Today is the 40th anniversary of T. Rex's "Bang A Gong (Get It On)" reaching the top of the UK charts. It starts with the nasty, funky, slinky bass line, more sex than music, and it soon turns into one the most influential and decadent songs to come from the original glam era. And somehow, it never gets too loud or too fast.
"Bang a Gong" stays in the same gear for most of its four and half minutes, except for the part where all the instruments - horns, bongos, bass, guitar, piano, and Marc Bolan's velvet voice - rip into an imaginary pair of glittery hot pants.
For some it's the only T. Rex song they may know, or have heard. For rabid T. Rex fans, who number in the millions even 34 years after Bolan's death in 1977, it's just another jewel in the man's heavy rock crown.
Truth be told, our favorite T. Rex song is "20th Century Boy," which still gives us the shivers, with that opening (damn Bolan was good at intros) signaling something enthralling and manly about to happen, even when videos of the band show them in silver platform boots and copious amounts of fringe.
T. Rex remains one of those bands that is sorely underrated (in the States, at least) because Hurricane David Bowie existed at the same time, sadly and amazingly, and the rest of the world was still mired in brown, drab hippiedom and not the revved-up pseudo-rockabilly that Bolan and company were dishing out daily.
Which isn't to say we don't adore Bowie, but we could trust a daughter with Bowie, not so much with Bolan. He had that gleam in his eyes and that glam-afro...
If you were to lay a Bowie record, say Hunky Dory, on a table and a T. Rex record down, let's go with Electric Warrior, and to ask us which one we had to listen to every day for the rest of our lives, we would go with Warrior. We could make screw, fight, drink, drive, and give away our first-born daughter to Warrior. Hunky is cool, but Warrior has "Jeepster" on it, and we once switched "jeepster" for "Craigster" and it sounded nice.
Some people would say that The Slider is Bolan's best, but they are all awesome, even later ones like Zinc Alloy and Bolan's Zip-Gun. This weekend, Roky Moon & BOLT! debut their new album American Honey, and we can tell from repeated listenings, that they have more than a little T. Rex on this disc, maybe moreso than ever.
We had a dream a few weeks ago that Jack White and Marc Bolan made a record together. White is very indebted to Bolan, just listen to everything he has done the best decade and a half. Bolan's production sense, that thing in his sound that makes your hips move when you hear "Mambo Sun."
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We made a quick T. Rex primer for you if aren't already hip to them. If you are already dear fans, then this will just be like a chocolaty, sweet afternoon snack until you go home and crack open your record collection.