Dec 06

T REX – “Get It On”

FT + Popular22 comments • 4,896 views

#302, 24th July 1971

bang 1xgong“Get It On” has become Bolan’s signature tune, and no wonder – it’s as witchy as “Hot Love” but more unabashedly sexed-up: surging, peaking, panting and grinding but still enticingly glittery. There’s more strangeness and whimsy in “Hot Love” mixed in with the sex, though – probably why I like it more – but the whimsy isn’t nearly gone from “Get It On”, and its eroticism is still more playful than sweaty (listen, if you must, to the Power Station’s 80s version to find out how important – and hard – it is to get this right). Playfulness and eroticism are both helped enormously by Bolan’s words, a happy babble of baffling compliments and interjections – “Bang a gong!”; “You’re built like a car, oh yeah” – and in a couple of places his muse was as on as its ever been: “Got the teeth of the hydra upon you”; “Got a hub-cap diamond star halo”. Beguiling imagery this, adding a touch of dazzle to an already fine record. .




  1. 1
    jeff w on 22 Dec 2006 #

    A key record from my earliest pop-conscious year. It was included on the same “first LP I ever owned” as the Joe Cocker No.1. Obviously I was largely ignorant of the eroticism at age 7, but this would still have gotten a 10 from me at the time, as it would now.

  2. 2
    Doctor Mod on 23 Dec 2006 #

    The lines you’ve cited are my favourites. I’ve always thought that auto-eroticism had something to do with cars . . . .

  3. 3
    Doctor Mod on 23 Dec 2006 #

    Oh, yes–

    That non-sequitur “meanwhile I’m still thinkin’ . . .” fade is priceless.

  4. 4
    Lena on 23 Dec 2006 #

    A transatlantic hit so I remember it from when I was very young – 4 1/2! – I didn’t ‘get’ the lyrics in any way but loved the music, love it all now and his “Take me!” is priceless too…

  5. 5
    Zarathustra Smith on 27 Dec 2006 #

    That “meanwhile I was still thinkin’…” fade is in fact a reference to Chuck Berry’s hit Little Queenie.

    Come to think of it, old Marc was a little queeny himself.

  6. 6
    fivelongdays on 29 Dec 2006 #

    Good to see you back, looking forward to this continuing to be as generally ace as ever.

  7. 7
    P on 31 Dec 2006 #

    it isn’t anything approaching good! It’s a boring, repetitive, shit song with fuck-all meaning. Built like a car ? What’s that mean??! I mightn’t mind if it’s tune had anything about it.. But it just doesn’t. The worst of the worst..

  8. 8
    Alan on 31 Dec 2006 #

    the tune had enough about it to be ripped off 25 years later by oasis AND EVERYONE RECOGNISED IT as such.

  9. 9
    Doctor Mod on 31 Dec 2006 #

    Built like a car ? What’s that mean??!

    How unfortunate not to know. To paraphrase what I said before (this time more emphatically):

    I’ve always KNOWN that auto-eroticism had something to do with cars . . . .

  10. 10
    Rosie on 1 Jan 2007 #

    Oasis were very good at ripping off the tunes of others. Compare “She’s Electric” with the Kinks’ “Wonder Boy”, for example.

  11. 11
    Erithian on 2 Jan 2007 #

    Alan – if I remember right it was “Cigarettes and Alcohol” that ripped off the intro, yes? Incidentally, the other big hit of roughly this era to quote “Little Queenie” was “Now I’m Here” by Queen – the “go, go , go little queenie” outro.

    Not my favourite T Rex track, but memorable nonetheless. Why was this the only one that did anything in the US, I wonder?

  12. 12
    wrestling_nun on 6 Feb 2007 #

    The perfect pop song. It slides along bouncing on duh….duh duh.duh…duh..duh. The rhythm bounces like a ball in a pin ball machine, no one else has ever done it. Very easy to play slightly wrong almost impossible to play like Marc. The words are fantastic, like the dumb things you say when love grips, but much better. Auto erotic poetry, Teeth of the Hydra upon you. Marc did it so well, You unzip my winter poetry, (Cadillac B side Telegram Sam.)

    The best T.Rex single, so for me the best single of all time. You had to born between 1957 and 1960 (a young dude) to get the ‘vibe’ (not a word I use much today). But once upon a time we really did think we were The Children of the Revolution. A 10 and then the rest.

  13. 13
    Jonathan Bogart on 14 Dec 2007 #

    The reason T. Rex didn’t do better business in the US is, I think, that a merely cursory listen to this song can disguise it as an average boogie-rock track, whereas the rest of their material was more obviously fey and glittery, concepts which never sat easily with either the increasingly meathead FM listeners nor the conservative AM audience.

  14. 14
    punctum on 14 Sep 2010 #

    Glad to announce that Then Play Long, like myself, is back from vacation, and here are my thoughts on the magnificent Electric Warrior:


  15. 15
    punctum on 7 Dec 2010 #

    This week’s Then Play Long, including “Get It On”‘s mindbending B-side (was this Bolan’s own “Bo Rhap?”): http://nobilliards.blogspot.com/2010/12/t-rex-bolan-boogie.html

  16. 16
    RDMcNamara on 1 Apr 2011 #

    Noel Gallagher ripped this off around 1992 on the grounds “no one will ever hear it”. Fair enough perhaps, but that didn’t stop him in regards of everything else he shamelessly plagiarised from December 1994 onwards though..

    I’ve probably heard this once too often for it to mean as much as it was perhaps intended (well, as much meaning as can be attached to ‘hubcap diamond star halo’ anyway), but hell it’s still ‘Get It On’!

  17. 18
    hectorthebat on 19 Jun 2014 #

    Critic watch:

    1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010)
    Blender (USA) – The Greatest Songs Ever, One Song Added Every Other Month
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Dave Marsh (USA) – The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made (1989) 905
    Michaelangelo Matos (USA) – Top 100 Singles of the 1970s (2001) 101
    Pause & Play (USA) – Songs Inducted into a Time Capsule, One Track at Each Week
    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (USA) – 500 Songs That Shaped Rock (1994?)
    Rolling Stone (USA) – The 100 Best Singles of the Last 25 Years (1988) 92
    San Antonio Express-News (USA) – Rock ‘n’ roll timeline (2004)
    BBC (UK) – Pop on Trial, Top 50 Songs from the 1970s (2008)
    Mojo (UK) – The 100 Greatest Singles of All Time (1997) 101
    Mojo (UK) – The 100 Records That Changed the World (2007) 73
    New Musical Express (UK) – The Top 100 Singles of All Time (2002) 25
    Q (UK) – 50 Years of Great British Music, 10 Tracks per Decade (2008)
    Q (UK) – The 1001 Best Songs Ever (2003) 915
    Q (UK) – The Ultimate Music Collection (2005)
    Q (UK) – Top 20 Singles from 1970-1979 (2004) 4
    Sounds (UK) – The 100 Best Singles of All Time (1986) 39
    The Guardian (UK) – 1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear (2009)
    Vox (UK) – 100 Records That Shook the World (1991)
    Zig Zag (UK) – Gillett & Frith’s Hot 100 Singles (1975)
    Panorama (Norway) – The 30 Best Singles of the Year 1970-98 (1999) 4
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009)
    Hervé Bourhis (France) – Le Petit Livre Rock: The Juke Box Singles 1950-2009
    Rolling Stone (France) – The 100 Best Singles of the Last 25 Years (1988) 41
    Toby Creswell (Australia) – 1001 Songs (2005)
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)

  18. 19
    enitharmon on 23 Jun 2014 #

    And it’s goodbye Felix Dennis, sentenced along with fellow Oz publishers Richard Neville and Jim Anderson to fifteen months imprisonment while this topped the charts. While the influence of Oz and its imitators on popular culture before the trial might be questioned, there’s no doubt of its subsequent influence.

  19. 20
    Larry on 30 Oct 2014 #

    I would give this 10. It never gets stale. (It’s one of my karaoke triumphs too.)

  20. 21
    lonepilgrim on 9 Aug 2018 #

    What might be easily be a stodgy chug is redeemed by Marc’s carefree vocals and lyrics and Tony Visconti’s subtle production which strips back the instrumentation in the verses and introduces varied sax, piano and backing vocals to enrich the choruses. Wiki reveals that it’s a bit of a stealth prog hit with Rick Wakeman on keyboards and King Crimson’s Ian McDonald on sax.

  21. 22
    Gareth Parker on 5 May 2021 #

    Never totally got Bolan myself, but there is an appealing groove here, probably one of T Rex’s better singles. 6/10 would be my score.

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)

If this was number 1 when you were born paste [stork-boy] or [stork-girl] into the start of your comment :)


Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page