Alter egos 19: Get It On

get it onI remember Get It On first time round as a number 1 single in 1971 for T. Rex. By the time of its release Marc Bolan had long moved from the music of the psychedelic folk/rock duo Tyrannosaurus Rex that filled my student rooms, and was a full on leader of glam rock.

Get It On was the second of the group’s four number 1 hits in the UK singles chart, spending four weeks in the top spot in July and August. The track featured Rick Wakeman, then an unknown session musician. He played a piano glissando in the song, to earn £9, which paid his rent for a week or two.

That came about by chance. Wakeman, who was desperate for work at the time to pay his rent, had bumped into Bolan in Oxford Street, who offered him the session. Wakeman pointed out to record producer Tony Visconti that the record did not actually need a piano player. Visconti suggested that he could add a gliss; Wakeman said that Visconti could do that, to which Bolan replied, “You want your rent, don't you?” Wakeman did and earned £9 for his efforts.

I vividly recall the announcement of Bolan’s death on BBC news in September 1977. Richard Baker was newsreader, and in his best BBC accent informed us “Marc Bolan, whose number 1 hits included Ride A White Swan and Get It On has been killed in a car crash.” Swan and On sounded like sworn and orn.

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Bolan was at the height of his musical career for around three years. Evan Williams’ charge Get It On is never going to achieve an equine top spot, but he does have the opportunity at Ffos Las today to record successive wins.

He had a ridiculously easy 35 length win at Chepstow on Saturday, and now, three days later, attempts to match his achievement on 2010, when he won two on the trop at Market Rasen. A seven-pound penalty isn’t much in the context of Saturday’s winning margin, but it is an unknown as to whether he can take two races in soft ground in the space of three days. Get It On is a horse that invariably has a break of three to four weeks between runs.

That’s reason enough not to back him at odds on, though if he proves me wrong and comes home in front of his three rivals, it could be the start of his best three years.

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