Electric Warrior

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Electric Warrior
T Rex Electric Warrior UK album cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released24 September 1971
RecordedMarch–June 1971
StudioTrident Studios and Advision Studios, London, England; Wally Heider Studios, Los Angeles; Media Sound Studios, New York City, United States
Genre
Length39:02
LabelFly (UK), Reprise (US)
ProducerTony Visconti
T. Rex chronology
T. Rex
(1970)
Electric Warrior
(1971)
The Slider
(1972)
Singles from Electric Warrior
  1. "Get It On"
    Released: 2 July 1971
  2. "Cosmic Dancer"
    Released: 1971
  3. "Jeepster"
    Released: 1 November 1971

Electric Warrior is the second studio album by English rock band T. Rex, their sixth if including the group's earlier incarnation as Tyrannosaurus Rex. The album marked a turning point in the band's sound, dispensing with the folk-oriented music of the group's previous albums and pioneering a flamboyant, pop-friendly take on electric rock and roll known as glam rock.[1]

The album reached number 1 on the UK charts and became the best selling album of 1971. The single "Get it On" reached the top ten in the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Retitled "Bang A Gong (Get It On)" by the US record company, it also became the band's only hit in North America.

Electric Warrior has since received acclaim as a pivotal release of the glam rock movement.

Promotion[edit]

Bolan, in a 1971 interview contained on the Rhino Records reissue, said of the album "I think Electric Warrior, for me, is the first album which is a statement of 1971 for us in England. I mean that's... If anyone ever wanted to know why we were big in the other part of the world, that album says it, for me."[2]

Bolan was a guest on the BBC Television show, Cilla, in January 1973. He and Cilla Black sang an acoustic version of "Life's a Gas".[3]

Artwork[edit]

The cover artwork was designed by British art design group Hipgnosis, based on a photo taken by Kieron "Spud" Murphy at a T. Rex concert.[4] Murphy also took the photo of the band that was used for the poster that was included with the first issue in the UK and Germany. The inner sleeve artwork, portraits of Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn, was drawn by artist George Underwood.

Release[edit]

Electric Warrior was released on 24 September 1971 by record label Fly in the UK and Reprise in the US. It went to number 1 on the UK Albums Chart, staying there at this slot for 8 several weeks. The album remained in the UK chart for 44 weeks.[5] It was preceded by the single "Hot Love", a hit single in the UK, where it stayed at number 1 for six weeks.[6] In the US, Electric Warrior reached number 32 in the Billboard 200 chart.[7]

Two singles were released from the album: "Get It On" and "Jeepster". "Get It On" was T. Rex's biggest selling single, and became the band's only top-ten US hit.[8] In the United States, "Get It On"'s title was originally changed to "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" to distinguish it from Chase's song "Get It On", which was also released in late 1971.[9]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideB[10]
Pitchfork9.5/10[11]
Q4/5 stars[12]
MusicOMH4.5/5 stars[13]
BBC Musicfavourable[14]
Rolling Stonefavourable[15]
Uncut5/5 stars[16]
Record Collector5/5 stars[17]

Electric Warrior has received acclaim from critics.

In his retrospective review, Steve Huey of AllMusic gave the album 5/5 stars, writing "the real reason Electric Warrior stands the test of time so well – despite its intended disposability – is that it revels so freely in its own absurdity and willful lack of substance. Not taking himself at all seriously, Bolan is free to pursue whatever silly wordplay, cosmic fantasies or non sequitur imagery he feels like; his abandonment of any pretense to art becomes a statement in itself. Bolan's lack of pomposity, back-to-basics songwriting, and elaborate theatrics went on to influence everything from hard rock to punk to new wave. But in the end, it's that sense of playfulness, combined with a raft of irresistible hooks, that keeps Electric Warrior such an infectious, invigorating listen today."[1]

Village Voice critic Robert Christgau was more reserved in his praise: "As an acoustic warrior, back when he spelled out his group's first name and did concept albums about unicorns, Marc Bolan was considered 'progressive,' which meant he was as foolish as Donovan but not as famous. A freak hit turned him into a singer of rhythmic fairy tales for British pre-pubes, exactly what he was always suited for, and the great 'Bang a Gong' extends his subject matter into the rock myth itself, which has its limits but sure beats unicorns. Now if he'd only recycle a few more pop readymades I could stop complaining about fey."[10]

Legacy[edit]

The album is credited as the first glam rock record album, pioneering the development of glam rock.[1]

In 1987, Electric Warrior was ranked number 100 in Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Albums of the Last 20 Years" list. In 2003, the album was ranked number 160 by the same magazine in its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2004, Pitchfork ranked Electric Warrior as the 20th best album of the 1970s.[18] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[19]

The Jam's Paul Weller cited it as one of his all-time favourite records, hailing Bolan's guitar playing as "really unique. You know his sound instantly."[20] The Slits's guitarist Viv Albertine also mentioned a special liking for this album for "the whole sound, the whole cartoony, sexual, and humourous [sic] thing, it's very English as well. I think Prince has taken so much from Bolan."[21] PJ Harvey's main collaborator John Parish included it in his favourites: "when I'm working... I like to have a few records that are most important for me, which I periodically stick on to remind myself just how good records can be. [...] I have a duty to at least try and make something as sweet and irresistible as this".[22] Morrissey covered "Cosmic Dancer" live in 1991, both solo and for a one-off duet with David Bowie during an encore at a Los Angeles' concert; a version was included as a b-side for "Pregnant for the Last Time". American rock band The Bongos released a cover of "Mambo Sun" in 1981. "Get It On" was a hit cover single for rock supergroup The Power Station in 1985. Former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke covered "Life's a Gas" on his 1995 EP, Blooze. The Dax Riggs-led stoner rock band Agents of Oblivion covered "Cosmic Dancer" on their 2000 self-titled album.[23] Poison drummer Rikki Rockett included a cover of "Life's a Gas" on his 2003 solo album Glitter 4 Your Soul. Chad Smith and Josh Klinghoffer of Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded a cover "Jeepster" and "Monolith" for a 2019 Record Store Day 7" release: both songs were originally intended for a T.Rex tribute album.

The song "Jeepster" is featured in a bar scene in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof (2007). In the opening scene of the film Billy Elliot (2000), the title character is shown putting Electric Warrior on a turntable and skipping to the song "Cosmic Dancer". "Cosmic Dancer" was also included in the soundtrack for the film Velvet Goldmine (1998).

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Marc Bolan.

Side A
No.TitleLength
1."Mambo Sun"3:40
2."Cosmic Dancer"4:30
3."Jeepster"4:12
4."Monolith"3:49
5."Lean Woman Blues"3:02
Total length:18:33
Side B
No.TitleLength
6."Get It On"4:27
7."Planet Queen"3:13
8."Girl"2:32
9."The Motivator"4:00
10."Life's a Gas"2:24
11."Rip Off"3:40
Total length:19:36

Personnel[edit]

T. Rex

Additional musicians

Technical

Charts[edit]

Chart Year Peak
position
UK Albums Chart 1971 1[24]
1972
US Billboard 200 1972 32[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Huey, Steve. "Electric Warrior – T. Rex". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Marc Bolan interview [Electric Warrior US Rhino remastered CD reissue]". 2003.
  3. ^ "Life's A Gas - Cilla Black & Marc Bolan Song - BBC Music". BBC. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
    Hann, Michael (15 September 2014). "Cilla Black: five unlikely musical moments". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
    Dave Milton. "Marc Bolan & Cilla Black - Life's A Gas". YouTube. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  4. ^ Paytress, Mark. Bolan: The Rise and Fall of a 20th Century Superstar. Omnibus Press. 2003.
  5. ^ "T. Rex Electric Warrior Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  6. ^ "T. Rex Hot Love Official Charts". Official Charts. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Electric Warrior - Billboard". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  8. ^ "T. Rex – Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  9. ^ Roberts, Chris (30 September 2016). "It's Electric: How Marc Bolan Made The Greatest Album Of His Career". Classic Rock. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  10. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: T". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 16 March 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  11. ^ James, Brian (25 February 2003). "T. Rex: Electric Warrior | Album Review | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  12. ^ Q (9/01, pp.137-8) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Glistening, seemingly extra-terrestrial prettiness....bewitching stuff..."
  13. ^ Burgess, Andrew (23 April 2012). "T Rex – Electric Warrior". MusicOMH. MusicOMH. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  14. ^ Jones, Chris (29 September 2003). "BBC – Music – Review of T. Rex – Electric Warrior (SACD)". BBC Music. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  15. ^ Gerson, Ben (6 January 1972). "T. Rex Electric Warrior review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  16. ^ Roberts, Chris (October 2001). "T. Rex – Electric Warrior". Uncut. Rocks Back Pages. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  17. ^ Needs, Kris. "T.REX - ELECTRIC WARRIOR: DELUXE EDITION". Record Collector. Record Collector. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  18. ^ "Staff Lists: Top 100 Albums of the 1970s | Features | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. 23 June 2004. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  19. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  20. ^ Colegate, Mat (7 May 2015). "At His Modjesty's Request: Paul Weller's Favourite Albums". The Quietus. Archived from the original on 8 August 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  21. ^ Hasson, Thomas (18 April 2013). "Like Choosing A Lover: Viv Albertine's Favourite Albums". The Quietus. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  22. ^ "Spot Five Records That Move The Animal in Producer/Sideman Extraordinaire John Parrish (PJ Harvey/Eels)". CMJ New Music Monthly: 18. November 2002.
  23. ^ Chris Ayers (2000-03-01) "Review - Agents of Oblivion" Exclaim! Retrieved 2019-06-24
  24. ^ "The Official UK Charts Company: All the Number 1 Albums". Official Charts. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2014.

External links[edit]