947
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (Would you believe we forgot this song?) and the Album ranked at Number 160
This song has a total Definitive rating of 79.3 out of 108
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

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