Marc Bolan’s top five songs

Nicolette Loizou / 06 October 2015

Marc Bolan and T.Rex were huge stars in the 70s before his untimely death, but his music lives on via countless film scores, ads and cover versions.

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.

Metal Guru

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. 


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.