The Slider is the seventh studio album by English rock band T. Rex, and the third since abbreviating their name from Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was released on 21 July 1972 by record labels EMI and Reprise. Two number-one singles, "Telegram Sam" and "Metal Guru", were released to promote the album. Issued at the height of the band's popularity, The Slider received acclaim from critics, and reached number 4 in the UK charts and number 17 in the US.

The Slider
Studio album by
Released21 July 1972 (1972-07-21)
RecordedMarch–April 1972
LabelT. REX (UK), Reprise (US)
ProducerTony Visconti
T. Rex chronology
Electric Warrior
The Slider
Singles from The Slider
  1. "Telegram Sam"
    Released: January 1972
  2. "Metal Guru"
    Released: May 1972

Recording and production edit

On the recommendation of Elton John, The Slider was recorded outside of Paris at Château d'Hérouville to avoid British taxing laws.[3] Production started in March 1972 and the basic recordings were completed in Strawberry Studios in five days.[3][4] One of the songs recorded at Chateau was "Metal Guru".[4] Bolan described the song as a "festival of life song", and that he related "Metal Guru" to "all gods around... someone special, a godhead. I thought how god would be, he'd be all alone without a telephone".[5]

Further recording was done at the end of March in Rosenberg Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark.[4] The backing vocals by Flo & Eddie were recorded at Elektra Studios in Los Angeles, in April.[4]

Like all previous T. Rex albums, The Slider was produced by Tony Visconti.

Album cover edit

The album notes credit Ringo Starr with the front and back cover photographs. The photographs were taken the same day that Starr was filming the T. Rex documentary Born to Boogie at John Lennon's estate, Tittenhurst Park.[citation needed][6] Producer Tony Visconti, however, disputes that Starr took the photograph, stating "Marc [Bolan] handed me his motorized Nikon and asked me to fire off two rolls of black and white film while we were on the set of Born to Boogie. Ringo, the director of the film, was busy all day lining up shots. But Marc apparently saw a photo credit opportunity and gave Ringo the credit for the photos."[7]

The iconic grainy image is due in part to how the film was processed. The film from the Born to Boogie shoot was couriered to Robert Horner Photography in Kensington. A young darkroom technician – a fan of T. Rex, keen to see the pictures – developed the four rolls of black and white 35mm film. The developing chemical,  Kodak D76, was heated to a temperature far higher than recommended, shortening the processing time. However, the stop bath chemical, used to prevent the film from developing further prior to fixation, remained at the lower regular temperature. This resulted in reticulation of the film emulsion, adding a subtle but interesting effect to the image.

Although Guns N' Roses covered Bolan's "Buick Makane" (featured on a Rhino reissue of The Slider), the cover was not an influence on the top hat worn by GNR guitarist Slash. "People always ask me that because of the Slider cover," he remarked. "But, no, that had nothing to do with it."[8]

Release edit

Two singles were released to promote The Slider. The first was "Telegram Sam" which was released January 1972 and charted in the United Kingdom for twelve weeks and peaked at number 1.[9][10] "Telegram Sam" also charted in the United States and peaked at 67 on the Pop Singles chart.[11] The second single was "Metal Guru" which was released in May 1972 and charted in the United Kingdom for fourteen weeks and peaked at number 1.[9][10] It did not chart in the United States.[11]

The Slider was released on 21 July 1972 by record labels EMI in the UK and Reprise in the US. It entered the United Kingdom charts on 5 August 1972 where it stayed for eighteen weeks, peaking at number 4.[12] In the United States, where the album was promoted upon release with a television commercial featuring the band miming to "Chariot Choogle", it peaked at number 17 on the Billboard 200 chart.[11]

Reissues edit

The Slider was reissued in the UK in 1985 on the Marc On Wax label. All non-album tracks released in 1972 were included on a bonus disc (bonus tracks on the CD version). A Japanese CD release on SMS records dating to 1986 uses the same track list but a different mastering. Later CD releases on Teldec and Relativity omitted the bonus tracks. The Slider was remastered again for CD by Edsel Records in 1994 as part of their extensive T. Rex reissue campaign and a number of different bonus tracks were appended. A companion release, entitled Rabbit Fighter (The Alternate Slider), was released in 1995 and contained alternative versions and radio sessions of the main album and bonus tracks. A combined CD digipak of these releases was issued in 2002. Also in 2002, further recordings from the Slider sessions were released by Thunderwing Productions Limited (TPL), the owners of several original ¼", 1" and 2" Master Tape recordings of Marc Bolan and T. Rex. These tracks were released as The Slider Recordings. In 2010, The Slider was remastered and reissued by Fat Possum Records. The remastering was done by Chicago Mastering.

In 2012, the 40th Anniversary re-issue came out, a new remaster by producer Visconti, including B-sides, outtakes and an unheard demo of the title track taken from Visconti's private collection. The set contained two CDs and a 180g pressing of the newly remastered album. In addition the three singles also got vinyl pressings. A DVD was also included with a 105-minute interview with Visconti along with archive interview clips and TV footage.

Reception edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [13]
Consequence of Sound     [14]
PopMatters          [15]
Pitchfork9.8/10 (2006)[16]
9.5/10 (2019)[17]
Q     [citation needed]
Rolling Stone     [citation needed]

From contemporary reviews, Richard Williams of The Times reviewed the album alongside Rod Stewart's Never A Dull Moment and David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and Roxy Music's Roxy Music.[18] Williams found Bolan to be "the least obviously talented".[18] Williams found that the "narrow range and musical repetitiousness" of the music did not matter as it made "his records immediately recognizable on the radio." and that the album "is full of songs of a slightness which is wondrous to behold. But the hushed intimacy of Bolan's vocal delivery helps to make one word do the work of ten — particularly when combined with his gift of coining oddly appealing images."[18] Williams also praised the work of Tony Visconti, declaring "I'm inclined to think that it's Visconti more than anyone who's responsible for Bolan's success; his arrangements and production give T. Rex's work a quality which the group's leader could never have achieved alone."[18] Ben Edmonds of Creem felt that after "Telegram Sam" and "Metal Guru" that "there isn't another single on the album."[19] Edmonds found the other tracks on the album "kind of bumps along from track to track [...] The rest of the material is nice but kinda lackluster, and Bolan isn't helped much by a terribly ordinary rhythm section and Mickey Finn's non-existent percussion. If you aren't already a T. Rex fanatic, then The Slider isn't going to do very much about making you one."[19] Loraine Alterman of The New York Times commented on the lyrics that would "undoubtedly sound quite profound to 14-year-old ears" and that "it's a long, long way from Bolan's 'Ballrooms of Mars' to Yeats' 'Byzantium'."[20] Alterman concluded that "even to ears successfully past puberty, Mr, Bolan does have a certain fey charm that in the end defies analysis."[20]

In his retrospective review, Steve Huey of AllMusic wrote, "Even if it treads largely the same ground as Electric Warrior, The Slider is flawlessly executed, and every bit the classic that its predecessor is."[13] Andy Beta of Pitchfork gave the album a 9.5/10 grade, and wrote that the album "marked both the zenith and imminent approach of the cliff's edge for T. Rextasy. Recorded in a dilapidated castle in France, it captured Marc Bolan as the King of Glam at the absolute height of his powers." LA Weekly praised the album as "a hauntingly unique masterpiece"[21]

Legacy edit

Johnny Marr of the Smiths cited it as one of his favourite albums, saying: "The Slider came out and it had 'Metal Guru' on it. It was a song that changed my life as I had never heard anything so beautiful and so strange, but yet so catchy. 'Telegram Sam' was also on that album and the whole thing was unusually spooky and had a weird atmosphere, considering it was a number one record and they were essentially a teenybop band".[22] Gary Numan also hailed it among his favourites: "Song after song after song… and the title track; it's a not typical album-title track. You'd normally go for one of the big singles and The Sliders got a very slow, lazy groove thing. It's just great. It's just the sexiest track".[23]

"Ballrooms of Mars" was featured in the 2003 comedy film School of Rock, and was used as the opening theme of the Spanish TV series Punta Escarlata. "Ballrooms of Mars" also appeared in the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club. The lyrics of the song "Baby Boomerang" became a plot element in a 1973 episode of Cannon, "The Hard Rock Roller Coaster."

A poster for the album is pinned to the wall in the video for Aztec Camera's 'Somewhere in my heart' (1988).

Track listing edit

All tracks are written by Marc Bolan

Side A
1."Metal Guru"2:25
2."Mystic Lady"3:09
3."Rock On"3:26
4."The Slider"3:22
5."Baby Boomerang"2:17
6."Spaceball Ricochet"3:37
7."Buick Mackane"3:31
Total length:21:57
Side B
1."Telegram Sam"3:42
2."Rabbit Fighter"3:55
3."Baby Strange"3:03
4."Ballrooms of Mars"4:09
5."Chariot Choogle"2:45
6."Main Man"4:14
Total length:21:08
Marc On Wax/SMS bonus tracks
16."Children of the Revolution"2:27
17."Jitterbug Love"2:52
18."Sunken Rags"2:49
19."Solid Gold Easy Action"2:16
Code 90 bonus tracks
Rhino bonus tracks
17."Metal Guru"2:32
18."Mystic Lady"3:22
19."Rock On"3:37
20."The Slider"3:28
22."Spaceball Ricochet"3:43
23."Buick McCane"3:49
24."Telegram Sam"2:30
25."Rabbit Fighter"4:02
26."Baby Strange"3:00
27."Ballrooms of Mars"4:13
29."Main Man"6:06
31."Sunken Rags"3:59
Thunderwing bonus tracks
17."Sunken Rags"4:04
40th Anniversary bonus tracks
4."Rock On" (Outtake)3:34
5."The Slider" (Acoustic Outtake)3:28
6."Buick McCane" (Outtake)3:49
7."Sugar Baby (Rabbit Fighter)"3:49
8."Baby Strange" (Incomplete)3:12
9."Slider Blues" (Home Demo)3:58
10."Buick Mackane II" (Outtake)5:13
11."Baby Strange" (Outtake)4:10
12."Ballrooms of Mars" (Outtake)4:10
13."The Slider" (Acoustic demo)3:46
14."Radio Interview, 26 August 1972"14:33
15."Telegram Sam" (DVD disc: Top of the Pops, 19 January 1972) 
16."Metal Guru" (DVD disc: Top of the Pops, 24 May 1972) 
17."Metal Guru" (DVD disc: Christmas Top of the Pops, 21 December 1972) 
18."Cadillac" (DVD disc: Music in the Round, 8 December 1971) 
19."Spaceball Ricochet" (DVD disc: Music in the Round, 8 December 1971) 
20."Telegram Sam" (DVD disc: Music in the Round, 8 December 1971) 
21."Marc Bolan Interviewed by Russell Harty" (DVD disc: Eleven Plus, 23 July 1972) 

Personnel edit

  • Tony Visconti – producer
  • Ringo Starr – sleeve photography
  • Dominique Freddy Hansson – engineering
  • David Katz – orchestra master[25]
  • Mick O'Halloran – Front of house Technician/ Lead road manager
  • Steve Little - Stage Manager/ PA to Marc/Roadie
  • Micky Marmalade-Roadie/Driver

Charts edit

References edit

  1. ^ Swanson, Dave. "How T. Rex Created a Glam Milestone With 'The Slider'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 1 April 2023.
  2. ^ Borack, John M., ed. (2007). Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Guide To Power Pop. Fort Collins, Colorado: Not Lame Recording Company. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-9797714-0-8.
  3. ^ a b Paytress 2002, p. 208.
  4. ^ a b c d Paytress 2002, p. 209.
  5. ^ Thompson, Dave. "Metal Guru – T. Rex | Listen, Appearances, Song Review | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  6. ^ Visconti, Tony (2007). Tony Visconti: The Autobiography: Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy. UK: Harper Collins. pp. 192–193. ISBN 9780007229451.
  7. ^ Visconti, Tony. "Tony Visconti v3.0". Archived from the original on 18 March 2004. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  8. ^ Q: 70. March 1994. {{cite journal}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ a b Paytress 2002, p. 341.
  10. ^ a b Warwick, Kutner & Brown 2004, p. 1082.
  11. ^ a b c "The Slider – the Billboard 200". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 24 January 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  12. ^ Warwick, Kutner & Brown 2004, p. 1083.
  13. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "The Slider – T. Rex | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  14. ^ Young, Alex (27 October 2010). "T.Rex – The Slider | Album Reviews | Consequence of Sound". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  15. ^ Nelson, Dylan (9 December 2010). "T. Rex: The Slider". PopMatters. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  16. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (5 January 2006). "T. Rex: The Slider / Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow / Dandy in the Underworld / The T. Rex Wax Co. Singles: A's and B's 1972–77". Pitchfork. Retrieved 25 June 2023.
  17. ^ Beta, Andy. "T. Rex - The Slider". Pitchfork. Condé Nast. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  18. ^ a b c d Williams 1972.
  19. ^ a b Edmonds 1972.
  20. ^ a b Alterman 1972.
  21. ^ Clayton, Chuck. "T. Rex, Baby.". 15 February 2006. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  22. ^ Freeman, John (16 June 2015). "Rubber Rings: Johnny Marr's Favourite Albums". The Quietus. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  23. ^ Marszalek, Julian (6 December 2012). "Music For A Chameleon: Gary Numan's 13 Favourite Albums". The Quietus. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  24. ^ "A Conversation with Tony Visconti". 28 October 2019.
  25. ^ The Slider (Liner notes). EMI. 1972.
  26. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 302. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  27. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. 1972. Archived from the original on 9 May 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  28. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. 1973. Archived from the original on 23 May 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2022.

External links edit