T. Rex: 45 Years Ago, Rock Music Changed Forever

imagesIn 1968 an event took place which changed rock music very much for the better. Marc Bolan and Steve Peregrin Took released the then Tyrannosaurus Rex’s debut album My People Were Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair…But Now They’re Content To Wear Stars On Their Brows. This album launched a band that at one point during their careers, in 1972, were selling 100,000 units a day. That, even to this day, seems unimaginable. This version of the band, a psychedelic duo, recorded four albums and flirted with success and on occasion even landed on the top 40 charts. The band took off with the release of the single Ride a White Swan which peaked at number two in the U.K. This began a dizzying journey that lasted until the untimely death of the band’s linchpin member, Marc Bolan, in a car crash on September 16, 1977 at the age of 29.

The list of wonderful songs released by this band is far too lengthy to even begin to dissect, but suffice it to say that no one who listens to any classic rock FM station is not familiar with such staples as Metal Guru, Get it On (Bang a Gong) or Telegram Sam. None of us have not been driving, or at a party, or simply relaxing at home and not been swept away in the moment of a Marc Bolan riff, lyrics that conjure up images of planet queens, raw ramps, rabbit fighters and sliders, orchestration that is rarely, if ever, equaled and background vocals that we could listen to forever. There was a magic to this music that guarantees it to live on infinitum. Rarely has such talent blessed us with the sound that T. Rex possessed. A blend of blues, rock, pop, ballad and funk that few can even come close to replicating. They were able to take us on forays outside of our mundane lives and inject fun and joy into our days. They allowed us to want to sing at the top of our lungs and revel in the sheer delight that only great rock and roll can do. This was truly great rock and roll, and Marc Bolan was a truly great rock and roll star.

I count my blessings to think that in my youth I got to see T. Rex open for Three Dog Night in 1973 with my best friend at the time. We had spent so much time endlessly spinning The Slider and Electric Warrior that when the opportunity presented itself we filled our packsacks and hitchhiked the 200 miles to go see our god, Bolan. The show wasn’t spectacular, the sound was not up to par for the cavernous stadium from where they were staged, but that did not matter. We saw him, we heard him, we were in his presence for 90 minutes, and that was all that mattered. We had seen Marc Bolan in the flesh and it just seemed that all was right with the world and it would always remain that way. It still brings a smile to my face to think of the look on my friend’s face when Bolan took the stage and broke into his first note. It was one of those moments that will be forever frozen in time.

In closing, I would just like to thank Marc Bolan for the gift he gave to us all those long 45 years ago. He has touched us with his talent, his soul and his genius.

Although my favorite T. Rex song changes from time to time, this song always comes back to the top of my favorites list.

Sit back and enjoy what was the greatest rock and roll band of their day, and quite possibly of all time.