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T. Rex was a British rock band formed by Marc Bolan in the late 1960s, which played a pivotal role in the glam rock movement of the early 1970s.
The band's history is marked by numerous lineup changes and a musical evolution that shifted from folk and psychedelic rock to the more iconic glam rock sound that made them famous.
Formation and Early Years:
- T. Rex was originally formed as Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1967 by Marc Bolan (vocals and guitar) and Steve Peregrin Took (percussion). They released a series of albums with an acoustic, folk-influenced sound, notably "My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... But Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows" (1968) and "Prophets, Seers & Sages: The Angels of the Ages" (1968).
Transition to Electric Rock:
- In 1969, the band shortened its name to T. Rex and underwent a musical transformation, introducing electric guitars and a more rock-oriented sound.
- Their third album, "A Beard of Stars" (1970), marked the transition, but it was their eponymous album, "T. Rex" (1970), that brought them mainstream success with hits like "Ride a White Swan."
- Steve Peregrin Took left the band in 1969 and was replaced by Mickey Finn on percussion.
Glam Rock Stardom:
- T. Rex's breakthrough came with the release of "Electric Warrior" (1971), which featured the iconic tracks "Get It On" and "Bang a Gong (Get It On)." This album catapulted T. Rex to glam rock stardom and Marc Bolan to sex symbol status.
- The band's image became integral to their success, with Bolan's flamboyant style, glitter, and feather boas, setting the trend for the glam rock movement.
- "The Slider" (1972) and "Tanx" (1973) followed, further solidifying their glam rock legacy. Hits like "Metal Guru" and "Telegram Sam" continued to top the charts.
Lineup Changes and Decline:
- T. Rex experienced several lineup changes during this period, with the departure of Steve Currie, Bill Legend, and Mickey Finn. Bolan's longtime girlfriend, Gloria Jones, also played a significant role in the band during this time.
- Despite the success of the early 1970s, the band's popularity waned as musical trends evolved.
Later Years and Tragic End:
- The mid-1970s saw a decline in T. Rex's commercial success, and Bolan's attempt to experiment with funk and soul-influenced music in albums like "Futuristic Dragon" (1976) and "Dandy in the Underworld" (1977) did not rejuvenate their career.
- On September 16, 1977, Marc Bolan tragically died in a car accident at the age of 29, cutting short his remarkable career and marking the end of T. Rex.
- T. Rex's influence on the glam rock movement and rock music, in general, is undeniable. Their music, style, and Marc Bolan's persona left a lasting impact.
- Bolan's distinctive guitar style and the band's infectious hooks continue to be celebrated, and T. Rex's songs are frequently featured in films, television, and commercials.
- Their hit songs, especially "Get It On" and "Bang a Gong (Get It On)," remain classic rock staples, and Bolan is remembered as an iconic figure in rock history.
T. Rex's history is a testament to the ever-changing nature of the music industry, with the band successfully navigating several shifts in musical style and lineup changes, ultimately leaving a significant mark on the world of rock and glam rock in particular.