With every Rock Hall induction class, there always seems to be one surprise, and for 2020, the choice would have to be T. Rex.
The folk/psychedelic outfit (originally called Tyrannosaurus Rex) turned glam pioneers led by Marc Bolan never really took off in the United States, but they were massively successful in their native U.K. and have been cited as a strong influence by notable acts including the Ramones, R.E.M., the New York Dolls, Siouxsie and the Banshees and many more.
In the U.S., they’re best known for their lone top ten hit “Bang a Gong (Get It On),” but there is far more to T. Rex than just one song. Want proof? Check out these 14 songs from T.Rex. There’s a good chance you’ve heard a few of these before but just never knew it was a T. Rex song.
“20th Century Boy”
Some of T.Rex’s best songs in their catalog are their stand-alone singles, and “20th Century Boy” might just be their best. Simply put, the track is glam perfection.
Walking the line between bouncy pop and rock, “Jeepster” was the second single from T.Rex’s breakthrough 1971 album Electric Warrior following the smash first single “Bang a Gong (Get It On).”
“Mambo Sun” is the opening track on Electric Warrior and it helps set the entire tone for the groove-laden album.
“Metal Guru” is the opening track on 1972’s The Slider and it signals that T.Rex’s follow-up to Electric Warrior more than doubles-down on all of the glam fun.
“Children of the Revolution”
A stand-alone single released following The Slider, “Children of the Revolution” was notably covered by U2’s Bono, Gavin Friday and Maurice Seezer for the 2001 film Moulin Rouge!
Another stand-alone single, “Hot Love” was released in 1971 before Electric Warrior. The video below shows T. Rex performing the song on U.K.’s Top of the Pops with Marc Bolan wearing glitter makeup. This moment is often referenced as the start of the ’70s glam rock explosion. This song would become T.Rex’s first number one song in the U.K.
“Telegram Sam” was the first single off of The Slider and would become T.Rex’s third number one in the U.K.
“Dandy in the Underworld”
The title track from T.Rex’s 1977 album and final LP while Marc Bolan was alive, “Dandy in the Underworld” was a return to form for the band after struggling creatively on their previous three albums 1974’s Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow and Bolan’s Zip Gun and 1975’s Futuristic Dragon.
The lone single from 1974’s Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow, “Teenage Dream” features (pun intended) dreamy backing vocals on the chorus. Among the backing vocalists was Gloria Jones, best known for the 1965 hit “Tainted Love.” Jones and Bolan would soon begin a relationship that would yield a son, Rolan, in 1975. Sadly, Jones was driving the car during the tragic accident that would kill Bolan on September 16, 1977 at the age of 29.
“Groove A Little”
If you didn’t know “Groove A Little” was featured on Dandy In The Underworld, it could easily be mistaken for a track off of Electric Warrior thanks to it’s simplistic, bouncy melody.
An underrated track from The Slider, “Chariot Choogle” is what the theme from Jaws would sound like if it were a glam rock song.
“Ride a White Swan”
“Ride a White Swan” was the first track released under the name T. Rex and not their original name Tyrannosaurus Rex. Cited as one of the first glam rock songs, the stand-alone single still has one foot very much in the folk genre, but it definitely was a signal of the change that was to come.
So sleek it appropriately slides easily into anyone’s ears, “The Slider” was recorded in the famed Paris recording studio Château d’Hérouville on the recommendation of Elton John who recorded some of his biggest albums there including Honky Château, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
While T.Rex’s influence is often cited for their glam work, their early folk catalog definitely deserves some recognition, especially their first single “Debora.” Notably, the song appeared in the 2017 film Baby Driver and on its corresponding soundtrack.
GALLERY: Classic Images of Marc Bolan