It was 1967, and Marc Bolan figured his English psychedelic folk band, Tyrannosaurus Rex, would find an audience, but one thing was really missing from the equation: an electric sound. In 1970, the band changed their name to T. Rex, found an amp, plugged in, and got crazy.
Their first single under T. Rex was “Ride a White Swan,” which as you might guess is a perfect title for those who wanted to trip a bit while enjoying their music. While the Beatles were a polished, poppy lightning success, T. Rex saw success from more of a glamorous presentation. What we now know as Glam Rock.
In the UK, T Rex were just as big as the Beatles. From a stretch of 1970 to 73, eleven singles from the band entered the UK Top 10. Four of those singles were number one hits, including the most popular track to make its’ way to the United States, Bang a Gong (Get It On). The band was on a roll, producing three records in just three years, on track to continue releasing one album a year.
Around 73, things started to tank for the band. As they toyed a bit with the sound and flow of their albums, members seemingly started quitting the band, even during recording of albums. Then producers left. Success soon left, too.
In 1977, things began to look up for Marc Bolan and what was left of the group. He began making new music that resonated with fans, began small tours, slimmed down to a version of his younger self, and talked about reuniting with old band members and producers.
One fateful evening in September ‘77 brought Bolan’s life to an end when the car driven by his girlfriend Gloria crashed into a tree, two weeks before Marc’s 33rd birthday.
To this day, a multitude of punk and glam rockers credit T. Rex as an influence, though the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has not. T. Rex has yet to be inducted into the rock hall, likely because of their limited success in the US. But the fans do a vote now, so when the time is right, perhaps cast yours for glam rock royalty.