Marc Bolan Memorabilia (Stuart Wilson, Getty Images)

Marc Bolan Memorabilia (Stuart Wilson, Getty Images)

A lot of bands founded in the 1960s hit a slump in the ’70s. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Beatles[/lastfm] avoided it by, well, breaking up. But even such ’60s luminaries as [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Rolling Stones[/lastfm] weren’t entirely immune. The good news was that a lot of these bands found new life around the mid-’80s as ‘classic’ rock acts. Some (the aforementioned Rolling Stones among them) are still performing today, even though they are now something rather akin to dinosaurs.

And speaking of dinosaurs, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]T. Rex[/lastfm] was one of those late ’60s bands that hit their ’70s slump. Unfortunately, they didn’t continue on to the promised land of an ’80s renaissance. Founder and frontman [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Marc Bolan[/lastfm] was killed in a car accident in 1977, causing the band to break up, never to reform.

More about T. Rex, but first let’s pause to watch their classic hit “Jeepster,” which features some pretty wild bongos.

T. Rex was founded by Bolan in London in 1967 as [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Tyrannosaurus Rex[/lastfm]. The name change came later in 1970, as part of other sweeping simplifications for both the band and Bolan’s life. The use of unusual percussion (such as the bongos) dated from the earliest days of Tyrannosaurus Rex, as Bolan’s original partner, the unusually-named Steve Peregrine Took fancied them. Unfortunately, their partnership quickly soured as Bolan was (despite appearances to the contrary) a man who preferred the quiet life, while Took adopted a much more typical lifestyle for the late ’60s rocker, with hefty doses of social rebellion, anarchism, and, of course, drugs.

In 1970, Bolan and Took split up, and Bolan found a new percussionist, the much more stable (but also interestingly-named Mickey Finn). Bolan’s partnership-related headaches diminished, the band’s name was shortened to T. Rex, and life went on (though the wild and unusual percussion stayed, under Finn’s capable hands).

“Jeepster” made it to #2 on the U.K. charts as a glam-rock hit in 1971. The song itself actually provided one more headache for Bolan, when it was released without his permission by label Fly records, who he had just left for EMI. Interestingly, Bolan himself had lifted portions of the song from [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Howlin’ Wolf’s[/lastfm] “You’ll be Mine” without express permission, something he himself admitted. Listen and see if you can hear the similarities.

Take a look at Video Classics past…


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