Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow

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Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow – A Creamed Cage in August
T Rex Zinc Alloy.jpg
Studio album by Marc Bolan & T. Rex
Released 1 February 1974
Recorded 1973
Genre Glam rock
Length 46:17
Label T.REX (UK) Ariola (Germany)
Producer Marc Bolan
T. Rex chronology
Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow – A Creamed Cage in August
Light of Love
(1974)Light of Love1974
Singles from Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow – A Creamed Cage in August
  1. "Teenage Dream"
    Released: 1974

Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow (subtitled A Creamed Cage in August) is the ninth studio album by Marc Bolan & T. Rex, released on 1 February 1974 by record label EMI.

Background and recording[edit]

Marc Bolan was one of the first British artists to record at Musicland Studios in Munich; most basic recordings were done here during the second half of 1973. At the time, his popularity in the UK was beginning to wane as a result of two factors: his constant desire to "crack" the US market (which resulted in a lessened effort on the UK charts) and his desire to expand T. Rex's sound. This can be seen on 1973's Tanx, which included new guitar effects, chord changes, string arrangements and other studio "tricks" Bolan had not employed before.[citation needed]

His US label Reprise had dropped him and he was struggling to find another US label to sign him in the US. When he finally got a deal with Casablanca Records he had recorded lots of new material and decided to release it along with a couple of tracks from Zinc Alloy as the Light of Love album. Thus neither Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow nor Bolan's Zip Gun were issued in the US in the '70s.

Music and lyrics[edit]

Bolan had been listening to a sizeable amount of US soul and R&B, no doubt influenced by his new relationship with Gloria Jones, a backup singer and clavinet player, whom he had hired for his 1973 US tour.[citation needed] These new sounds were a year and a half before David Bowie's pioneering Young Americans album, often credited with making the most successful transition from UK glam rock (which was losing popularity) to radio-friendly, soul-influenced pop rock. However, as successful as Bolan was in combining his new influences, the boogie/rockabilly sound at the core of the classic T. Rex sound can still be heard in the guitar work and the harmonies, in particular on the track "Nameless Wildness".[citation needed]

The songs reflect a darker mood than on Bolan's earlier releases, with lead track "Venus Loon" having quite grotesque subject matter.[citation needed] This was perhaps reflective of Bolan's inner uncertainty about his status in the rock world now that he was no longer a teen idol.[citation needed] Other songs such as "Galaxy" and "Change" contain similar forebodings and dark imagery. The music, too, is ambitious and complex, containing some of Marc's most inventive extended guitar solos.[citation needed]


Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow was released on 1 February 1974.

When originally released the initial pressings were a multi-layered triple gatefold sleeve, a latticework image of the current cover featuring singer Marc Bolan's face in a pale gold surround. Japanese manufacturer Teichiku reinstated this as an elaborate limited edition paper sleeve in 2001.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork 5.8/10[2]
Uncut 7/10[3]

The album divided fans and critics into the two camps, a mixed critical reaction that would remain with him until his death. Some derided him as a washed-up teen idol, and others believed he would eventually make a resurgence in popularity. At that moment, however, Zinc Alloy marked a downturn in his fortunes – the contemporaneous album single, "Teenage Dream", made it only to No. 13 in the UK charts. While that would be a success for most groups, Bolan had spent all of 1971–1973 enjoying constant Top Ten and Top Five UK hits, including four No. 1s. T. Rex would not enjoy another Top 20 UK hit until "New York City" in the summer of 1975.

Bolan had said in the late 1960s that at the peak of his career, he would change his stage name to "Zinc Alloy", which is what he was going to address himself as with this album. However, the band name "Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow" sounded a lot like "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars", David Bowie's 1972 album. The album itself was going to be called "A Creamed Cage in August", hence why it is on the back cover. However the record company insisted on using the T. Rex name on the cover.[citation needed]


Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow was first reissued on the 'Marc On Wax label in 1983. The original cover art couldn't be used for legal reasons.[citation needed] This version was expanded to include a bonus disc (bonus tracks on the 1985 CD issue). The first disc (at 33 1/3 RPM) being the original Zinc album, the second disc (at 45 rpm) included all non-album singles and B-sides from 1974 – "Satisfaction Pony" (as a needle drop, as the original stereo master appears to be lost), "Light of Love", "Zip Gun Boogie" and "Space Boss". The album track "Teenage Dream" doesn't fade out at the 5-minute mark as on the original release. Instead the ending the band had originally recorded was restored for the first time.[citation needed] On the 1987 Teldec CD release (Germany; no bonus tracks), it fades out as originally intended, while the 1994 Edsel reissue (different bonus tracks) uses the extended version again.

A companion release, entitled Change (The Alternative Zinc Alloy), was released in 1996 and contained alternative versions, studio rough mixes and demos of the main album and bonus tracks. The two were combined for a 2CD Edition, which was released by Edsel and Rhino Records in 2002.

In 2010, the US distribution rights to the post-Electric Warrior T. Rex albums were passed onto Fat Possum Records. Zinc Alloy was re-released by Fat Possum in the LP, CD and digital formats on 26 April 2011.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Marc Bolan.

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Venus Loon" 3:01
2. "Sound Pit" 2:50
3. "Explosive Mouth" 2:26
4. "Galaxy" 1:48
5. "Change" 2:47
6. "Nameless Wildness" 3:06
7. "Teenage Dream" 5:45
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Liquid Gang" 3:17
2. "Carsmile Smith & the Old One" 3:16
3. "You've Got to Jive to Stay Alive – Spanish Midnight" 2:35
4. "Interstellar Soul" 3:26
5. "Painless Persuasion v. the Meathawk Immaculate" 3:26
6. "The Avengers (Superbad)" 4:28
7. "The Leopards Featuring Gardenia and the Mighty Slug" 3:36



External links[edit]