Wednesday, August 17, 2011

T. Rex: Bang A Gong (Get It On)

In their native UK, T. Rex (formerly known as Tyrannosaurus Rex) had 17 Top 40 hits. Four of their recordings peaked at the top spot and four landed at number two. Across the Irish Sea, T Rex garnished 10 Top 40 hits that included six number one records. In North America, their success was limited to one Top 40 hit. “Bang a Gong (Get it On)” charted at 10 in the US and 12 in Canada. That was it for T Rex.

The 1971 album release of “Electric Warrior,” however, was not the band’s most popular US album release. That honor falls to the 1972 follow-up, “The Slider” which charted at #17. “Electric Warrior,” hit single and all, only peaked at #32. It’s been a while since I listened to this LP, but I had done “Bang a Gong” in several bands in the 80s after the Power Station covered the song. My interpretation was more like the Marc Bolan’s original.

I only have three of the band’s LPs – “Electric Warrior,” “A Beard of Stars,” and “T. Rex.” The unique depiction of Bolan playing his Les Paul in front of a Marshall stack with an extruded glow was designed by Hipgnosis. The art group designed nearly 200 covers and is probably best known for their work on nearly all of the Pink Floyd albums.

By the way, the saxophone on this track was provided by Ian McDonald formerly of King Crimson, McDonald and Giles, and Foreigner.

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