T. Rex Get it On With ‘Bang a Gong’

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T Rex Bang a Gong sleeveThe pioneering glam rock band T. Rex (originally Tyrannosaurus Rex) could do no wrong in their native England. From 1970 to 1973, they had an astonishing ten Top 5 singles, including four #1’s. (Yes, you read that right.) The band was formed in 1967 by guitarist Marc Bolan, who was not quite 20 years-old at the time, and he teamed with producer Tony Visconti to shape the group’s records, a relationship that would continue for eight albums.

bang-a-gong-and-get-it-on.jpgIn 1971, their British label, Fly, released “Get It On” and it became the band’s second consecutive #1 chart hit on July 24. Their U.S. record label changed the name of the song to “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” to avoid confusion with a song also called “Get It On” which was released that same year by a jazz rock band named Chase.

American radio programmers never warmed to the band. Only four of their singles even made the pop charts and “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” peaked at just #10. It’s one of those cases where the song simply took on a life of its own it years later and became to be appreciated only well after it was released.

T. Rex’s British label released over a dozen more singles and their Top 5 string continued. But in the U.S., the influential band was essentially “one and done” on the pop charts. 1973’s terrific “20th Century Boy” never even charted in America.

On September 16, 1977, just two weeks shy of his 30th birthday, Bolan – who never learned to drive – was a passenger in a car driven by his girlfriend, the American singer Gloria Jones, after a night out. The vehicle crashed, killing Bolan. Many prominent classic rock giants attended his funeral including Visconti, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart and Les Paul.

Just try to not tap your foot while watching our Classic Video. We’ve done extensive testing and we’ve determined that it’s impossible not to…

Bolan was born September 30, 1947. Of his bandmates from what is considered their core era of 1970-1973, bass guitarist Steve Currie died in 1981, also in a car crash; and percussionist Mickey Finn died in 2003. Drummer Bill Legend is the sole surviving member.

T. Rex will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020. Bolan and the band are the subject of new tribute album, Angelheaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T. Rex, with 26 songs performed by such artists as U2 feat. Elton John, Joan Jett, Todd Rundgren, Perry Farrell, and more.

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  1. Billy K.
    #1 Billy K. 20 May, 2018, 12:55

    Didn’t “Telegram Sam” chart in the USA? I remember it got airplay, back in the day.
    So, it should be at least two US hits for them.

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  2. Kais77
    #2 Kais77 26 July, 2020, 10:20

    The awesome and great Marc Bolan! I’ve had a question for a long time.Ive seen a live version of T Rex doing “ Get it on” and if I’m not mistaken, the keyboards were being tickled by none other than Elton John! Can anyone confirm that??

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