“Electric Warrior” by T. Rex (1971)
Release Date: September 24, 1971
Produced by Tony Visconti
Genre: Glam Rock, Rock and Roll
Label: Reprise (US), Fly (UK)
Chart Positions: #1 (UK), #12 (Norway), #14 (Germany), #32 (US), #46 (Japan), #166 (France)
Certifications: Silver (UK)
Singles: “Get It On (Bang A Gong)” #1 (UK, Ireland, France), #3 (Switzerland, Germany), #6 (Belgium, Norway), #8 (Canada), #10 (US), #11 (Australia), #13 (Netherlands), #16 (Japan), #32 (Poland), #2 (UK, Ireland), #3 (Germany), #4 (France), #9 (Belgium), #27 (Netherlands), #29 (Australia), #73 (Canada), #79 (Japan)
Singles Certifications: N/A
Other Charting Tracks: N/A
Best Tracks: “Jeepster,” “Bang A Gong (Get It On),” “Life’s A Gas”
Electric Warrior is the sixth studio album by English glam rock act T. Rex. It is the group's second album released under the name "T. Rex", with the first four billed as "Tyrannosaurus Rex". It was released on 24 September 1971 by record label Fly in the UK and Reprise in the US. The album marks a turning point in the band's sound, dispensing with the folk-oriented music of the group's previous albums and pioneering a new, "glammier" style of rock known as glam rock. The album also drew attention to the band in the United States with the top 10 hit "Bang A Gong (Get It On)". This would prove to be the band's only successful single in America, deeming the band a "one-hit wonder" there. Two singles were released from the album: "Get It On" and "Jeepster". "Get It On" was T. Rex's biggest selling single, and became the band's only top-ten US hit. In the United States, "Get It On”'s title was originally changed to "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" to distinguish it from Chase's song "Get It On", which was also released in late 1971. The printing of the song title "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" on the back cover of original Reprise Records North American pressings of Electric Warrior is in a different typeface from the surrounding text, with the song's original title retained on the lyric sheet.
Bolan claimed to have written “Get It On” out of his desire to record Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie", and said that the riff is taken from the Berry song. In fact, a line (And meanwhile, I'm still thinking) of "Little Queenie" is said at the fade of "Get It On".
Progressive Rock musician, Rick Wakeman performed keyboards on "Bang A Gong (Get it On)." Wakeman is best known for his work with the Prog band Yes. He has been a member with the band since 1971. Wakeman also performed the mellotron on David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
“Jeepster” was controversial in that Fly Records released the song without singer Marc Bolan's prior permission, Bolan having just left Fly for EMI, which had given him control of his own label T. Rex Wax Co. Records. The music and rhythm for “Jeepster” are similar to that of the Howlin' Wolf song "You'll Be Mine", written by Willie Dixon. In interviews, Marc Bolan has acknowledged that he "lifted it from a Howlin' Wolf song".
The album's sense of campy playfulness and non-sensical wordplay combined with Bolan's warm and fuzzy guitar work and irresistible hooks have given the album a unique fusion of style and roots that have held the test of time. "Electric Warrior" is considered a classic with several publications and critics listing it as one of the great albums of all-time.
The following review was featured in the October 23, 1971 issue of Billboard Magazine:
"T. Rex is now the hottest group in England (consistent number one singles). With the group and the company taking great promotional interest in this album, it won't be long before America also starts bopping to Marc Bolan's uniquely entertaining cosmic visions. Freakiest Cut: "Jeepster," Prettiest: "Life's A Gas, Funniest: "Rip-Off."
T. Rex (1971)