Get It On (T. Rex song)

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"Get It On"
T.Rex Get It On single cover.jpg
Single by T. Rex
from the album Electric Warrior
B-side"There Was a Time" / "Raw Ramp"
Released2 July 1971
LabelFly (UK)
Reprise (US)
Songwriter(s)Marc Bolan
Producer(s)Tony Visconti
T. Rex singles chronology
"Hot Love"
"Get It On"

"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, it was retitled "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" to avoid confusion with a song of the same name by the group Chase.[3]


Following the success of T. Rex's single, "Hot Love", the band went on a United States tour. While in New York in March 1971, Bolan asked drummer Bill Legend to help him brainstorm drum patterns for a song idea that would later become "Get It On".[4] Bolan claimed to have written the song out of his desire to record Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie", and said that the riff was taken from the Berry tune. In fact, a slightly edited line (And meanwhile, I'm still thinking) from "Little Queenie" is said at the fade of "Get It On".[5] According to producer Tony Visconti, this line was an unscripted ad-lib by Bolan during recording.[4]

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 it on air after playing his advance white label copy. Bolan and Peel only spoke once more before the former's death in 1977.[6][7]

The track was recorded at Trident Studios, London, and the piano on the record was performed by either Rick Wakeman or Blue Weaver. Mark Paytress notes that both pianists may have played separate parts on the song, with Wakeman contributing only the piano glissandos that feature several times throughout the song.[5] 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.[8]

Saxophones were played 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."[9] Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (formerly The Turtles) provided back up vocals.[10]

During a December 1971 Top of the Pops performance, Elton John mimed a piano on the song.[11][12] This performance is usually the video clip for the song which has aired on various music-video outlets such as VH1 Classic.

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]

It spent four weeks at the top in the UK, starting 24 July 1971[13] ("Hot Love" was number one for six weeks from March to May),[14] and it was the group's biggest hit overall, with Bolan claiming that it sold a million.[15] It peaked on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at number ten[16] and at #12 in the Cash Box Top 100[17] in March 1972, becoming the band's only major US hit. The song reached No. 12 in Canada in March 1972.[18]

The Power Station version[edit]

"Get It On"
Power Station Get It On single cover.jpg
Single by The Power Station
from the album The Power Station
B-side"Go to Zero"
Released29 April 1985
GenreHard rock
Length5:31 (LP Version)
3:43 (45 Mix)
Songwriter(s)Marc Bolan
Producer(s)Bernard Edwards
The Power Station singles chronology
"Some Like It Hot"
"Get It On"
Music video
"Get It On (Bang a Gong)" on YouTube

"Get It On" was covered by the Power Station in 1985. Their version – referred to as "Get It On (Bang a Gong)" in the US – 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.[26] Meanwhile, in the UK, the song reached number 22 on the UK Singles Chart.[27] When Robert Palmer heard that the other Power Station members had recorded demos of the song, he asked to try out vocals for it. Before long, the band had decided to record the entire album with Palmer.[28] 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.[29]

The female dancer featured in the video is American dancer/singer-songwriter Sara Carlson.[30]

The song also was performed live with Michael Des Barres on vocals, in the Miami Vice episode "Whatever Works",[31] which featured all of the then-touring group in cameo roles.

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
1."Get It On"Marc Bolan3:43
Side two
1."Go to Zero"Guy Pratt, Robert Palmer4:57

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
1."Get It On"Bolan5:31 LP Version
Side two
1."Get It On" (45 Mix)Bolan3:43
2."Go To Zero"Pratt, Palmer4:57


Chart (1985) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[32] 8
US Billboard Hot 100[26] 9
US Billboard Top Rock Tracks[26] 19
US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales[26] 47
Irish Singles Chart[33] 12
UK Singles Chart[27] 22

Other cover versions[edit]

  • Blondie recorded a live version of the song on 4 November 1978 at The Paradise Ballroom in Boston, MA, which can be found on their 1978 live album, Headlines, and also on the 2001 reissue of Parallel Lines.[34]
  • In 1979, studio disco group Witch Queen released a disco version of the song, titled, "Bang A Gong". It peaked at number eight on the disco charts.[35]
  • In 2020 U2 covered the song, with Elton John on piano.[36][37]

Sampling and references[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.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Professor Sarah Niblock; Professor Stan Hawkins (28 January 2013). Prince: The Making of a Pop Music Phenomenon: The Making of a Pop Music Phenomenon. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-4094-9479-9. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  2. ^ Goodman, William (3 July 2013). "Beck Covers Michael Jackson & T. Rex". Fuse. Fuse Media, Inc. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Blair Jackson, "Classic Tracks: T. Rex's 'Bang a Gong (Get It On)'", Mix". Archived from the original on 30 August 2006. Retrieved 17 April 2015.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ a b Myers, Marc (9 April 2019). "How T. Rex's 'Get It On' Launched Glam Rock". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  5. ^ a b Paytress, Mark, Bolan: The Rise And Fall Of The 20th Century Superstar, p. 182, Omnibus Press (2003), ISBN 978-0-7119-9293-1
  6. ^ Paytress, Mark, Bolan: The Rise And Fall Of The 20th Century Superstar, p. 182-3, Omnibus Press (2003), ISBN 978-0-7119-9293-1
  7. ^ Peel, John, Margrave of the Marshes, p.236, 238–9, Bantam Press (2005), ISBN 978-0-593-05252-5
  8. ^ "The Birth of Glam". The Glory of Glam. 29 June 2010. BBC. BBC Radio Two.
  9. ^ "Classic Tracks: T. Rex's 'Bang a Gong (Get It On)'". 1 December 1999. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Bang A Gong (Get It On) by T. Rex Songfacts". Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  11. ^ "Video clip from 27 December 1971 Top of the Pops". BBC. 27 December 1971. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  12. ^ "Top of the Pops 2 episode featuring this performance". BBC. 23 December 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  13. ^ a b "The Official Charts Company – T.Rex – Get It On". Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  14. ^ "The Official Charts Company – T.Rex – Hot Love". Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  15. ^ Kutner, Jon; Leigh, Spencer (26 May 2010). 1,000 UK Number One Hits. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857123602. Retrieved 14 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ a b "T. Rex - Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  17. ^ a b "Cash Box Top 100 3/18/72". Archived from the original on 23 October 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  18. ^ a b "RPM Volume 17 No. 5, March 18, 1972 – RPM". Archived from the original on 10 October 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  19. ^ " – T. Rex – Get It On" (in Dutch). Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  20. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Week 36, 1971" (in Dutch). Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  21. ^ " search results". Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  22. ^ " – T. Rex – Get It On". Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  23. ^ "T. Rex – Get It On –" (in German). Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  24. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1972/Top 100 Songs of 1972". Archived from the original on 27 April 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  25. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1972". Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  26. ^ a b c d "allmusic ((( The Power Station > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))". Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  27. ^ a b "The Official Charts Company – Power Station – Get It On". Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  28. ^ "allmusic ((( The Power Station > Biography )))". Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  29. ^ "Power station from Live Aid video". NME. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  30. ^ Sara Carlson music dance art|My Story Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  31. ^ "Miami Vice: Whatever Works -". Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  32. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. p. 235. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  33. ^ " search results". Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  34. ^ "Bang A Gong – Blondie". Discogs.. Retrieved 24 September 2018
  35. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974–2003. Record Research. p. 282.
  36. ^ John, Elton. Elton John's Twitter account Retrieved 13 September 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  37. ^ Graff, Gary. "U2, Elton John and other stars celebrate Marc Bolan and T. Rex in new tribute album". / Advance Local Media LLC. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  38. ^ "The Official Charts Company – Bus Stop Featuring T Rex – Get It On". Retrieved 12 July 2009.