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T. Rex

This group started out as Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1967 when it was formed by the singer-songwriter and guitarist Marc Bolan.  It consisted of 4 members and did one performance at Covent Garden’s Electric Garden before breaking up.

The percussionist, Steve Peregrin Took remained with Marc Bolan though and the two of them began to perform as a duo.  They soon had a sizeable underground following and they became friends with John Peel who was a respected disc jockey.  He took them to their gigs and later appeared on one of their recordings as a narrator.  They also became acquainted with the producer Tony Visconti and went into collaboration with him for many of their albums.

Within a year they were being played on John Peel’s radio show, which caused some controversy from critics due to their  “overexposure”, already had three album recordings under their belt and were touring.

Due to problems that emerged between Took and Bolan, they split up in 1969 after the recording of the Unicorn album and an unsuccessful US tour.  Took had wanted his compositions included in the duo’s performances but Bolan refused.  Their compositions were written by Marc and included influences from mythology, Baroque music and rock and roll.

After the tour Mickey Finn took the place of Took and they recorded the album A Beard of Stars.  This would be the last album done using the name Tyrannosaurus Rex.  From then on they became known as T.Rex and they also had moved themselves into the use of electronic guitars and a move into the pop culture of the time.

They released their “Ride a White Swan” which became a #2 hit in the UK in 1970 and the following year their self-titled album made the Top 20.  Their next singe, “Hot Love” remained in the #1 position for 6 weeks.  This success saw them putting a complete band together for a tour and after Marc Bolan appeared on the British TV music show Top of the Pops with glitter under his eyes, it was deemed the beginning of the glam rock era.

They released their Electric Warrior in 1971 which became a chart-topping album and possibly their best known and most popular hit “Get It On” came from there.  It was also released in the US under the title “(Bang a Gong) Get It On” and reached the #10 there in 1972.  He then left Fly Records and EMI gave him his own label T.Rex Records.

They appeared in concert in Wembley in 1972 and Ringo Starr recorded their performance for Apple Films.  This recording was also used on Born to Boogie, which was Marc Bolan’s own film that was premiered in London that December.  That same year they also released Slider, which was their biggest hit album in the US even though their “Metal Guru” and “Telegram Sam” had no success there.  Both of those tracks made it to the #1 spot in the UK however.

In 1973 they released Tanx, which was recorded with many problems and members of the band started leaving.  Another album, Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow, which had extra musicians went out in 1974 and made it to #12 but the long serving Tony Visconti and Mickey Finn both left.

Marc Bolan decided to produce his 1975 Bolan’s Zip Gun but it received bad critical reviews.  He exiled himself to the United States and Monte Carlo to escape the high British taxes but released further albums in 1976 and 1977 – Futuristic Dragon and Dandy in the Underworld. He also saw some success with singles such as “New York Lady” and “I Love to Boogie” and after starting to become more popular again, there were talks of some of the old members re-uniting.

All of this came to an abrupt halt on 15th September 1977 when Marc Bolan and his girlfriend crashed their car in South London after an evening out.  She survived but Marc died from his injuries.

T.Rex sadly died with their front man but in 1997 Mickey Finn and Paul Fenton put together Mickey Finn’s T-Rex.  Mickey passed away in 2003 but the band goes on with remaining members continuing to give performances.

Members of T.Rex
Miller Anderson (guitar)
Marc Bolan  (vocals/guitar)
Steve Currie (bass)
Dino Dines (keyboards)
Paul Fenton (drums)
Mickey Finn (percussion)
Herbie Flowers (bass)
Jack Green (guitar)
Gloria Jones (backing vocals)
Bill Legend (drums)
Dave Lutton (drums)
Tony Newman (drums)
Steve Peregrin Took (percussion/guitar)