105. ballrooms of Mars

“It’s easy to file T-Rex away as a glammed up (and out) pop monster whose singles absolutely nailed the zeitgeist for a year or three in the early 1970s, and they certainly did all that (in Britain anyway). But main man Marc Bolan could also just lay down a brilliant song – poetic, psychedelic, vaguely surreal, rather like the times, but also timeless, with Ballroom Of Mars (found on 1972’s Slider) exhibit A in this regard. Because that’s how I found it, at least a decade after the fact, wasting a day, drinking red wine so cheap the only way to make it palatable was to pour it over ice, maybe add a touch of something sweet. But the sun was shining and the company was good and … holy shit, who is this? It’s T-Rex, of course, gripped in the arms of the changeless madman. It means something.” (Philip Random)

(image source)
Advertisements

225. cosmic dancer

“Unlike many T-Rex songs, Cosmic Dancer seems to actually be about something, which is that certain something we’ve all been doing since the moment we exited the womb. Not just breathing, crying, shitting, eating … but moving in some sort of graceful accord with the cosmos. Trying to anyway. Noted as yet another T-Rex gem that I missed when it was fresh (easy to do over here in the Americas), but rather stumbled upon at least ten years after the fact, but therein lies the real magic of their sound, I think, particularly the stuff from 1971-73: it defines timelessness.” (Philip Random)

T-Rex-1971-acoustic

268. ride a white swan

“If you’re British, you’ve likely heard plenty of T-Rex in your time, maybe way too much. But over here in the Americas a track like Ride A White Swan never cracked pop radio back in the day, so it still retains the kind of freshness that turns heads, gets people nodding along, smiling, wondering, ‘Who is this?’ Like it was recorded last week, not better part of half a century ago. Still makes me smile pretty much every time I hear it, Marc Bolan’s oddly spry little ditty about skyways, sunbeams, druids and tatooed gowns. Some say it invented Glam. I ain’t arguing.” (Philip Random)

T-Rex-1970-promo

607. Telegram Sam

“I did hear Telegram Sam at least once way back when, and my immediate teeny bop take was, ‘this sounds exactly like that other T-Rex song‘. And I was right. But ultimately, wrong. Because what I was really referring to was T-Rex‘s groovy, funky, rockin’ one in a trillion sound. Which I didn’t really get for at least another decade, which is when Bauhaus’s rather raucous take on Telegram Sam nudged me into paying attention again. Pop for the ages, glamorous and forever cool.” (Philip Random)

T-Rex-crowd-1972

646. King of the Rumbling Spires

Apparently this is the first time Marc Bolan really rocked out on record. The band was still called Tyrannosaurus Rex at the time, and despite the name, a comparatively lightweight outfit – too much flowers and fine herbs, not enough thunder and rumbling. But that had to change. The 1970s were looming, the acid was wearing off, the hippie dream was much further away than it had previously seemed. Maybe it had never been there at all. Just another storybook fantasy.

TyrannosaurusREX-1969

678. the slider

“It seems that Motron and I are still arguing T-Rex . Electric Warrior (me) versus The Slider (him). And he’s not exactly losing with the title track, which, as with pretty much all T-Rexian gems, doesn’t make much sense lyrically until you decide it’s like those warnings you used to get on porn-films: completely concerned with sex. In other words, it was miles over my head when it was new. And so was I for that matter, glam being a strange and necessary thing to find lurking in the pubertal suburbs of the early 70s.” (Philip Random)

T-Rex-1972-2

1045. Debora

Way back when in 1968, T-Rex was still known as Tyrannosaurus Rex and Mark Bolan was pretty much a complete unknown prone to spilling his cosmic hippie soul (and related poetry) all over the place, which made for some great records even if, sadly, Debora probably wasn’t even listening.

(photo: Ray Stevenson)

1090. life’s a gas

T-Rex from the peak of their almost absurd success (in Britain anyway where they had no less than eleven top ten hits in less than four years; over here in the Americas, they barely had one). And anyway, Life’s A Gas was only ever a b-side, and an album cut, which is perhaps more important. Because, it speaks to the depth of what Marc Bolan had going at the time of Electric Warrior. The only thing cooler at the time was Bowie.