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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.
|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|
The album reached number 1 on the UK charts and became the best selling album of 1971. The top 10 single "Bang A Gong (Get It On)" also became the band's only US hit. Electric Warrior has since received acclaim as a pivotal release of the glam rock movement.
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 at the Albert Hall, Nottingham on 14 May 1971. 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. Electric Warrior reached number 32 in the US Billboard 200 chart and went to number 1 on the UK Albums Chart, staying there for several weeks and becoming the best-selling album in the UK in 1971. It was preceded by the single "Hot Love", a million-selling single in the UK, where it stayed at number 1 for six weeks.
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. The printing of the song title "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" on the back cover of original Reprise Records North American pressings of Electric Warrior is in a different typeface from the surrounding text, with the song's original title retained on the lyric sheet.
|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".
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).
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."
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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. Five songs from the album – "Cosmic Dancer", "Jeepster", "Get It On", "Life's a Gas" and "Rip Off" – were covered by various artists on the tribute album Great Jewish Music: Marc Bolan in 1998. 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.
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
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- "Electric Warrior – T. Rex | Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
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- "T. Rex – Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: T". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 16 March 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
- James, Brian (25 February 2003). "T. Rex: Electric Warrior | Album Review | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- Q (9/01, pp.137-8) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Glistening, seemingly extra-terrestrial prettiness....bewitching stuff..."
- Burgess, Andrew (23 April 2012). "T Rex – Electric Warrior". MusicOMH. MusicOMH. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- Jones, Chris (29 September 2003). "BBC – Music – Review of T. Rex – Electric Warrior (SACD)". BBC Music. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- Gerson, Ben (6 January 1972). "T. Rex Electric Warrior review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- Roberts, Chris (October 2001). "T. Rex – Electric Warrior". Uncut. Rocks Back Pages. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- Needs, Kris. "T.REX - ELECTRIC WARRIOR: DELUXE EDITION". Record Collector. Record Collector. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- "Staff Lists: Top 100 Albums of the 1970s | Features | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. 23 June 2004. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
- Colegate, Mat (7 May 2015). "At His Modjesty's Request: Paul Weller's Favourite Albums". The Quietus. Archived from the original on 8 August 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
- Hasson, Thomas (18 April 2013). "Like Choosing A Lover: Viv Albertine's Favourite Albums". The Quietus. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
- "Spot Five Records That Move The Animal in Producer/Sideman Extraordinaire John Parrish (PJ Harvey/Eels)". CMJ New Music Monthly: 18. November 2002.
- "Life's A Gas - Cilla Black & Marc Bolan Song - BBC Music". BBC. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
- Hann, Michael (15 September 2014). "Cilla Black: five unlikely musical moments". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
- Dave Milton. "Marc Bolan & Cilla Black - Life's A Gas". YouTube. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
- "The Official UK Charts Company: All the Number 1 Albums". Official Charts. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2014.