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Dandy in the Underworld

Marc Bolan & T Rex


'Dandy in the Underworld' lyrics

These are the original handwritten lyrics for the title track of the Dandy in the Underworld album. From this two sided sheet it is obvious that Marc had this song ear-marked as a future single release with the reference 'For single - substitute word for cocaine'. Marc was obviously aware that to release a single with a reference to 'cocaine' would have almost certainly resulted in the single being banned. When the re-recorded Dandy in the Underworld song was released as a single in June 1977 the word 'cocaine' was substituted with 'T Rex'.

On the back of the sheet Marc has made himself a note to 'get Manhattan Transfer first and second albums'. Manhattan Transfer were an American vocal group with a strong jazz element to their sound and they had a huge UK hit with 'Chanson D'Amour' in 1977.

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Dandy lyrics front for website.jpg
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Studio notes

The Air Recording Studio notes are from the 14th October 1976. On the same day, Marc also recorded I'm A Fool For You Girl and Universe. As Laser Love was released on the 17th September and T Rex's only Top of the Pops performance of the song was broadcast on the 7th September it seems likely that the TV version of the song relates to a performance on The Arrows TV programme which was broadcast on the 2nd November.

The torn studio notes, in Marc's distinctive handwriting, possibly relate to multiple sessions. Interesting to note that Marc refers to Pain and Love as Love and Pain and that the only song which was not released in Marc's lifetime was I Believe.

Marc's reference to 'the one like bless you', almost certainly refers to the John Lennon song Bless You which featured on his 1974 Walls and Bridges album. The Bless You song was then recorded and released as a single by Gonzalez on the EMI label in 1977. The Gonzalez version of Bless You was produced by Gloria Jones. The b side of Bless You was a song called The Rider which was written by Chris Mercer, sax player in Gonzalez. Chris Mercer featured on three of the Dandy in the Underworld songs.

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Studio tape boxes

The following studio tape boxes show a selection of songs related to the Dandy in the Underworld recording sessions. Unfortunately, these are the best images available of the boxes.

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'Funky London Childhood' lyrics

The song Funky London Childhood originates from around 1975 and was a precursor to the Dandy in the Underworld track Visions of Domino.

During November 1975, Marc had a regular slot on the Thames TV 'Today' programme where he interviewed the likes of Stan Lee (Marvel comics) and Roy Wood. T Rex recorded backing tracks for Funky London Childhood and London Boys which Marc then performed on the shows with a live vocal.

Although Funky London Childhood was performed live on the Futuristic Dragon tour in February 1976 it did not feature on the then new album (it was probably held back for inclusion on the London Opera album which never materialised).

With the London Opera concept album abandoned, the song then morphed into Visions of Domino.

It's interesting to note that the released version of Visions of Domino on the Dandy in the Underworld album features not only the 'old' T Rex band of Steve Currie, Davey Lutton and Dino Dines but also drummer Paul Fenton.

Marc Funky London Childhood handwritten

Dandy in the Underworld track list

From Marc's handwritten track list it can be seen that he considered having Jason B Sad as the opening track. Interestingly, Marc has written this as 'Jason b sade'. One can only speculate whether this is a spelling mistake on Marc's behalf or if he intended it to be an oblique reference to the Marquis de Sade. When released on the album, Marc describes the song as 'A distant boy friend of Johnny B. Good'.

From the sheet, it is obvious that Marc intended Groove a Little to be the first single release from the album (excluding I Love to Boogie which had been released in 1976). In the end, it was The Soul of My Suit that was released on the 18th March 1977, though Groove A Little was used as a B side track on the Dandy in the Underworld single in June of the same year.

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Lyrics and notes from the 'Wilderness of the Mind' book

The following five items are taken from the excellent 'Wilderness of the Mind' book published in 1992. The lyrics, studio notes and Marc's design for the tour advert are reproduced here with the kind permission of John and Caron Willans, the authors of the book.

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Teen Riot Structure lyrics

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Pain and Love lyrics

Dandy tour advert design (right)

Marc's reference to 'Who's a Dandy in the Underworld' may refer to a series of teaser adverts akin to those placed in the UK music papers in advance of the release of I Love To Boogie. The RM, MM and NME obviously refer to Record Mirror, Melody Maker and New Musical Express, the leading music papers of the day.

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Teen Riot Structure studio notes

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I'm A Fool For You Girl studio notes

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T Rex Action

Marc has written, on a Wizard Artists letter-headed paper, 'ads should say here there be Monsters'. At the foot of the page he has written 'the new 77 album from bolan, a monster on EMI'. The section which he has crossed out starts as '11 monster tracks make up a new 77 monster album from bolan'.

The most likely album that Marc is referring to is Dandy in the Underworld, though when Dandy was released it had 12 tracks. The only other possible album that he could be referring to is the Solid Gold T Rex LP which was being worked on in 1977, though that album had 16 tracks on it when it was finally released in 1979.

The most likely conclusion is that this was an early working title for Dandy in the Underworld.

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