Children of the Revolution (song)

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"Children of the Revolution"
Single by T. Rex
B-side "Jitterbug Love"/"Sunken Rags"
Released 8 September 1972
Genre Glam rock[1]
Length 2:29
Label EMI, Reprise
Writer(s) Marc Bolan
Producer(s) Tony Visconti
T. Rex singles chronology
"Metal Guru"
(1972)
"Children of the Revolution"
(1972)
"Solid Gold Easy Action"
(1972)

"Children of the Revolution" is a song by T. Rex, written by Marc Bolan. It was a No. 2 hit single in September 1972. The song broke their sequence of four official single releases all reaching No. 1 ("Hot Love", "Get It On", "Telegram Sam", "Metal Guru"). It did not receive a regular album release.

Origins[edit]

The song is about teenage rebellion, and upon its release, some critics blasted the song, as it marked a change in the band's overall tempo. Some even believed the song was pro-communist propaganda, based on the title alone.[citation needed] It was included in the film Born to Boogie, in the famous Apple Studios jam with Elton John on piano and Ringo Starr joining the band on drums. During the jam, Marc Bolan puts his head through a grand piano while John is playing.

Appearances in other media[edit]

  • The film Children of the Revolution is named for the song and features it over the closing credits.
  • It was also included in the film Billy Elliot in the scene after Billy's father confronts him about learning ballet.[2]
  • In the film Breakfast on Pluto, the song is used during a dance scene.[3]
  • In Dogtown and Z-Boys, a documentary on the origins of skateboarding in the 1970s, the song plays during a montage of skateboarding.
  • The song is also played in the Norwegian movie Den Siste Revejakta (The Last Joint Venture).
  • The song is heavily sampled in the film Moulin Rouge!.
  • The song is used in the trailer for the 2010 game Fable III.

Chart performance[edit]

Preceded by
"Mama Weer All Crazee Now" by Slade
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
5 October 1972 – 12 October 1972 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"How Can I Be Sure" by David Cassidy

Cover versions[edit]

The Dead C covered it on their album Eusa Kills (Flying Nun). Lloyd Cole has recorded a cover of the song, as well as several other Marc Bolan songs. It was released as a b-side in 1991.

The Killers (Former Iron Maiden singer Paul Di'Anno's band, not the American band that goes by the same name) covered the song on the album Murder One (1992). A cover is also found on the B-side of the Swedish indie band The Wannadies's second single (Heaven 1990, MNW).

A cover performed by Gavin Friday and singer Bono of U2 appears on the 2001 film Moulin Rouge! soundtrack. In the film itself, it is used as part of a flourishing medley at the climax of the show-within-the-movie as sung by the Bohemian characters led by John Leguizamo. The song appears fairly briefly in during an episode of the Channel 4 television series 'Fresh Meat' during a student demonstration.

The song also appears on the soundtrack of Channel Four's adaptation of Zadie Smith's White Teeth. It was also covered by Elton John and Pete Doherty during the Live 8 concerts, but it was poorly received, as Doherty forgot many of the words and was apparently drunk during the performance.

In 2003 it was also covered by Berry Sakharof during a live performance. In 2007, Patti Smith performed the song live on stage in Istanbul, at the Babylon jazz club.

In 2007, Patti Smith sang the song live at the celebration of the life of Marc Bolan of T. Rex at Joe's Pub in the (Central) Park on 29 September. Toni Collette & the Finish on their 2007 "Look Up" tour around Australia covered "Children of the Revolution". It was well received by the crowd and critics of each night of the tour. Toni is quoted in saying she covers it "because she just can". They performed the song at Live Earth.

Imperiet covered the song, as did the Danish band Sort Sol.

American band Violent Femmes covered the song on their 1986 album, The Blind Leading the Naked.[16]

British dance act Baby Ford also covered the song in 1989.[14]

Minimal Compact's guitarist and founder, Berry Sakharof, covered the song and released it on his Live double-album in 2003.

German songstress Nena included a version in her 2007 album Cover Me.[17]

Belgian electro-rock band Soulwax performed a version on a Belgian compilation album Glittering 2000.

Neon Indian covered the song in late 2010, offering it as a free download in advance of its inclusion on a 2011 reissue of T. Rex's Tanx.

American Irish punk band Flogging Molly slated a version on their album Live at the Greek Theatre. It was removed because of publishing concerns.

Japanese rock band SADS published a version on their 2002 EP "Appetizing 4 songs".

British EBM outfit Inertia published a version on Kloned, an album of cover versions.

The song was used in the 2010 documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money to mockingly portray convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates as revolutionaries.

It also appeared on the soundtrack of Xbox 360's Fable III trailer in October 2010.

German rock band Scorpions published a version on their 2011 compilation album "Comeblack".[18]

The song is featured in the 2013 television commercial "Revolution" for the Fiat 500 in the U.S. Ironically the commercial is based on the premise of Paul Revere's warning "The British Are Coming!" referring to the Fiat 500's main competition, The Mini Cooper.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^
    • Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 822. ISBN 978-0-7432-0169-8. "Bolan (...) started writing manic chant-along glam-rock hits such as "Metal Guru," "20th Century Boy," "Solid Gold Easy Action," and "Children of the Revolution."" 
    • Hawkins, Stan (2009). The British Pop Dandy: Masculinity, Popular Music and Culture. Ashgate Publishing. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-7546-5858-0. "Take 'Children of the Revolution' by T. Rex, from 1972. Credited for representing glam-rock at its best, this song is a landmark in British popular music and performed by one of the legendary idols, Marc Bolan." 
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Original Soundtrack – Billy Elliot". Allmusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "Original Soundtrack – Breakfast on Pluto". Allmusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts – 10 March 1973". Poparchives.com.au. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  5. ^ BeansterBarnes. "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "T. Rex – Children Of The Revolution – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  7. ^ (French) "InfoDisc : Tous les Titres par Artiste". Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. InfoDisc.fr. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013.  Select "T. Rex" from the artist drop-down menu
  8. ^ "T. Rex - Children Of The Revolution". Charts.de. Media Control. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  9. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". IRMA. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  10. ^ (Italian) "Indice per Interprete: T". HitParadeItalia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  11. ^ (Spanish) Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  12. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  13. ^ BigKev. "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1970s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "Ultratop.be – Baby Ford – Children Of The Revolution" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ "Baby Ford" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  16. ^ Woodstra, Chris. "Violent Femmes – The Blind Leading the Naked". Allmusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  17. ^ Severa, Alan. "Nena – Cover Me". Allmusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  18. ^ Heaney, Gregory. "Scorpions – Comeblack". Allmusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  19. ^ Sungyoung, Lee (23 June 2013). "FIAT 500 L Italian Invasion Commercial Song Children of the Revolution by T. Rex". TV Commercials Songs. Retrieved 21 July 2013.