"20th Century Boy" is a song by T. Rex, written by Marc Bolan. It was released as a single in 1973 and reached #3 in the UK Singles Chart. The song did not feature on an original studio album but was included as a bonus track on a reissue of 1973 album Tanx.
It later returned to the UK Top 20 in 1991, peaking at #13, fourteen years after Bolan's death, when it was used in a Chris Hartwill-directed commercial for Levi'sstarring Brad Pitt. A slightly different segment of the song, with the addition of a harp, was used in a Jameson Irish Whiskey television advertisement. It plays a key role on the science fiction-mystery manga 20th Century Boys.
- 2 Personnel
- 3 Other versions
- 4 Stage musical
- 5 Chart performance
- 6 References
- "20th Century Boy"
- "Free Angel"
- Marc Bolan – vocals, guitar
- Mickey Finn – percussion
- Steve Currie – bass
- Bill Legend – drums
- Tony Visconti – production
- Howard Casey – saxophone
|"20th Century Boy"|
|Single by Def Leppard|
|from the album Yeah!|
|Label||Bludgeon Riffola – Mercury|
|Def Leppard singles chronology|
Since its release it has been covered by artists such as Adam Lambert, Bang Tango, Naked Raygun, The King, Kiyoharu, Adam Ant, Drain STH, Chalk Circle, The Replacements, Girlschool, Pink Cream 69, The Three Johns, Placebo, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. It has also been covered live by X Japan, playing the song at many of their earlier performances, one of which was used as the live B-side to their 1989 single "Kurenai". Count Zero, a Boston-based experimental rock band, has released a live performance of the song for download on their website The song has been covered by Bang Tango in their live album Ain't No Jive...Live!. Frankenstein 3000, with guests Shawn Mars, Steve Conte, and Leif Garrett, also released a cover on their 2005 America's Hit Remakers album.
Avant-garde metal guitarist Buckethead also covered it on a 1998 tribute, Great Jewish Music: Marc Bolan. The English hard-rock band Def Leppard covered the song on their 2006 album, Yeah!, which features cover versions of 1970s rock hits. On 29 September 2007, Moby joined Richard Barone onstage for "20th Century Boy" at the T. Rex tribute in Central Park, NYC, with Tony Visconti on bass. British rockabilly band The Big Six recorded a version for the 1998 movie The Truman Show.
During their cameo in 1998 film Velvet Goldmine, Placebo performed this song as fictitious band The Flaming Creatures. It also appeared as a Double A-Side on their single "You Don't Care About Us" and in their album Covers. The band also performed it live at the 1999 BRIT Awards with David Bowie.
The song is played on Guitar Hero in a scene in the movie Somewhere.
Powerman 5000 covered the song on their 2011 album Copies, Clones & Replicants.
On 8 September 2011 a new musical called 20th Century Boy opened at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. The actor-musician production is a world premiere produced by the New Wolsey Theatre, Bolanic Productions and Marc Goucher Ltd and is inspired by the life of Marc Bolan.
T. Rex version
Chalk Circle version