T. REX – ELECTRIC WARRIOR
Released September 24, 1971 – 44 years ago
Marking a transformation from hippie folk-rock to flamboyant guitar driven bombast, T. Rex’s 6th studio release ushered in the 70s glam rock era. Characterized by extravagant, fuzz-drenched riffs, propulsive grooves, and sexual innuendo, Electric Warrior influenced countless hard rock, power pop, punk and new wave acts. Electric Warrior is a “classic” album in every sense.
The Classic Pick is a weekly feature at 4pm M-F on The Home Stretch, sponsored by the Good Oak Bar. Each Monday at 4pm Kris Kerry stops by KXCI to give us insight on this classic album.
Marc Bolan (born Marc Feld) began performing professionally in 1965, and soon joined the psychedelic folk-rock combo John’s Children in 1967, which soon thereafter disbanded. Later that year, he formed the folk duo Tyrannosaurus Rex with Steve Peregrine Took (who was eventually replaced with Mickey Finn). In 1970 Bolan shortened the band’s name to T. Rex and changed the band’s sound to incorporate fuzz-drenched guitars, late 50s/60s rock song structure, thick grooves, and an overt trashy vibe – essentially creating what became known as glam rock.
Originally released on Fly Records in the UK and Reprise in the US, Electric Warrior reached number 32 on the US Billboard 200 chart and went to number 1 on the UK charts. “Bang A Gong” was the groups only top-ten hit in the US, however T. Rex had fourteen top 20 hits in the UK.
Electric Warrior received critical acclaim from the on set, and has grown to legendary status, credited with essentially creating a new musical genera (along w/ David Bowie and Roxy Music, both releasing Ziggy Stardust and Roxy Music in 1972) and influencing countless acts. It is ranked as 20th best album of the 1970s by Pitchfork, and number 160 of the “500 Greatest Albums of All-Time” by Rolling Stone.
Glam rock emerged from the psych-folk and art rock UK scene. It was characterized by guitar-driven hard rock, outrageous hairstyles, platform-soled boots and androgynous, bombastic costumes. Other notable glam acts include David Bowie, Roxy Music, New York Dolls, early Lou Reed and Iggy Pop.
Electric Warrior was produced by the legendary Tony Visconti, who is most associated with David Bowie and T. Rex, but who has also worked with Thin Lizzy, Iggy Pop, The Moody Blues, Morrissey, and many others. He has produced over a hundred albums from 1967 to the present. On top of Electric Warrior, he gets production credit on numerous other classics, including: David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World, T. Rex – The Slider, David Bowie – Young Americans, Iggy Pop – The Idiot, Thin Lizzy – Bad Reputation, David Bowie – Heroes,
Electric Warrior was recorded at Trident Studios in London and Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco. Both studios have recorded a host of other acts including: (at Trident) David Bowie, Queen, Elton John, The Police, Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, The Bee Gees and James Taylor, and (at Wally Heider Studios) Jefferson Airplane, Neil Young, The Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Van Morrison and Gram Parsons among others.
The Electric Warrior cover art was designed by British art design group Hipgnosis (pronounced like Hypnosis). This design group created photo-based, often psychedelic art for many bands, including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Yes, ELO, Styx, AC/DC, The Police, XTC, Peter Gabriel and numerous other acts.
Rex songs have been covered by David Bowie, Bauhaus, Morrisey, The Power Station (1985 hit cover “Bang A Gong”), Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Replacements, Adam Ant, Violent Femmes, Guns n Roses and countless other acts.
David Bowie and Marc Bolan were close friends. Not only did they share a friendship and working relationship w/ Tony Visconti, they also shared the same manager, Tony Howard, in the early 1970s as well.
Marc Bolan was the early guitar idol of Smith’s guitarist, Johnny Marr.
Only one member T. Rex 70s line up is alive today (Bill Legend – drums). Mickey Finn (percussion, background vocals) died in 2003 from liver disease. Steve Currie (bass) died in a 1981 car crash as did Marc Bolan on September 16, 1977. He died just two weeks before his 30th birthday. Highly regarded in the rock world, Bolan’s funeral was attended by David Bowie, Tony Visconti, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart and Les Paul. The band disbanded after his death.
Amazingly, T. Rex is NOT in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. They have been eligible since 1993. T. Rex is quite possibly one of the most influential rock acts not to be inducted.