T. Rex began in London in 1967 as a short-lived four-piece band known as Tyrannosaurus Rex. After the breakup of the first incarnation of the band, Marc Bolan (real name: Mark Feld) reformed the band as a two-piece acoustic psychedelic folk band, with Marc playing acoustic guitar, and Steve Took on bongos and various percussion instruments.
Musical differences led to Took’s departure from the band and subsequent replacement with percussionist Mickey Finn. Eventually, the band became a four-piece, with Bolan playing electric guitar and embracing a hit-making pop sound.
The release of Electric Warrior in 1971 saw T.Rex with a number 1 album in England and what would be their only hit in the U.S., Bang a Gong (Get It On).
Cosmic Dancer is the second track on the album. The version above, from the film, Born to Boogie, doesn’t compare with the album version, whichfeatures Tony Visconti’s masterful string arrangement. The song was used in the opening of the film Billy Elliot. Listen for backing vocals by Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (The Turtles, Flo & Eddie).