Dandy in the Underworld
Marc Bolan & T Rex
T Rex had a phenomenal run of hit singles in the period between late 1970 and early 1974 with the last major hit being 'Teenage Dream'. After the success of 'Teenage Dream' (it reached number 13 in the singles charts*) T Rex's singles did not trouble the Top 20 with the notable exception of 'New York City' in the summer of 1975 which reached a respectable number 15 in the singles charts and was an inspired song which utilized the talents of Dino Dines on keyboards.
The single 'I Love To Boogie' was released in June 1976 and gave T Rex their biggest hit single for two and a half years. The follow up single, 'Laser Love', despite a high profile performance on 'Top Of The Pops', failed to make any real impact on the charts and stalled at number 41. The next single release was a duet with Gloria Jones and was a cover version of the old Teddy Bears single 'To Know Him Is To Love Him', though it is often referred to as 'To Know You Is To Love You'. This single failed to enter the singles chart.
The follow up single, 'The Soul Of My Suit', was released around the same time as the 'Dandy In The Underworld' album and despite a wonderful performance on Top Of The Pops, and a couple of performances on children's TV, the single had little chart success and peaked at a high point of 42 in the singles charts.
The inclusion of 'I Love To Boogie' on the Dandy album is likely to have been because of Marc's desire to have a hit single on the album and a song that the general public were already familiar with. Previously, on the 'Futuristic Dragon' album (released in 1976), appeared both 'New York City' and 'Dreamy Lady' which had charted at numbers 15 and 30 respectively, even though both singles had been released in 1975.
The choice of 'B' sides is a little confusing as 'I Love To Boogie', released in 1976, has an album track from 1972. 'The Soul Of My Suit' uses a song from the previous album as a 'B' side and 'Celebrate Summer', released in August 1977, uses another album track from 'Futuristic Dragon'.
The foreign releases were mainly on the EMI label with the exception of the West German Ariola singles. It seems likely that 'I Love To Boogie' was issued in more countries than the other singles from this period due to it having considerable chart success in the UK. The French 12" version of 'I Love To Boogie' was (unofficially) available in this country through a mail order company which advertised in the music paper 'Record Mirror'.
* The chart places referred to in this section relate to the positions that singles reached in the commonly used BBC commissioned chart. 'The BMRB (British Market Research Bureau) were commissioned by the BBC and 'Record Retailer' to produce a record chart using figures from 150 sales outlets chosen at random each week from between 300 and 500 participating record selling establishments' (source: Sixties City, website).
I Love To Boogie - UK single & demonstration copy
Released: 4th June 1976, MARC 14
'I Love To Boogie' gave T Rex their last major UK hit single in Marc's lifetime and reached number 13 in the singles chart and stayed in the charts for a respectable 9 weeks. At the time of its release it was criticised by a number of 'rockers' for its similarity to the relatively unknown 1956 Webb Pierce (b. 1926, d.1991) rockabilly song 'Teenage Boogie'. T Rex performed the song live in the studio on Top of the Pops (then the UK's leading music programme for singles) on two occasions. It was around this time that Miller Anderson joined the band playing second guitar and he appears on both Top of the Pops performances.
In the weeks before the release of the single EMI placed a series of 'teaser' adverts in some of the music papers showing such diverse images as a Chelsea pensioner with a 'I Love To Boogie' badge, but with no mention of T Rex. Only on the week before the release did they show a full page advert made up of the teaser adverts and a picture of Marc with the release information. There was no promotional video made for this single.
For some unknown reason the 'b' side of the single is 'Baby Boomerang' - a great song, but one that was released on 'The Slider album four years previous - a fact that did not go unnoticed by the critics. Interestingly, all copies of the single, UK and foreign issues, have 'Baby Boomerang' on the 'b' side and without exception they all wrongly credit Marc as the producer, when in fact the producer was Tony Visconti.
Released in the barmy hot summer of 1976, the song has remained a favourite with Bolan's fans and the general public alike. It was prominently used in the 'Billy Elliot' film in 2000 (along with a number of other Bolan compositions) and has featured in high profile TV adverts in recent years for Robinson's Barley Water, Woolworths and Vision Express. With its infectious music coupled with Marc's unique lyrics the song is a classic.
The Soul Of My Suit - UK single & demonstration copy
Released: 18th March 1977, MARC 16
After the success of 'I Love To Boogie' T Rex released 'Laser Love' in September 1976 which only managed to reach number 41 in the UK singles chart. Neither 'Laser Love' or the excellent 'b' side, 'Life's An Elevator', featured on the Dandy album or were performed on the Dandy tour. The follow-up to 'Laser Love' was 'The Soul Of My Suit', released on the same day that T Rex played live at the Rainbow Theatre in London, and promoted on the tour as the new single. 'The Soul Of My Suit' single was in the UK chart for 3 weeks and reached a high point of 42.
This was the first single to feature the new T Rex line-up of Herbie Flowers (bass), Dino Dines (keyboards) and Tony Newman (drums). The multi-part harmony pop band Alfalpha provided backing vocals (they were later to appear on the 'MARC' TV show as a guest of Marc's). A promotional video was created for this song which featured Marc with a guitar in a hall of mirrors. Information suggests that this was filmed at the 'Hall of Mirrors', Bell Vue, Manchester on Saturday the 12th March 1977 (unconfirmed). It is not known if the video was ever broadcast in 1977.
The origins of 'The Soul Of My Suit' can be traced back to April 1975 when the first demo, then titled 'Damaged The Soul Of My Suit', was recorded in Munich, West Germany. A live version of the song also featured in the 'Rollin' Bolan' TV special recorded in July 1976. Although the single was not released until 1977, the label states that it was published in 1976.
T Rex's last appearance on Top of the Pops was on 24th March 1977 when they mimed to 'The Soul Of My Suit'. Marc wore the yellow jacket that he had used on the Dandy tour and looked both healthy and very relaxed - an excellent performance. The following month, April 1977, T Rex performed the song live on the final edition of 'Supersonic' (this was intended to be ITV's rival to Top of the Pops) and Get It Together (a children's programme).
The song was a favourite with Marc's parents and was played during his father's funeral service in 1991.
Dandy In The Underworld - UK single & demonstration copy
Released: 3rd June 1977, MARC 17
At around 4.30 minutes this was the longest track on the Dandy album and an ambitious release for Marc to put out as a single. Undoubtedly this was a great song but sadly received little airplay on the radio at the time and subsequently failed to enter the charts.
In an attempt to make the song 'radio friendly' Marc re-recorded the vocal line in April 1977 and replaced the line 'exalted companion of cocaine nights' with 'exalted companion of T Rex nights'. He also omitted the repetiton of the first verse at the end of the song and in doing so reduced the length of the song to around 3.45 minutes. At the time of recording the vocal line Marc had a cold and sounds a little 'nasally'. The lyrics of the song suggest that there is an element of autobiography about it. The single version also features a prominent string section. There was no promotional video produced for this song.
The only TV performance from the period to promote the single is a live in the studio version done for 'Get It Together' in June 1977. This was the last performance featuring guitarist Miller Anderson. Marc gave a very soulful vocal performance with a virtuoso guitar solo in the middle of the song. The song was later performed as the final song on one of the MARC shows.
The 'b' side of the single featured the Dandy album track 'Groove A Little' which had been considered for release earlier in the year as an 'a' side. The second track was 'Tame My Tiger' and features Gloria Jones on joint vocals with Marc. The song was taped at the same sessions that Marc and Gloria recorded their single 'To Know You Is To Love You'. It is likely that this song was considered as a possible 'b' side for the Marc and Gloria single. At the time of release of the 'Dandy in the Underworld' single Gloria was not a member of T Rex.
Crimson Moon/Jason B. Sad - UK single & demonstration copy
Released: 11th April 1978, MARC 19
The last EMI single released in Marc's lifetime was 'Celebrate Summer' in August 1977. The song was heavily promoted during the 'MARC' shows but failed to make any impact on the charts. Almost 7 months after Marc's untimely death in September 1977 EMI released the posthumous double 'A' sided single 'Crimson Moon'/'Jason B. Sad'.
EMI promoted the single with full page adverts in the music press and used a previously unpublished photo of Marc on the front cover of the single. The cover photo was also available as a 'free limited edition colour poster' to anyone purchasing the single and then sending the record cover back to EMI as proof of purchase, in return they got their cover returned to them along with the free poster.
There was no promotional video(s) produced for this single, even though Marc had performed a slightly different version of 'Crimson Moon' on the TV show 'Supersonic' in February 1977. The single failed to enter the UK singles chart.
Foreign releases of the Dandy singles
With the exception of the West German releases on the Ariola label most other foreign releases appeared on EMI and used the blue and red T Rex labels. It is noticeable that most countries have used photos of Marc which were not contemporary with the time of release. Unlike the earlier hit singles, most of the foreign releases relating to the Dandy period are, if not 'rare', then certainly 'hard to come by'.
Although the following list of singles is comprehensive it may not be complete. For instance, it seems strange that EMI Portugal would release the Dandy album yet not release any singles to promote the album.
I Love To Boogie - Denmark
Released: Date unknown, EMI MARC 14
The Danish version of this single used a circa 1971 picture for the front cover and had a plain white back cover.
I Love To Boogie - France (7")
Released: Date unknown, EMI C006.98232
The French version of the 7" single used a circa 1975 picture on the front cover which has then been 'punked-up' with the addition of a safety pin graphic and overprinted red eyes and lips.
I Love To Boogie - France (12")
Released: Date unknown, EMI 2C 052 - 98.232
Although both the sleeve and the single state 'Special Disco Mix' the single is exactly the same as the 7" released version. This was the first 12" single released by T Rex, and the only one released in Marc's lifetime. Although the leopard style sleeve may seem very Bolanesque it was used on a number of French EMI 12" singles. This record was available as an 12" import single via mail order ads in the music papers, such as Record Mirror, at the time.
I Love To Boogie - Ireland
Released: Date unknown, EMI MARC 14
The Irish version of 'I Love to Boogie' has black and white labels with silver text. This single was pressed at Ferrybank, County Waterford in the Republic of Ireland and is unusual as most EMI era singles released in Ireland feature the familiar red and blue labels which had been shipped over from England and then overprinted with the song details in Ireland. The average pressing for singles in Ireland was around 200 copies with '1 or 2,000 for the biggest hits' (source: 'A Guide to Irish Singles', Clive Zone, pub. 1995). Copies of the single are rare.
I Love To Boogie - Japan
Released: 5th September 1976, EMI EMR-20074
The single sheet sleeve for the single uses a 1976 EMI promo photo (circa Futuristic Dragon). As with many Japanese singles, the printed lyrics are inaccurate
I Love To Boogie - New Zealand
Released: July 1976, EMI MARC 14
Unlike the UK where 'I Love to Boogie' appeared in a plain white sleeve, the New Zealand version is housed in a custom T Rex sleeve. Although the EMI branding is prominent on the sleeve, the labels do not feature the familiar large EMI logo above the song title.
I Love To Boogie - South Africa
Released: Date unknown, EMI MARCJ 14
Possibly due to the chart success of 'I Love To Boogie' in the UK, the single was released on the EMI label in South Africa. Although earlier T Rex singles were released in South Africa it is unknown, but unlikely, that any other Dandy related singles were released in this country.
I Love To Boogie - West Germany
Released: Date unknown, Ariola 17 044 AT
The West German version of 'I Love To Boogie' uses the same 1976 promotional photo on both the front and back covers. Even though this single was released on the Ariola label, they have also incorrectly listed Bolan as the producer on 'Baby Boomerang'.
The Soul Of My Suit - Australia
Released: Date unknown, EMI T.Rex-11417
Australian copies of the single are housed in the familiar blue and red T Rex sleeves. In the UK, singles stopped being issued in T Rex bags around the time of 'Light of Love' in 1974.
The Soul Of My Suit - France
Released: Date unknown, EMI 2C 006 99.038
The French version of 'The Soul Of My Suit' uses a 1976 EMI promotional photo on the front cover.
The Soul Of My Suit - Japan
Released: 20th May 1977, EMI EMR-20218
The single sheet sleeve features the 'Dandy in the Underworld' cover photo.
The Soul Of My Suit - West Germany
Released: Date unknown, Ariola, 17 855 AT
For this release Ariola coupled up 'The Soul Of My Suit' on the 'A' side with 'Crimson Moon' (another Dandy album track) on the 'B' side. The front cover shows the title as 'Soul Of My Suit' yet the actual record label is correctly printed as 'The Soul Of My Suit'. The back cover is little more than an advert for the Dandy album. T Rex retained a fair degree of popularity in West Germany and Marc had planned to tour West Germany in the spring of 1978 (source: 'Marc Bolan 1947-1977 A Chronology', Cliff McLenehan, pub. 2002).
Dandy In The Underworld - Japan
Released: 5th October 1977, EMI EMR-20326
The single sheet sleeve features the same photo of Marc that was used on the inner lyric sheet of the Japanese 'Dandy in the Underworld' album. Unlike the UK version of the single, the Japanese features only 'Tame My Tiger' on the 'B' side.
Crimson Moon - France
Released: Date unknown, 2C 008 - 61.292
Although French EMI put out the same songs as the UK version they appear to have elevated 'Crimson Moon' to being the 'A' side and relegated 'Jason B. Sad' to being the 'B' side (see the labels). They have obviously used and amended the UK artwork as they have added the 'Crimson Moon' title to the front cover and removed the reference to the 'Dandy In The Underworld' album from the back cover.