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T. Rex Biography


Home > Music > T > T. Rex > Biography


Birth Place: London, England
Years Active: 1967–1977
Genres: Glam Rock, Folk Rock, Psychedelic Rock


T. Rex was a British rock band formed in 1967 by singer, songwriter and guitarist Marc Bolan. Initially known as Tyrannosaurus Rex, the band began as a four piece that played one show and broke up. From there Bolan formed a duo with percussionist Steve Peregrin Took and began performing acoustic shows in and around London. The duo came to the attention of famed BBC Radio One Disc jockey John Peel, who quickly became an advocate for the band.

Tyrannosaurus Rex issued their debut album, “My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... But Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows,” in 1968 and their second album, “Prophets, Seers & Sages – The Angels of the Ages,” later that year. “Unicorn,” their third LP, was released in 1969.

Around this time a rift began to form between Bolan and Took who held different ideas about the direction of their music. The duo parted ways after an unsuccessful U.S. tour. Bolan replaced Took with percussionist Mickey Finn for 1970’s, “A Beard of Stars,” the final album under the Tyrannosaurus Rex moniker.

1970 saw T. Rex score a hit single with “Ride a White Swan,” peaking at #2 on the U.K. Singles chart. The single served as a promotion for their 1970 self-titled album. With the duo's growing success, Bolan expanded the band to include bassist Steve Currie and drummer Bill Legend.

When Bolan later appeared on national television in the U.K. on the popular music show, “Top of the Pops,” he had glitter under his eyes. This fashion move gave birth to the movement of glam rock in the U.K. and Europe. Musically, T. Rex began to incorporate more of an electric guitar sound into their music, and thematically, more of a sexual image.

In 1971 the band released their album, “Electric Warrior,” which was a huge commercial success. The album spawned the hit single, “Get It On,” which peaked at #1 on the U.K. Singles chart and became a Top 10 hit in the U.S. T. Rex went on to sign a record contact with EMI, where Bolan was also given his own record label, T. Rex Records.

T. Rex's next album, “The Slider,” arrived in 1972, which went on to become the band's most successful album in the U.S, while “Telegram Sam” and “Metal Guru” became #1 hit singles on the U.K. Singles chart.

The band's album, “Tanx,” was issued in 1973 despite Legend quitting during the middle of the recording. A second guitarist, Jack Green was added to the line-up and BJ Cole on pedal steel. By 1974, Finn had also left T. Rex.

“Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow – A Creamed Cage in August,” followed in 1974 and was billed as Marc Bolen and T. Rex. It reached #12 in the U.K.

Their next album, “Bolan's Zip Gun,” appeared in 1975 and was the first T. Rex album produced by Bolan. The album was not well-received by the British press and Bolen was driven to seclusion at this time. T. Rex issued, “Futuristic Dragon,” in 1976 and tour of the U.K. followed.

What would be the band’s final album, 1977’s “Dandy in the Underworld” was met with critical acclaim. T. Rex embarked on a tour with The Damned and began to receive positive reviews once again. This new surge in popularity prompted Bolan to contemplate working with original T. Rex members, Finn and Took. All future plans for the group were cut short when Bolan died later that year in a car accident.