Single Stories: T. Rex, “Hot Love”
47 years ago today, T. Rex scored their very first UK #1 hit, which makes for a darned fine excuse to spotlight this classic single.
Produced by Tony Visconti, “Hot Love” was recorded at London’s Trident Studios on January 21 and 22, 1971, and it was a song full of firsts for T. Rex, starting with the fact that it was the first song by the band to feature drummer Bill Fifield, otherwise known as Bill Legend. In turn, it was also the first song by the band to include a full drum kit, since they were still in the process of evolving beyond the style of music they’d been peddling when they were still calling themselves Tyrannosaurus Rex.
That changeover had begun in earnest with their previous single, “Ride a White Swan,” but “Hot Love” took it to the next level. In addition to the inclusion of drums, the song also featured the first usage of Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman of The Turtles as backing vocalists, which helped to give the track a distinctly different feel from T. Rex’s earlier work. The musical shift was clearly a wise one: the song soared to #1.
While “Hot Love” was a chart-topper in the band’s native UK, it was decidedly less of a phenomenon in the US, where it topped out at #72 on the Billboard Hot 100. Still, it raised T. Rex’s profile to enough of a degree that when the band returned not long after that with a new single entitled “Get It On (Bang A Gong),” Americans finally figured out what the Brits had been seeing in the band.
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