Get It On
Starting with a slow crash of chords and weaving its way to a hypnotic beat Get It On (Bang a Gong) was a massive hit for Marc Bolan and T.Rex even though previous champion of the band John Peel didn’t like it.
During a December 1971 Top of the Pops performance, Elton John mimed a piano on the song and it is this clip which most of us seem to remember. It was later covered by Duran Duran spin-off group The Power Station.
20th Century Boy
From its rifftastic opening to the thunder of chords which smash through the song this is one of Bolan’s trademark hits. The song became even more famous years after Bolan’s death when it was used in a Levi’s commercial starring Brad Pitt.
Again, like Get it On, it was covered by a wide range of musicians including Siouxsie and the Banshees and Adam Ant.
I Love to Boogie
This nifty little tune was a hymn to one of Bolan’s favourite pastimes – dancing. In fact, the imp himself said that he danced himself out of the womb.
This little tune (it weighs in at two minutes eleven seconds) appeared on T. Rex's final studio album and found a new audience when it was used in the hit film Billy Ellliot.
Read more about Billy Elliot and book tickets here.
Ride a White Swan
This dreamy slice of pop was served up by a not-yet glammed Bolan. Its mystical lyrics and ethereal feel nearly earned it the top spot in 1971 but it was kept off of number one by Clive Dunn’s novelty hit Grandad. When Bolan died in a tragic car crash in 1977, a mourner paid tribute to him by laying a large swan made of flowers among the floral tributes on display.
From its sing-along introduction to its raucous chorus Metal Guru had described the song's apparent religious references as ”…a festival of life song.” In later years, several critics have noted that Panic by The Smiths is reminiscent of Metal Guru.
Subscribe to the print edition or download the digital edition for more great music articles delivered direct to you every month.