Steve Peregrin Took (T.Rex)

Steve Peregrin Took, the original percussionist with glam rock band T.Rex was born 28 July 1949. T. Rex were originally Formed in 1967 as Tyrannosaurus Rex, After a solitary performance as a four-piece the group immediately broke up. However Bolan retained the services of percussionist Steve Peregrin Took and the duo began performing acoustic material. The combination of Bolan’s acoustic guitar and distinctive vocal style with Took’s bongos and assorted percussion earned them a devoted following in the thriving hippy underground scene which included the late great BBC Radio One Disc jockey John Peel who championed the band early in their recording career. By 1968, Tyrannosaurus Rex had become a modest success on radio and on record, and had released three albums. While Bolan’s early material was rock and roll-influenced pop music, he was also writing dramatic and baroque songs with lush melodies and surreal lyrics filled with Greek and Persian mythology as well as creations of his own. However Bolan replaced Took with percussionist Mickey Finn, and they completed the album A Beard of Stars.

As well as progressively shorter titles, Tyrannosaurus Rex’s albums began to show higher production values, more accessible songwriting and experimentation with electric guitars and a true rock sound. The breakthrough came with “King of the Rumbling Spires” which used a full rock band. The group’s next album, T. Rex, continued the process of simplification by shortening the name, and completed the move to electric guitars.The new sound was more pop-oriented, They released the first single, “Ride a White Swan”, in late 1970 and was followed by a second single, “Hot Love”. Before one performance Mickey Finn’s girlfriend Chelita Secunda added two spots of glitter under Bolan’s eyes before an appearance on Top of the Pops, the ensuing performance would often be viewed as the birth of glam rock. After Bolan’s display, glam rock would gain popularity in the UK and Europe during 1971–72. In September 1971, T. Rex released their second album Electric Warrior which contained one of their best-known song, “Get It On”. and is Often considered to be their best album. it became a top ten hit in the US, where the song was retitled “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” to distinguish it from a 1971 song by the group Chase.

This album still recalled Bolan’s acoustic roots with ballads such as “Cosmic Dancer” and the stark “Girl” & brought much commercial success to the group, & the term “T. Rextasy” was coined as a parallel to Beatlemania to describe the group’s popularity. Along with David Bowie’s early hits, “Get It On” was among the few British glam rock songs that were successful in the US. This was followed by more glam rock hits during the 1970′s including “Jeepster”, “20th Century Boy”, “Children of the Revolution”, “Hot Love”, “Telegram Sam”, and “Metal Guru”. On 18 March 1972, T. Rex played two shows at the Empire Pool, Wembley, which were filmed by Ringo Starr and his crew for Apple Films. A large part of the second show was included on Bolan’s own rock film Born to Boogie, while bits and pieces of the first show can be seen throughout the film’s end-credits. Along with T. Rex and Starr, Born to Boogie also features Elton John, who jammed with the friends to create rocking studio versions of “Children of the Revolution” and “Tutti Frutti”; Elton John had appeared on TV with Bolan before, miming the piano part of “Get it On” on the 1971 Christmas edition of Top of the Pops. T. Rex’s third album The Slider was released in July 1972. The band’s most successful album in the US, The Slider was not as successful as its predecessor in the UK. In 1972, Bolan’s old label Fly released the chart-topping compilation album Bolan Boogie, a collection of singles, B-sides and LP tracks, which affected The Slider’s sales. Two singles from The Slider, “Telegram Sam” and “Metal Guru”, became number one hits in the UK.

The film Born to Boogie premiered at the Oscar One cinema in London, in December 1972. The film received negative reviews from critics, while it was loved by fans. Tanx (1973) would mark the end of the classic T. Rex lineup. An album full of melancholy ballads and rich production, Tanx showcased the T. Rex sound bolstered by extra instrumental embellishments such as Mellotron and saxophone. During the recording T. Rex members began to quit, starting with Bill Legend in November 1973. Legend felt alienated by Bolan’s increasingly egotistical behaviour, which was fed by success, money, cocaine, and brandy. Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow was released on 1 February 1974, and reached number 12 in the UK.  This album had long song-titles and lyrical complexity, Bolan’s Zip Gun (1975) was self-produced and written by Bolan who gave his music a harder, more futuristic sheen. The final song recorded with Visconti, “Till Dawn”, was re-recorded for Bolan’s Zip Gun with Bolan at the controls.

T. Rex’s penultimate album, Futuristic Dragon (1976), featured a schizophrenic production style that veered from wall of sound-style songs to nostalgic nods to the old T. Rex boogie machine. In the summer of 1976, T. Rex released two more singles, “I Love to Boogie” and “Laser Love”, In early 1977 Dandy in the Underworld was released to critical acclaim and the band experienced something of a resurgence. Sadly though, While driving home Jones crashed Bolan’s purple Mini 1275GT into a tree (now the site of Bolan’s Rock Shrine), after failing to negotiate a small humpback bridge in, southwest London. While Jones was severely injured, Bolan was killed in the crash, two weeks before his 30th birthday. However T. Rex vastly influenced the glam rock, punk rock and Britpop genres. Johnny Marr of The Smiths stated: “The influence of T. Rex is very profound on certain songs of the Smiths like “Panic” and “Shoplifters of the World Unite”. T. Rex are specifically referenced by The Who in the lyrics of their 1981 hit song “You Better You Bet”, by David Bowie in the song “All the Young Dudes” (which he wrote for Mott the Hoople), by B A Robertson in his 1980 hit “Kool In The Kaftan”, and by the Ramones in their song “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?” The early acoustic material was influential in helping to bring about progressive rock and 21st century folk music-influenced singers. The lyric “Glimmers like Bolan in the shining sun” is featured in My Chemical Romance’s song “Vampire Money”, a direct reference to Bolan, taken from the album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Additionally, Oasis “borrowed” the distinct guitar riff from “Get It On” on their single “Cigarettes and Alcohol”, Noel Gallagher cited T. Rex as a strong influence.

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