Archive for the ‘T. Rex’ Category

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Listen: Debora / Tyrannosaurus Rex

Never will I forget the sight of this first US single by Tyrannosaurus Rex. Their name was so foreign at the time, completely intimidating to all, particularly US programers. Yes, they were full of reasons back then to keep adventurous music off the airwaves too. Add to that the band’s warlock folk, as one reviewer called it. He couldn’t have conjured up a more tempting challenge.

A&M never did release either their first nor second album in the US when current, just this lone 7″, ‘Debora’.

The Los Angeles label had a deal with Regal Zonophone out of the UK, or maybe it was directly with Denny Cordell’s and Tony Secunda’s production company, Tarantula. Basically, the arrangement covered US representation for their UK artists: Procol Harum, Joe Cocker & The Grease Band, The Move and Tyrannosaurus Rex.

The latter two benefiting only from singles being issued in the US, and in the case of Tyrannosaurus Rex, just this one. WOUR were only too glad to have me cart their copy out of the building. That bunch literally had no clue. Bless their studipity.

Listen: Ride A White Swan / Tyrannosaurus Rex

What seemed like a generation later actually was one short year. Their third and fourth albums, UNICORN (’69) and A BEARD OF STARS (’70) were near perfect, still as exhilarating today as then. By this time, Bob Krasnow had picked up the band for his Blue Thumb label. He released both albums in quick succession plus ‘Ride A White Swan’ almost immediately after A BEARD OF STARS.

Although still using the full Tyrannosaurus Rex moniker in the US, Marc Bolan and Steve Peregrin-Took had officially shortened their name to T. Rex elsewhere, coinciding with their full on electric and pop path, not unlike Bob Dylan’s gear shift with BLONDE ON BLONDE, bar a name change to B. Dylan.

Almost simultaneously, Bob, as in Krasnow, joined Warner Brothers Records’ A&R department, bringing T. Rex with him. The rest is history.

T. Rex

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Listen: I Love To Boogie / T. Rex
I Love To Boogie / T. Rex

Everyone loves Marc Bolan. If you don’t, then you are not being honest with yourself. He made so many great records, never stopped trying in the early rejection years, and became a advocator for punk as it overtook glam in the later years. He didn’t get into that us-against-them frame of mind. Instead, he found love and warmth for the new voice of youth. He was never going to grow old. Did any of his peers invite The Damned on tour? We all know the answer.

‘I Love To Boogie’ was called throwaway by singles critics in the weekly UK music press. But critics tend to try dragging you into their poor, frustrated and unpleasant misery….if you let them.

‘I Love To Boogie’ has stood the test of time. It’s simplicity now a greater power than the most produced, orchestrated and probably commercially more successful tracks at the time by the likes of, say, Queen, The Electric Light Orchestra and Toto too.

Just as with Prince’s ‘Sign Of The Times’ or ‘Kiss’, less is more. Way, way more.


Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Blockbuster / The Sweet

Listen: Blockbuster / The Sweet

Their very first single was released as far back as ’68, but not until they were taken on by the songwriting/production team of Chapman/Chinn in the early 70′s, did they succeed. Their infamous Glam rock hit streak began in ’71 and lasted thru ’75. At that point, they sadly curbed the stacked heels and glitter outfits to become a straight ahead AOR rock band.

Somewhere in there, ’73 actually, The Sweet released ‘Blockbuster’. This was at the height of Glam in the UK. Along with Slade, Wizzard, Sparks, T. Rex and David Bowie, they basically slipped into and out of the top chart slots regularly.

I lived in London at the time, and must have played ‘Blockbuster’ a thousand times on my suitcase record player, yet never ever did I tire of it. The single got new life in the 90′s, when the video series GLAM ROCK was released. One of their many Top Of The Pops performances was included. I watched it over and over and over and over and over again.

Last night, I was awoken by a pretty fierce thunderstorm. I was weired out, but got up, got dressed and went out to watch. Having visited Collinwood, Maine earlier in the day, specifically to check out the town where the DARK SHADOWS TV series was based in. Some say vampire Barnabas Collins really existed and I, like many, was addicted to the program in a serious way and so it truly felt the spirits were messing with me. Being alone in our house, other than Corinne out dead cold, I was very creeped out. Truly scared to be honest. Never saw lightning hit the ocean like that in my life. I felt like the DARK SHADOWS spirits were warning me to stay put in my own pathetic world, and not to mess with them.

Dear spirits. I will behave and never return.

Once the storm and the ocean calmed, I was back to normal. Went to YouTube and before long, I was in a Glam rock loop I couldn’t shake until about 5:30 am. I found a TOTP Sweet clip, obviously from a different broadcast than the aforementioned one used for the comp. It’s even better:

Listen: Fox On The Run / The Sweet

Somehow, thank you God, The Sweet visited upsate New York, opening for, I think Eric Carmen. Some hairdo there Eric, a frosted bouffant, or hair don’t in hindsight.

Typically when any of the coined Glam bands (Sparks, Wizzard, Slade) braved their music and outfits into the smaller towns of the US, there were few, if any, comforting ports in the anti-androgyny storm as far as people went. So when a bunch of us showed up early, it was well easy to befriend the band, thereby ultimately being invited to share in the after show mayhem bigtime. Not that surprising….we had the party favors.

But we did genuinely love The Sweet. Everyone in the band were super warm. Great guys.

Many years later, I picked up the soundtrack to DAZED AND CONFUSED for my label, only because The Sweet (‘Fox On The Run’) were included. I wasn’t particularly fond of the other songs, in fact, I’ve never listened to the cd ever. On a whim, I figured it would be kind of great having The Sweet in the catalog, thereby negotiating a criminally low advance in my favor, given the film company’s planned and verbally agreed original soundtrack release partner, MCA, had bailed. Hence the desperate film division took the offer. The soundtrack has now sold 2 million copies to date and it’s all basically due to my loyalty toward The Sweet.

Gladys Knight & The Pips

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Listen: Nitty Gritty / Gladys Knight & The Pips GladysNitty.mp3

What’s really proof of this record’s power: the most addicted to any other genre of music fan can’t resist instant curiosity when ‘The Nitty Gritty’ powers through a set of speakers. I had quite the time spinning singles at Brooklyn Bowl last Sunday with Lord Wardd, playing mostly 60′s – present, basically tomorrow’s sound today stuff – even the one’s from the 60′s and 70′s, when released, would have been considered that: The Small Faces, T. Rex, or X. So it’s really fun to watch a younger but musically informed crowd light up when some down and dirty funk or soul hits. Even better, a whole bunch of parents and their young kids, out bowling for a fun afternoon, suddenly doing an about face toward the DJ booth with that ‘Oh my God, I remember this’ look burned onto their face.

Gladys Knight could belt it out every time, when she was given the green light that is. Looking back on a few gems like ‘The Nitty Gritty’ need only one listen to show us why.

Some friends stuck with her from the Motown move to Buddah. Suddenly she was sounding a touch buffed around the edges for my tastes, but the pre ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ era, all that Tamla/Norman Whitfield stuff, there’s no topping it.

The Mickey Finn

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

mickeyfinnnightcomesusa, The Mickey Finn, T. Rex, Shel Talmy, World Artists, Jimmy Page

Listen: Night Comes Down / The Mickey Finn MickeyFinnNight.mp3

Often confused with the bongo player from T. Rex, this is actually a band, not that person. The Mickey Finn’s career highpoint, according to most, was a two single association with producer Shel Talmy. And if you want to have your heart freeze for kicks, check out his discography.

Out of that came ‘Night Comes Down’ / ‘This Sporting Life’, their only US release via World Artists. Seems Shel Talmy had some juice there, having produced a few big hits for Chad & Jeremy. Although not listed on the above discography, I do believe he also produced The Moments version of Ray Davies’ ‘You Really Got Me’ for the label. The Moments were Steve Marriott’s first band, predating The Small Faces. That single, as with The Mickey Finn release, are stupid rare, making them very fun items to have and hold.

I got an unsolicited call from Shel Talmy many years back, I think when I was either at Elektra or Island. He had moved to LA, and was looking for work, still in that has-been stretch, not yet having graduated to legend status. I foolishly didn’t follow up, not necessarily with getting him some work, but neither forging a friendship, something I do regret.

mickeyfinnidoloveuk, The Mickey Finn, T. Rex, Shel Talmy, World Artists, Jimmy Page

Listen: I Do Love You / The Mickey Finn MickeyFinnIDoLove.mp3

Of lesser notoriaty is the band’s ’66 single “I Do Love You’. And I’m not sure why. Even amongst those who live for all things underrated, this is very underrated. It starts out noticeably similar to ‘Heart Trouble’ by The Eyes Of Blue, and then proceeds to a perfect groove a la The Foundations. I’d give anything to know how many copies would have been pressed of a single like this.


Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

sunnydoctors, Sunny, Sue & Sunny, The Brotherhood Of Man, Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway, Geoff Stephens, CBS

Listen: Doctor’s Orders / Sunny SunnyDoctors.mp3

Basically Sunny has loads of history. Solo artist, one half of Sue & Sunny (both of whom were also members of The Brotherhood Of Man) and background voice on many, many, many hit singles (Dusty Springfield, Elton John, The Love Affair, Lulu, Mott The Hoople, T. Rex, Tom Jones, and Joe Cocker to name but a few bigger ones). She’s probably on more records than even she can remember – let alone you or me.

Often associated with the Cook & Greenaway writer/producer team, it was their song ‘Doctor’s Order’ (co-written with Geoff Stephens, himself claim to a long list of song credits: The Applejacks, Manfred Mann, Scott Walker, Dave Berry, Frank Sinatra, The Carpenters) that became a favorite for literally months in ’74. As into rock and soul as I was in ’74, the occasional pop track would bite me hard. I was never comfortable that Sunny’s version didn’t become the US hit version, it was better and smoother than Carol Douglas’. Rest of world though, the crown went to the awesome Sunny. I want to meet her someday.


Monday, July 27th, 2009

kennybumpus, Kenny, Jonathan King, UK Records, Phil Coulter, Bill Martin, RAK, Glam, Glitter From The Litter Bin, The Space Raiders

Listen: The Bump / Kenny KennyBump.mp3

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kennyjulieusa, Kenny, Jonathan King, UK Records, Phil Coulter, Bill Martin, RAK, Glam, Glitter From The Litter Bin, The Space Raiders" title="kennybumpus, Kenny, Jonathan King, UK Records, Phil Coulter, Bill Martin, RAK, Glam, Glitter From The Litter Bin, The Space Raiders

Listen: Julie Anne / Kenny KennyJulie.mp3

spaceraidersglamraid, space raiders, kenny, skint trcords

Listen: Glam Raid / The Space Raiders SpaceRaidersGlamRaid.mp3

There’s a great compilation titled GLITTER FROM THE LITTER BIN; 20 JUNK SHOP GLAM RARITIES. It’s a fun listen but it’s the message here that counts. Long snubbed as uncool, juvenile, manufactured, throwaway – you name it, I could never quite understand everyone’s problem with glam. The production was fantastic, drum and treble heavy, fun clothes and haircuts to match, and a threatening mix of androgyny (which indeed were assets to David Bowie, T, Rex or Roxy Music when convenient). No problem here. I was a proud fan and collector.

Kenny (band not person) churned out some hits, including these two masterpieces. Written by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter, as with all their material, ‘The Bump’ is a literal blueprint of glam. Fair enough, The Sweet, Slade, Sparks and Wizzard can equally claim such feats, but that doesn’t void out ‘The Bump’. Although released on Mickie Most’s RAK Records in the UK, Kenny flip flopped from pilar to post label-wise in the US. ‘The Bump’ was picked up by Jonathan King in the States, issuing it on his UK Records imprint through London. Sampled years later by The Space Raiders on their fantastic ‘Glam Raid’ (listen above), it verified some needed credibility to the song’s worth.

‘Julie Anne’ probably veered a bit more mainstream teen pop than glam, but the effervescent sound of super K was well intact. A pop classic.