Telegram Sam

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"Telegram Sam"
Single by T. Rex
from the album The Slider
B-side"Cadilac" / "Baby Strange"
Released21 January 1972
Format7" single
GenreGlam rock, protopunk
LabelT.Rex Wax Co. (UK); Reprise (US)
Songwriter(s)Marc Bolan
Producer(s)Tony Visconti
T. Rex singles chronology
"Telegram Sam"
"Metal Guru"

"Telegram Sam" is a song written by Marc Bolan for the British rock group T. Rex, appearing on their 1972 album The Slider. The song was their third UK number one single, remaining at the top of the charts for two weeks[1] before being knocked off the top by "Son of My Father" by Chicory Tip.

The lyrics feature numerous figures such as Bobby (who is a natural born poet who is just outta sight), Golden Nose Slim (who knows where you been), Jungle Faced Jake (make no mistake) and Purple Pie Pete (whose lips are like lightning and girls melt in the heat). It also contains these lines Marc Bolan wrote to refer to himself: Me I funk/but I don't care/I ain't no square/with my corkscrew hair, a line which industrial rock band KMFDM would borrow for their song "Me I Funk". The riff is similar in character to their massive hit from the previous year, "Get It On" but in the key of A rather than E. "Telegram Sam" was not as successful as "Get It On" worldwide, and it only peaked at number 67 in the Billboard Hot 100. Eventually, this was the band's last single charted in the US. [2]

"Telegram Sam" was the first single to be issued by Marc Bolan's own T.Rex Wax Co. label, and was released on 21 January 1972. The b-side featured two songs in the UK, "Cadilac" (as printed on the EMI label of the original single) and "Baby Strange", the latter also included in the album The Slider.

"Telegram Sam" was written by Bolan about his manager Tony Secunda (Telegram Sam = Tony Secunda) who was his 'main man' in respect of him being Bolan's manager and narcotics supplier.[3]

In 1980, it was covered by the gothic rock band Bauhaus as a single, which peaked at number 12 in New Zealand.[4] It was also covered by the Croatian punk-rock band Psihomodo Pop.


Chart performance[edit]