Today would have been [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]T. Rex[/lastfm] frontman [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Marc Bolan[/lastfm]’s 64th birthday.
Jack FM fun fact #137: We once played in a T. Rex tribute band called Triceratops, or Tri-Tops for short.
Some say they were responsible for the glam rock movement.
After working as a teen model, Marc Bolan decided to change careers and pursue his true calling: music. In 1967, he formed the folk-rock duo, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Tyrannosaurus Rex[/lastfm]. Between 1968 and 1970, they released four albums and were somewhat successful in their native U.K.
In 1970 at the urging of a producer, Marc shortened the band’s name to T. Rex and released the single, “Ride a White Swan” in October of that year. Moving from an acoustic to a more electric sound, “Ride a White Swan” became T. Rex’s first hit, peaking at #2 on the U.K. Singles chart. The album, T. Rex, came two months later.
1971 brought T. Rex international recognition. The single, “Hot Love,” went to #1 in Europe following the band’s memorable appearance on the British TV show, Top of the Pops. With Marc Bolan’s androgynous clothing and face glitter, many critics considered this to be the birth of glam rock. However, fans from the band’s early folk-rock days were outraged by the new image and sound and labeled Marc a “sell-out.”
But the naysayers couldn’t keep T. Rex down. In September ’71, they released their most commercially successful album, Electric Warrior. The album was also T. Rex’s breakthrough in the States, peaking at #32 on the Billboard 200. Electric Warrior produced two hit singles, “Jeepster” and “Bang a Gong (Get It On),” which is Jack’s Song of the Day. The latter went to #10 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 and was T. Rex’s biggest and only hit in the U.S.
T. Rex’s streak on the charts continued with their next two albums, 1972’s The Slider and 1973’s Tanx. But by ’74, things began changing. The band’s popularity was starting to fade, and each subsequent release sold fewer and fewer copies. After taking some time to regroup, Marc Bolan and T. Rex returned in March 1977 with Dandy in the Underworld. It reached #26 in the U.K., becoming their highest-charting album in nearly three years. Fans regarded Dandy in the Underworld as the band’s comeback, and critics praised Marc for his songwriting and singing.
Sadly, Dandy in the Underworld would be T. Rex’s last album. On September 16, 1977, Marc Bolan and his girlfriend, Gloria Jones, were returning home after a night out when she lost control of their car and slammed into a tree. While Gloria suffered a broken arm and jaw, Marc was instantly killed in the crash, just two weeks shy of his 30th birthday.
Here’s T. Rex performing their hit, “Hot Love.” And remember, if you experience any “hot love,” Jack FM advises you to see a doctor pronto. Trust us, we know from experience…
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