Get It On (T. Rex song)

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"Get It On"
Single by T. Rex
from the album Electric Warrior
B-side "There Was a Time" / "Raw Ramp"
Released 1971
Format 7" vinyl
Genre Glam rock
Length 4:25
Label Fly (UK), Reprise (US)
Writer(s) Marc Bolan
Producer(s) Tony Visconti
T. Rex singles chronology
"Hot Love"
(1971)
"Get It On"
(1971)
"Jeepster"
(1971)

"Get It On" is a song by the British glam rock group T. Rex, featured on their 1971 album Electric Warrior. Written by frontman Marc Bolan, "Get It On" was the second chart-topper for T. Rex on the UK Singles Chart. In the United States, the song was retitled "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" to avoid confusion with a song of the same name by the group Chase.

History[edit]

Bolan claimed to have written the song 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".[1]

This was the song that virtually ended the once-solid friendship between Bolan and John Peel, after Peel made clear his lack of enthusiasm for the song on air after playing his advance white label copy. Bolan and Peel only spoke once more before the former's death in 1977.[2][3]

During a December 1971 Top of the Pops performance, Elton John mimed a piano on the song.[4][5] This performance is usually the video clip for the song which has aired on various music-video outlets such as VH1 Classic.

The track was recorded at Trident Studios, London and the piano glissando on the record was performed by Rick Wakeman. Wakeman, who was desperate for work at the time to pay his rent, had bumped into Bolan in Oxford Street, who offered him the session. Wakeman pointed out to Tony Visconti that the record did not actually need a piano player. Visconti suggested that he could add a gliss; Wakeman said that Visconti could do that, to which Bolan replied, "you want your rent, don't you?" Wakeman did and earned £9 for his efforts.[6]

Grand piano was played by Blue Weaver and saxophones by Ian McDonald of King Crimson. Producer Visconti later recalled: "He played all the saxes, one baritone and two altos. I kept the baritone separate but bounced the altos to one track. I bounced the backup vocals to two tracks, making an interesting stereo image."[7] Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan provided back up vocals on the song.[8]

Track listing[edit]

  • US: Reprise / 1032
  • UK: Fly Records / BUG 10
  • Germany: Ariola / 10 327 AT
  • Denmark: Stateside / 6E 006-92700
  • France: Columbia / CBS 7393 (without "There Was a Time")
  1. "Get It On" (Marc Bolan) – 4:25
  2. "There Was a Time" (Marc Bolan) – 1:00
  3. "Raw Ramp" (Marc Bolan) – 4:14

Chart performance[edit]

While it only spent four weeks at the top in the UK, starting 24 July 1971[9] ("Hot Love" was number one for six weeks from March to May[10]), it was the group's biggest hit overall, selling nearly a million copies in the UK[citation needed]. It peaked on the US Billboard Pop Singles chart at number ten[11] in January 1972, becoming the band's only major US hit. The song reached No. 12 in Canada in March 1972.[12]

Chart (1971/1972) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[9] 1
Australian Singles Chart 11
Canadian RPM Top Singles[12] 12
German GfK chart[13] 3
Dutch Top 40[14] 15
Irish Singles Chart[15] 1
Norwegian Singles Chart[16] 6
Swiss Singles Chart[17] 3
US Billboard Pop Singles[11] 10
Preceded by
"Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" by Middle of the Road[18]
UK number-one single
24 July 1971 – 14 August 1971 (1971-08-14) (4 weeks)[9]
Succeeded by
"I'm Still Waiting" by Diana Ross[19]
Preceded by
"Sometimes" by Red Hurley
Ireland number-one single
12 August 1971 – 19 August 1971 (1971-08-19) (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Never Ending Song of Love" by The New Seekers

Power Station version[edit]

"Get It On (Bang a Gong)"
Single by The Power Station
from the album The Power Station
B-side "Go to Zero"
Released 29 April 1985
Format 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
Recorded 1984
Genre Hard rock
Length 3:43 (45 Mix)
5:31
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) Marc Bolan
Producer(s) Bernard Edwards
The Power Station singles chronology
"Some Like It Hot"
(1985)
"Get It On (Bang a Gong)"
(1985)
"Communication"
(1985)

"Get It On" was covered by The Power Station in 1985. Their version – titled "Get It On (Bang a Gong)" – was released as their second single from their debut album. The track was a strong hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, where the single peaked at number nine (one place higher than the original) in the summer of 1985.[20] Meanwhile, in the UK, the song reached number 22 on the UK Singles Chart.[21] When Robert Palmer heard that the other Power Station members had recorded demos for "Bang a Gong", he asked to try out vocals for it. Before long, the band had decided to record the entire album with Palmer.[22] This single, along with "Some Like It Hot", became The Power Station's signature songs.

On 13 July 1985, The Power Station (as well as Duran Duran), had a participation at Live Aid, on the Philadelphia concert, in which the band performed the song, this time, with the British singer Michael Des Barres on vocals.[23]

The female dancer featured in the video is American dancer/singer-songwriter Sara Carlson.[24]

The song also was performed live on the Miami Vice episode "Whatever Works", with Michael Des Barres on vocals,[25] where all of the then-touring group had cameos.

Track listings[edit]

7" vinyl single[edit]

  • US: Capitol Records / B-5479
  • UK: Parlophone / R 6096
  • Australia: EMI / A1510
  • Europe: EMI / 20 0632 7
Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Get It On"   Marc Bolan 3:43
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Go to Zero"   Guy Pratt, Robert Palmer 4:57

12" vinyl single[edit]

  • US: Capitol Records / V8646
  • UK: Parlophone / 12R 6096
  • Europe: Parlophone / 1C K 060 20 0631 6
  • Canada: Capitol Records / V 75107
Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Get It On"   Bolan 5:31
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Get It On" (45 Mix) Bolan 3:43
2. "Go To Zero"   Pratt, Palmer 4:57

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100[20] 9
US Billboard Top Rock Tracks[20] 19
US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales[20] 47
Irish Singles Chart[26] 12
UK Singles Chart[21] 22

Other cover versions[edit]

  • In 1979, studio disco group Witch Queen released a disco version of the song, simply titled, "Bang A Gong". It peaked at number eight on the disco charts.[27]
  • KMFDM recorded a cover in the mid-1980s, calling it "Get It". The song is included on their 84–86 compilation album.
  • In 1983, studio powerful version by The Joe Perry Project (in their 3rd LP "Once a Rocker, Always a Rocker"), titled "Bang A Gong".

Sampling[edit]

British dance act Bus Stop (known in the US as "London Bus Stop") sampled the vocals from the T. Rex original in their 2000 pseudo-cover of the song, which charted at No. 59 in the UK.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paytress, Mark, Bolan: The Rise And Fall Of The 20th Century Superstar, p. 182, Omnibus Press (2003), ISBN 978-0-7119-9293-1
  2. ^ Paytress, Mark, Bolan: The Rise And Fall Of The 20th Century Superstar, p. 182-3, Omnibus Press (2003), ISBN 978-0-7119-9293-1
  3. ^ Peel, John, Margrave of the Marshes, p.236, 238–9, Bantam Press (2005), ISBN 978-0-593-05252-5
  4. ^ "Video clip from 27 December 1971 ''Top of the Pops''". BBC. 27 December 1971. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "''Top of the Pops 2'' episode featuring this performance". BBC. 23 December 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Birth of Glam". The Glory of Glam. 2010-06-29. BBC. BBC Radio Two.
  7. ^ "Classic Tracks: T. Rex's 'Bang a Gong (Get It On)'". Mixonline.com. 1 December 1999. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "Bang A Gong (Get It On) by T. Rex Songfacts". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c "Chart Stats – T.Rex – Get It On". Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  10. ^ "Chart Stats – T.Rex – Hot Love". Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  11. ^ a b "allmusic ((( T. Rex > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))". Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  12. ^ a b "RPM Volume 17 No. 5, March 18, 1972 – RPM". Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  13. ^ "dutchcharts.nl – T. Rex – Get It On" (in Dutch). Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  14. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Week 36, 1971" (in Dutch). Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  15. ^ "irishcharts.ie search results". Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  16. ^ "norwegiancharts.com – T. Rex – Get It On". Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  17. ^ "T. Rex – Get It On – hitparade.ch" (in German). Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  18. ^ "Chart Stats – Middle of the Road – Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep". Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  19. ^ "Chart Stats – Diana Ross – I'm Still Waiting". Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  20. ^ a b c d "allmusic ((( The Power Station > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))". Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  21. ^ a b "Chart Stats – Power Station – Get It On". Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  22. ^ "allmusic ((( The Power Station > Biography )))". Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  23. ^ "Power station from Live Aid video". NME. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  24. ^ Sara Carlson music dance art|My Story @saracarlson.net Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  25. ^ "Miami Vice: Whatever Works - TV.com". Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  26. ^ "irishcharts.ie search results". Retrieved 12 July 2009. 
  27. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974–2003. Record Research. p. 282. 
  28. ^ "Chart Stats – Bus Stop Featuring T Rex – Get It On". Retrieved 12 July 2009.