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"Bang a gong"

#17 Get It On – T. Rex

[302] Writer: Marc Bolan. Producer: Tony Visconti.
10 Jul 71 – 13 weeks on chart – #1 for 4 weeks from 24 Jul 71

The second #1 single for T. Rex , following their previous single, ‘Hot Love’ to the top, just four number ones later.

Marc Bolan was born Mark Feld in 1947. He worked as a model and was a member of flower power group John’s Children, before forming Tyrannosaurus Rex with Steve Peregrin Took. Their first album glorified in the fabulous title, ‘My People Were Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair, But Now They’re Content To Wear Stars On Their Brows’. It had sleeve notes by John Peel, no less. They released three or four albums up until 1969, but they weren’t setting the world on fire. The biggest of their three singles hits had made #28. Then, in 1970, Took left, to be replaced by Micky Finn. They shortened the name to a brand of cooking fat, went electric and hey presto! A #2 hit with ‘Ride A White Swan’. The Beatles had just split up and T. rex partly inherited their teenybopper audience. ‘Hot Love’ followed and made #1. ‘Get It On’ came next, with an expanded band line-up on the #1 album ‘Electric Warrior’. It became their only major hit (#10) in the States, renamed ‘Bang A Gong’ because the original title was too rude for Americans, who don’t have sex.

In the UK, ‘Get It On’ entered at #21, climbed to #4 knocked off ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ the next week. Middle Of The Road had spent five weeks at #1, proving that people bought any old shite in the early seventies. Diana Ross replaced T. Rex, with ‘I’m Still Waiting’.

T. Rex had four UK #1s in total. Their last top ten single was in June 1973. A remix of ‘Get It On’ made #54v in 1987, and it also charted at #59 as a dance track, credited to ‘Bus Stop featuring T. Rex’.
Their most memorable hit in recent years though came when ‘20th Century Boy’, originally #3 in 1973, was used in a Levi’s advert and made #13 in 1991.

Marc died in a car crash on 16 September 1977, and his son really is called Rolan Bolan.

‘Get It On’ is Dipti’s #1 single and Martin H’s #9; “Marc Bolan is my fave glam rock star.” It’s Rob’s #9 too; “School days.”

Triv: Producer Tony Visconti also worked with Bowie in the early days and has just gone back to him, producing the ‘Heathen’ album.

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