In the mid to late 1960s, a band from Dartford, Kent, in England would significantly impact the music world with glam rock hits such as “Bang a Gong” and “Get It On.” The band was called T. Rex. They had been around since 1967 under the name Tyrannosaurus Rex but were forced to change their name to T. Rex because another band by the same name had recorded a song called “King of the Rumbling Spires” in 1970. The new moniker stuck, and Marc Bolan and his electric guitar would never be forgotten. T. Rex released twelve albums during their tenure as a band, with eight being studio albums. Their first album, “My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair… But Now They’re Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows,” was released under the Tyrannosaurus Rex name. This album is often forgotten because it was not successful commercially. The band would continue to release albums such as Tyrannosaurus Rex until the 1970’s “A Beard of Stars.” This would be a transitional album for T. Rex, as the band moved away from psychedelic folk and developed a more complex rock sound. “Unicorn” was released in 1971 under the Tyrannosaurus Rex moniker, but this album is generally not considered an official part of T. Rex’s discography.
12. Futuristic Dragon (1976)
The last album that T. Rex released before disbanding in 1977, “Futuristic Dragon,” was not a commercial success and is often considered the worst album of their entire discography. Marc Bolan had been struggling with drugs at this point and was also going through personal problems with his wife June Child and having an affair with Gloria Jones (the mother of his son Rolan). This would be Marc’s final album, as he died in a car accident on September 16th, 1977.
11. Bolan’s Zip Gun (1975)
The second and last album released by T. Rex in 1975, “Bolan’s Zip Gun,” was recorded after Marc had put his drug use behind him. However, the band’s record label EMI refused to release the album because they thought it didn’t have any commercial potential. This is very ironic when you consider that years later, when Marc was no longer with us, the label would be begging for T. Rex to reunite and release something new. EMI eventually released “Bolan’s Zip Gun” in 2003.
10. My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair… But now they’re Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows (1968)
T. Rex’s debut album was released in 1968 under the Tyrannosaurus Rex name; this album is generally not considered part of T. Rex’s official discography since it failed to make an impact at all commercially or critically. It was recorded in 1968 but not officially released until May of 1970 on Fly Records, after the success of the band’s follow-up album “My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair… But Now they’re Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows.”
9. Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow (1974)
Released in 1974, “Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow” was a record that T. Rex struggled to make because they had begun working on a soundtrack for a science fiction film called “Born to Boogie.” However, the band started to lose money due to struggling with drug addiction and their private lives, so they were forced to work on a new studio album instead. It is generally considered one of Marc’s lesser albums, but the band has many fans that love it.
8. Dandy in the Underworld (1977)
The final studio album released by T. Rex in 1977 before Marc’s untimely death, “Dandy in the Underworld,” was a commercial success but a critical failure. The band lost a lot of money on making this album due to legal troubles and Marc being forced to pay alimony to both his ex-wife June Child and new girlfriend, Gloria Jones. The album is generally considered “too commercial” for Bolan’s vision, but the quality of the songs is still very high, and it was an excellent way for T. Rex to end things before disbanding in 1977.
7. Prophets, Seers & Sages: The Angels of the Ages (1968)
This is the debut album under the Tyrannosaurus Rex name, and it was released in 1968. At the time of its release, none of the songs had charted, and “My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair… But Now They’re Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows,” which would be their most significant success at that point, was still months away from release. These factors led many people to believe that the album failed, which is not valid. The album was a commercial success and is considered one of Marc’s greatest albums because it invented glam rock as we know it today.
6. Unicorn (1969)
This is the third studio album released under the Tyrannosaurus Rex name, released in 1969. The album was not as successful as Marc’s previous two works, “My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair… But Now They’re Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows” or his debut self-titled “Marc Bolan,” but it is still considered to be another success and one of his greatest albums.
5. Tanx (1973)
This is T. Rex’s seventh studio album, released in 1973 after Marc decided to drop “Tyrannosaurus Rex” from the band name because he believed it held him back too much. The album was recorded after the commercial flop “Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow.” Still, it was released before it because the label was very eager for a new record from T. Rex after their previous musical endeavor. The album is generally considered one of the band’s most significant works. It is unique because it has two sides, “Black Summer’s” side being a pretty basic glam rock, and “White Summer’s” side being a lot more experimental.
4. A Beard of Stars (1970)
This is the second studio album released by T. Rex, and it was released in 1970. After Marc sent a demo tape to record labels, he finally got signed with Fly Records under Tony Visconti, who would go on to become Bolan’s frequent producer. The album made the band commercially successful because of its hit “King of the Rumbling Spires.”
3. T. Rex (1970)
This is the band’s debut studio album, released in 1970. After this album, Marc decided to drop “Tyrannosaurus Rex” from the name because he believed that it held him back too much. The album itself was a commercial success but not an overwhelming one because, at the time, record labels were very reluctant to sign bands with the “Tyrannosaurus Rex” name. Still, it is considered now to be one of his greatest works.
2. The Slider (1972)
This is T. Rex’s fourth studio album, released in 1972 after the commercial success of “Hot Love.” This album was where Marc decided to fully embrace glam rock and change his image to go with it. It was also the first time he worked with producer Tony Visconti who would become Bolan’s frequent producer. The album was a success, spawning two significant hits still popular today.
1. Electric Warrior (1971)
This is the third studio album released by T. Rex and was released in 1971. This album was a commercial success and received positive reviews from critics, even being recognized as their most outstanding works by some to this day. The “Electric Warrior” title came from Marc’s belief that rock music should be electric and should be about people instead of nature like it was in the “My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair… But Now They’re Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows” days. This album is considered their most significant work and inspired many artists to follow them down that glam rock path, such as David Bowie and Queen.
Despite T. Rex’s many albums, almost all were commercially successful and well-received by critics. Their only two albums that could be considered not to meet expectations are “Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow” (1974) and “Dandy in the Underworld” (1977). Besides those, every other studio release made the band commercially successful and well-received, even spawning a few hits.