*Now expanded to include La La La’s, Do-be-do-be-do’s, Na Na Na Na Na’s and all points in between.
Ask most people to name their favourite T. Rex tune, and they will usually plump for any one of the following: Telegram Sam, Get It On, Debora, Ride a White Swan, 20th Century Boy, Jeepster or Children of the Revolution.
But not this star cat, oh no.
My favourite T. Rex tune was their first ever UK #1 single, but, for some reason it always seems to get overlooked when people posit on the band’s success. It was the first ever record I heard by them, and the person responsible for playing it to me was (at the time) Radio 1 DJ Tony Blackburn.
He didn’t play it just to me, of course. It was on his radio show, and this would have been in the late 1970s, so as I was approaching my tenth birthday. I was in my bedroom, listening to the radio, when Tony introduced a record with the following words (not verbatim):
“I remember when this first came out in 1971, I played it on the Breakfast Show and when it had finished, I realised that I liked it so much I just had to hear it again. And I thought the listeners must have thought the same thing, so I played it to them again.”
This caught my attention. I may even have put down whichever Dr Who book I was reading at the time (probably Dr Who and The Loch Ness Monster, I read that one a lot. It’s the best one: it has Zygons in it) and listened.
And now whenever I hear the song in question, I am back in my room, listening to it for the first time, and thinking that, even though it had come out seven or eight years earlier, it was quite unlike anything my eight or nine year old ears had heard before.
See, you’re never too old to learn.
Anyway, this is the song, just shy of five minutes of what we would come to know as Marc Bolan’s lyrical style (rhyming couplets which don’t generally don’t really seem to mean anything), and which then pulls the same stunt as The Beatles did on the coda of Hey Jude, only swapping the Na Na Na‘s for some La La La‘s until the fade: