Monday, April 10, 2006

T. Rex

"I got your body right now on my mind but I drunk myself blind to the
sound of old T. Rex"
- You Better You Bet

"Practice my T-Rex moves and make the scene" - The Wake-Up Bomb

"The television man is crazy saying we're juvenile delinquent wrecks
Man, I need a TV when I've got T. Rex"
- All the Young Dudes

The common thread to the three tunes from the last cover riddle is the references they make to T. Rex, the early 70s glam rock band fronted by Marc Bolan. Some versions of All the Young Dudes also use the lyrical variation: "Who needs TV when I got T. Rex?"... I'm not sure which is more definitive. Google searches pull references to both.

Before I go any further, does any remember this show?

Whenever I think of T. Rex (the band), the chorus to this half-forgotten theme song to an obscure cartoon springs to mind. It was called The Adventures of T-Rex, a ninja turtles clone from the early 90s about 5 colour-coded dino brothers who are stand-up comedians by day and by night the crimefighting supergroup T-REX. When I was about 9 years old, this was on TV every day when I got home from elementary school. I remember almost nothing about the show except that it had this damn catchy theme song. I went on one of these google frenzies to track down an mp3 of the song, which at first required finding out the proper name of the show (googling "T-rex" is not very helpful). This was trickier than expected because at this point the show is almost 15 years old and it hasn't really inspired a cult following. Just as I was lamenting the disappearance of the T-Rex theme song and cursing the relative ease with which you can find the theme to Denver The Last Dinosaur, I stumbled upon some yahoo group devoted to T-Rex. I momentarily signed up on the off-chance that it had an mp3 and it did! Pure gold, baby. Now if I can snag the theme to an old Dino-ghetti commercial, my life will be complete.

For your listening pleasure: The Adventures of T-Rex
I can listen to this ALL NIGHT LONG. Don't laugh.

Speaking of Denver The Last Dinosaur, a couple weeks ago a friend was commenting on the creepy undertones of the line "he's my friend and a whole lot more". Uh oh, what's that supposed to mean? The sexual connotations of that line become full blown if you watch the intro to the show where Denver is raped and/or molested by 4 children... or the line "Shows me a world I never saw before" at which point Denver reaches into his rucksack and pulls out an illicit sex object and thrusts it in the children's faces.
I'm only half kidding. I'll leave it to you to find other unintended sexual imagery on your own.
view Intro to Denver The Last Dinosaur

Another key childhood memory is the album Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers, a cassette that was on heavy rotation in our family's tapedeck on many roadtrips. Sort of a precursor to mash-ups or probably more accurately a descendant of Stars on 45. I have to credit Jive Bunny for introducing me at a young age to both Sweet and T.Rex, though it wasn't until years later that I acted upon the impulse to rediscover the original songs in a nostalgia-induced fever. The song below includes excerpts from Sweet's Teenage Rampage and two T.Rex tracks: Bang a Gong and Hot Love.
Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers - Do You Wanna Rock

OK, onto T. Rex covers:

Children of the Revolution
To Marc Bolan & T. Rex's credit, none of the guys below can touch the original song.
Elton John with Pete Doherty (from Live 8)
Bono, Gavin Friday and Maurice Seezer (from soundtrack to Moulin Rouge)
Violent Femmes

Jakob Dylan - Bang a Gong (Get it On)
This is a lo-fi rip of the song featured "exclusively" on JCPenney. It's not a bad cover, but why was this recorded exclusively for JCPenney? That makes about as much sense as-- oh, say, his dad hawking Victoria's Secret lingerie...

T. Rex - Summertime Blues [originally by Eddie Cochran]
Interesting cover history trivia: singer Gloria Jones who sang Tainted Love, whose covers are arguably more well known than the original, sang backing vocals for T. Rex between 1973-77 and was Marc Bolan's girlfriend. She is also the mother of their son Rolan Bolan.

T. Rex - Dock of the Bay [originally by Otis Redding]
More interesting cover history trivia: Aretha Franklin's Respect is a cover of a Otis Redding song. I found that out just now. Isn't that weird when you uncover a cover?

The Shins - Baby Boomerang
Certainly one of my favourite covers over the past year, which I snagged with my free eMusic trial. Best deal ever, just for this song. Hearing this actually inspired me to look "beyond Bang a Gong" to discover T. Rex awesomeness.

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