‘Electric Warrior’: T. Rex And The Album That Confirmed Bolanmania
T.Rex’s ‘Electric Warrior’ debuted at No.2 on the UK chart of October 9, 1971 and a new fan phenomenon was confirmed.
On the UK album chart of October 9, 1971, Rod Stewart was topping both the singles and album charts in the UK, with “Maggie May” and Every Picture Tells A Story respectively. But another event of great historical importance was happening on that same countdown. The album that confirmed Bolanmania, T.Rex’s Electric Warrior, debuted at No.2. On the December 18 chart, it started a six-week run at No.1.
After changing their name from Tyrannosaurus Rex and scoring a breakthrough hit with “Ride A White Swan” the year before, Marc Bolan’s band had a memorable 1971 all round. It brought their first two No.1 UK singles in “Hot Love” and “Get It On,” as they settled on the new glam-pop sound and style that would make Bolan into Britain’s hottest pop star of the day. The T. Rex album charted early in the year, too, peaking to No.7.
Electric Warrior, released just nine months later, upped the ante to a whole new level. Produced, like its predecessor, by Tony Visconti, it included both “Get It On” (T. Rex’s biggest US hit, renamed “Bang A Gong,” with the UK title in brackets) and their next UK smash, “Jeepster.”
With tracks like “Cosmic Dancer” and “Life’s A Gas” giving the work considerable depth beyond the hit singles, Electric Warrior saw Bolan evolving from pixie poet into a real figurehead for teenagers and album buyers alike. He was clearly enjoying the chance to camp it up on the television quite a bit, too.
‘I’ve always been a wriggler’
“I’ve always been a wriggler. I just dig dancing,” he said in Record Mirror in the week the album charted. “It was just a bit difficult to wriggle when I was with Peregrine [Steve Peregrine Took, his partner in Tyrannosaurus Rex] sitting cross-legged on the stage.
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“I mean, I am my own fantasy. I am the ‘Cosmic Dancer’ who dances his way out of the womb and into the tomb on Electric Warrior. I’m not frightened to get up there and groove about in front of six million people on TV because it doesn’t look cool. That’s the way I would do it at home.”
Bolan’s fans concurred. After an initial run that saw the album in the top five for two months, it bounced up to No.1 just before Christmas 1971 and stayed there for six weeks, returning for another two weeks in February 1972.
Buy or stream Electric Warrior.
October 11, 2014 at 12:16 am
one of the greatest of many t.rex albums although my own fave has to be The Slider . such faboulous music check them out and so underated .
October 31, 2014 at 8:14 pm
Gotta agree with Ona, The Slider is one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE albums. With Electric Warrior and The Slider i could live happily ever after. Marc Bolan has some of the best lyrics ever written. From Baby Boomerang ” Mince pie dog-eye, eagle on the wind, I`m searching through this garbage, looking for a friend, your uncle with an alligator chained to his leg, dangles you your freedom, then he offers you his bed”. I mean come on, it does`nt get any better than that. I don`t always know what he means but i always love it.
October 31, 2014 at 10:08 pm
Marc Bolans best album by far and of course not forgetting Slider and Dandy In The Underworld ,the T.Rex album was just an extension of Tyrannasaurus Rex really but it was Electric Warrior that put T.Rex and Marc where they belonged
November 1, 2014 at 4:04 am
My favorite T Rex album ever! I could listen to Monolith, Jeepster , Lean Woman Blues and Hot Love all day every day. This album hit me at the age of 12 and been one of the most played and influential in my collection and still is. I am now 55 and it carries it age very well..
November 4, 2014 at 5:14 pm
Fully subscribe to the mark w. My experience from 22 to 64. Electric Warrior is a masterpiece.
December 18, 2017 at 8:34 pm
Loved ‘Get It On’ as a kid, but didn’t get around to the album until about the mid 90’s.. It’s been on my ‘portable music device du jour’ ever since. ‘Mambo Sun’ and ‘Jeepster’ are my perma-jams. ‘The Slider’ is equally as amazing.
March 7, 2018 at 7:59 pm
From my teens to 60 this year stands the test of time. A classic I never ever tire of
October 9, 2018 at 8:47 pm
Sûrement l’album que j’ai le plus écouté dans ma vie (avec dark d’identité officielle thé Moon)
Un mélange de chansons rythmées et de chansons douces, une voix inimitable, un rythme endiablée, des accords inoubliables, un album unique dans son genre que j’ai toujours plaisir à écouter.
Merci Marc et Mickey pour cet héritage fantastique.
April 22, 2019 at 10:19 pm
Having listened to the Electric Warrior Sessions album, I am pretty sure that Tony Visconti’s production was a key factor in the success of the album. Marc’s run of albums from Beard of Stars, to T.Rex, and then Electric Warrior all showed a steady improvement, each with its own charm. However, without Tony Visconti, Marc lost any sense of quality control. Electric Warrior was the first Bolan album that I purchased. In fact it was the first album I ever bought. It is timeless.