|Studio album by|
|Released||24 September 1971|
|Studio||Trident Studios and Advision Studios, London, England; Wally Heider Studios, Los Angeles; Media Sound Studios, New York City, United States|
|Label||Fly (UK), Reprise (US)|
|T. Rex chronology|
|Singles from Electric Warrior|
Electric Warrior is the second studio album by English rock band T. Rex, their sixth if including the group's earlier incarnation as Tyrannosaurus Rex. The album marked a turning point in the band's sound, dispensing with the folk-oriented music of the group's previous albums and pioneering a flamboyant, pop-friendly take on electric rock and roll known as glam rock.
The album reached number 1 on the UK charts and became the best selling album of 1971. The single "Get it On" reached the top ten in the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Retitled "Bang A Gong (Get It On)" by the US record company, it also became the band's only hit in North America.
Electric Warrior has since received acclaim as a pivotal release of the glam rock movement.
Marc Bolan, in a 1971 interview contained on the Rhino Records reissue, said of the album "I think Electric Warrior, for me, is the first album which is a statement of 1971 for us in England. I mean that's... If anyone ever wanted to know why we were big in the other part of the world, that album says it, for me."
The cover artwork was designed by British art design group Hipgnosis, based on a photo taken by Kieron "Spud" Murphy at a T. Rex concert. Murphy also took the photo of the band that was used for the poster that was included with the first issue in the UK and Germany. The inner sleeve artwork, portraits of Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn, was drawn by artist George Underwood.
Electric Warrior was released on 24 September 1971 by record label Fly in the UK and Reprise in the US. It went to number 1 on the UK Albums Chart, staying there at this slot for 8 several weeks. The album remained in the UK chart for 44 weeks. It was preceded by the single "Hot Love", a hit single in the UK, where it stayed at number 1 for six weeks. In the US, Electric Warrior reached number 32 in the Billboard 200 chart.
Two singles were released from the album: "Get It On" and "Jeepster". "Get It On" was T. Rex's biggest selling single, and became the band's only top-ten US hit. In the United States, "Get It On"'s title was originally changed to "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" to distinguish it from Chase's song "Get It On", which was also released in late 1971.
|Christgau's Record Guide||B|
Electric Warrior has received acclaim from critics.
In his retrospective review, Steve Huey of AllMusic gave the album 5/5 stars, writing "the real reason Electric Warrior stands the test of time so well – despite its intended disposability – is that it revels so freely in its own absurdity and willful lack of substance. Not taking himself at all seriously, Bolan is free to pursue whatever silly wordplay, cosmic fantasies or non sequitur imagery he feels like; his abandonment of any pretense to art becomes a statement in itself. Bolan's lack of pomposity, back-to-basics songwriting, and elaborate theatrics went on to influence everything from hard rock to punk to new wave. But in the end, it's that sense of playfulness, combined with a raft of irresistible hooks, that keeps Electric Warrior such an infectious, invigorating listen today."
Village Voice critic Robert Christgau was more reserved in his praise: "As an acoustic warrior, back when he spelled out his group's first name and did concept albums about unicorns, Marc Bolan was considered 'progressive,' which meant he was as foolish as Donovan but not as famous. A freak hit turned him into a singer of rhythmic fairy tales for British pre-pubes, exactly what he was always suited for, and the great 'Bang a Gong' extends his subject matter into the rock myth itself, which has its limits but sure beats unicorns. Now if he'd only recycle a few more pop readymades I could stop complaining about fey."
In 1987, Electric Warrior was ranked number 100 in Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Albums of the Last 20 Years" list. In 2003, the album was ranked number 160 by the same magazine in its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2004, Pitchfork ranked Electric Warrior as the 20th best album of the 1970s. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
The Jam's Paul Weller cited it as one of his all-time favourite records, hailing Bolan's guitar playing as "really unique. You know his sound instantly." The Slits's guitarist Viv Albertine also mentioned a special liking for this album for "the whole sound, the whole cartoony, sexual, and humourous [sic] thing, it's very English as well. I think Prince has taken so much from Bolan." PJ Harvey's main collaborator John Parish included it in his favourites: "when I'm working... I like to have a few records that are most important for me, which I periodically stick on to remind myself just how good records can be. [...] I have a duty to at least try and make something as sweet and irresistible as this". Morrissey covered "Cosmic Dancer" live in 1991, both solo and for a one-off duet with David Bowie during an encore at a Los Angeles' concert; a version was included as a b-side for "Pregnant for the Last Time". American rock band The Bongos released a cover of "Mambo Sun" in 1981. "Get It On" was a hit cover single for rock supergroup The Power Station in 1985. Former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke covered "Life's a Gas" on his 1995 EP, Blooze. The Dax Riggs-led stoner rock band Agents of Oblivion covered "Cosmic Dancer" on their 2000 self-titled album. Poison drummer Rikki Rockett included a cover of "Life's a Gas" on his 2003 solo album Glitter 4 Your Soul. Chad Smith and Josh Klinghoffer of Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded a cover "Jeepster" and "Monolith" for a 2019 Record Store Day 7" release: both songs were originally intended for a T.Rex tribute album.
The song "Jeepster" is featured in a bar scene in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof (2007). In the opening scene of the film Billy Elliot (2000), the title character is shown putting Electric Warrior on a turntable and skipping to the song "Cosmic Dancer". "Cosmic Dancer" was also included in the soundtrack for the film Velvet Goldmine (1998).
All tracks written by Marc Bolan.
|5.||"Lean Woman Blues"||3:02|
|6.||"Get It On"||4:27|
|10.||"Life's a Gas"||2:24|
|Rhino Records reissue bonus tracks|
|12.||"There Was a Time"||1:00|
|14.||"Planet Queen (Acoustic Version)"||3:00|
|17.||"King of the Mountain Cometh"||3:57|
|18.||"The T. Rex Electric Warrior Interview"||19:35|
|30th Anniversary Special Edition bonus tracks|
|12.||"Rip Off (Work in Progress)"||2:30|
|13.||"Mambo Sun (Work in Progress)"||3:57|
|14.||"Cosmic Dancer (Work in Progress)"||5:15|
|15.||"Monolith (Work in Progress)"||4:47|
|16.||"Bang A Gong (Get It On)"||4:43|
|17.||"Planet Queen (Work in Progress)"||0:56|
|18.||"The Motivator (Work in Progress)"||4:19|
|19.||"Life's a Gas (Work in Progress)"||3:14|
- Marc Bolan – vocals, guitar
- Mickey Finn – conga drums, bongos, vocals
- Steve Currie – bass guitar
- Bill Legend – drums, tambourine
- Howard Kaylan – backing vocals
- Mark Volman – backing vocals
- Rick Wakeman – keyboards on "Get It On"
- Ian McDonald – saxophone
- Burt Collins – flugelhorn
- Tony Visconti – production
- Roy Thomas Baker – engineering
- Martin Rushent - tape operator
- George Underwood – artwork, photography
- George Marino – mastering
|UK Albums Chart||1971||1|
|US Billboard 200||1972||32|
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