The anniversary of T.Rex’s 1971 LP marks half a century of glam rock supremacy
I have the same bed schedule as a junkie, sleep makes me nervous. I keep my blinds open at all times so if I happen to snooze too late, the sun burns me awake at the crack of dawn. It’s 5:45am on a Friday and I’m headed straight for my copy of “Electric Warrior”. For this defect of mine, I blame “Life’s a Gas” for sounding so damn impeccable as I take my morning stretch.
I have a deep seeded itch for speeding. I can't stand to drive my little black bullet to comply with what the signs have posted to save my life or anyone else's. For a speeding ticket that I’ll be paying off for the next seven years, I blame “Jeepster” for sounding so crisp through my speakers with the top down.
I have turned down every suitor who has come through my dingy pad on Alder Street. They wrote me sonnets and they’ve brought me roses, but for this standoffishness I blame Marc Bolan for always setting the standard too high. Unless they tell me I’m built like a car and got a hubcap diamond star halo, I refuse their every advance.
“Electric Warrior” chewed me up and spat me out in more ways than one. It both ruined my life and enhanced it beyond compare. To my greatest vice in an album, I wish the happiest of 50th birthdays to T. Rex’s most magnificent display of arrogance and pomp. With the bringing of this 1971 LP, glam rock was born into the world, brightening music’s dark corners and making earth pick up the pace on its once lazy axis.
It was February of 1971 and T.rex’s single by the title of “Hot Love '' had just dropped on the English label Fly. And fly it did, straight to number one for a consecutive six weeks. With the success of this hot single, Trex made their way across the pond from the UK to the USA for a few shows at the Whisky in Los Angeles and to meet with their New York based manager, Tony Visconti.
Before their departure from England, they’d recorded a few tracks at Trident Studios in London and then went on to polish off the project at both Wally Heider in Los Angeles & Media Sound in NYC. Talk about a total trifecta of the greatest places to record in the western world in a span of only 4 months. This project, beginning in March, would boast 11 impeccable tracks by that June, all wrapped up in ribbon for a September 24th release.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and this album is no exception. Upon its release, “Electric Warrior” was passed off as teeny bop slop and the stray away from where the Bolan’s integrity lay back in 1968 didn’t sit right with critics. Tracks did chart and gained T.rex mania in England, but this album isn’t remembered in an iota of the glory its galactic title deserves.
How did we as a society let “Bang a Gong” and only “Bang a Gong'' become the household staple from this timeless gift? Bolan boasts the perfect amount of hubris on this album, it's a sexy jiving confidence that absolutely chucks me out of my seat and onto the dance floor dead sober on any given weeknight. T.rex boils down to Bolan and that pocket sized powerhouse serves an unmatched shredderey with a gap-toothed grin. The lyrics are whimsical and fun, yes, but that doesn’t make them any less mature than what else was coming out of ‘71. Tangencially, The Doors are my favorite band — the four of those guys could beat me to a pulp in a Denny’s parking lot and I’d say thank you — but how does L.A Woman’s “Love her Madly” equate to adult music and “Planet Queen” not?
Without Warrior, we wouldn’t have gotten “Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars” a year later in ‘72, we wouldn’t have heard Queen, or Roxy Music quite the same way, and we wouldn't have gotten any track off of Transformer for shits sake. Without Warrior, I wouldn’t make half the poor life choices that I proudly execute every day and without Warrior, this world wouldn't have quite the same appetite for boogie.
Cheers to 50 years of the album that defined more than we could track and trace in music’s chronology. We are indebted to the funk, as Bolan so gracefully put it, “like a child in the sands on the beach on the land of you,”