Dirty, Sweet and 50: T. Rex’s ‘Electric Warrior’ album celebrates milestone anniversary today

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the release of British glam-rock legends T. Rex‘s classic album Electric Warrior.

The record was the Marc Bolan-fronted group’s sixth overall and its second after the band shortened its original moniker, Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Electric Warrior spent eight nonconsecutive weeks at #1 on the U.K. albums chart in late 1971 and early ’72, while peaking at #32 on the Billboard 200. It includes the band’s signature song, “Get It On,” which topped the U.K. singles tally, while reaching #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 — becoming T. Rex’s only top-40 hit in the U.S.

The album also features “Jeepster,” a #2 U.K. hit, and such other gems as “Mambo Sun,” “Cosmic Dancer” and “Life’s a Gas.”

In the U.S., “Get It On” was retitled “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” to avoid confusion with a then-popular song by the jazz-rock band Chase.

Longtime Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman played piano on “Get It On.” Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman of The Turtles and Frank Zappa fame contributed backing vocals to Electric Warrior, while ex-King Crimson multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald, who later became a founding member of Foreigner, played saxophone on the record.

Electric Warrior, which was written entirely by Bolan and produced by frequent David Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti, is considered among the first glam-rock albums, if not the very first.

The record’s influence could be heard in the early-to-mid-1970s music of Bowie, Elton John, The Hollies and The Rolling Stones, and went on to inspire many artists who emerged from the punk and new wave scenes.

Here’s the full track list of Electric Warrior:

“Mambo Sun”
“Cosmic Dancer”
“Jeepster”
“Monolith”
“Lean Woman Blues”
“Get It On”
“Planet Queen”
“Girl”
“The Motivator”
“Life’s a Gas”
“Rip Off”

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