T. Rex

Ballrooms of Mars

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Song Review by

Of the many delights on T. Rex's glam triumph The Slider, "Ballrooms of Mars" is one of the most atypical, miles away from the usual strutting cool of that band at its best. While Marc Bolan's songs in the early Tyrannosaurus Rex days could be weirdly weepy in their own right, it was a strange, aggressive sort of emotion, rather unlike the slow, unsettled aura here. The overdubbed combination of acoustic and electric guitars that Bolan made his unsurprisingly is the heart of the song, but Tony Visconti's production is just alien enough, with the echo cranked up heavy on both the drums and Bolan's own not-quite-there singing. With the descending chords typical of Bolan's work to the fore throughout as the song's stately pace unfolds, his cryptic lyrics about "dancing our lives away" in the title locale are what give the song its mystery. Then there are the trademark references to rock history via mentions of Bob Dylan, Alan Freed, and, in one great moment, this sly line: "John Lennon knows your name/And I've seen his."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Slider 1972 Fat Possum Records / Universal Music 4:07
Get It On [MFP] 1986 Prism Leisure Corporation (UK) / Prism Entertainment / Prism Platinum
Rabbit Fighter: The Alternate Slider 1994 Edsel 4:10
Metal Guru [Box Set] 1997 Edsel 4:07
The Essential Collection (25th Anniversary Edition) 2002 Relativity 0:00
Boogie On 2003 Pilot 4:10
School of Rock [Original Soundtrack] 2003
Original Soundtrack
Atlantic 4:08
Children of the Revolution: An Introduction to Marc Bolan 2006 Music Club International Records / Music Club Deluxe 4:09