Get It On (Bang a Gong)
Writer(s): Marc Bolan (see lyrics here)
Released: July 2, 1971
First Charted: July 10, 1971
Peak: 10 US, 12 CB, 10 HR, 1 CL, 14 UK, 12 CN, 14 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 27.4 video, 202.96 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
This glam-rock classic was originally released in the UK as “Get It On,” but got re-titled as “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” for its American release to avoid confusion with a song of the same name by the band Chase. Under any name, the song was “T. Rex’s shining moment and their biggest selling hit.” UCR It was one of four #1’s and 11 top tens for the group in the UK. In the U.S., nothing else came close to the success of “Bang a Gong;” the group’s next biggest hit was “Telegram Sam” at #67.
“The hypnotic groove of this…song begs you to play it repeatedly. The boogie-like piano, backup vocals from Flo and Eddie of the Turtles, and Bolan’s sassy guitar give way to the simple but suggestive lyrics that radiate like the ‘hub-cap-diamond-star-halo’” line UCR and other lyrics he came up with on the spot. SF The song also included saxophone form Ian MacDonald of King Crimson and may or may not have featured Yes’ Rick Wakeman on piano. WK
Bolan said he wrote the song in an effort to emulate Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie.” Not only did he use the song’s riff, but used the slightly edited line “and meanwhile, I’m still thinking” at the fade of “Get It On.” WK Tony Visconti, who produced the song, says it was an unscripted ad-lib. WK
Fourteen years later, a remake of the song made its way back to the top-10 in the United States, even besting the original position by a notch. The cover was done by the Power Station, a supergroup which combined the talents of Robert Palmer with members of Duran Duran. Blondie covered the song in 1978, Witch Queen had a #8 disco hit with it in 1979, and U2 covered the song in 2020 with Elton John on piano. The Damned and Frankie Goes to Hollywood also recorded versions. SF Joan Jett says this is one of the songs she used to learn to play guitar. UCR
First posted 7/22/2022.