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""20th Century Boy""
Single by T.Rex
B-side "Free Angel"
Released March 1973
Format 7" single
Genre Hard rock, glam rock
Writer(s) Marc Bolan
Producer Tony Visconti
T.Rex singles chronology
"Solid Gold Easy Action"
(1972)
"20th Century Boy"
(1973)
"The Groover"
(1973)

"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, fourteen years after Bolan's death, when it was used in a Chris Hartwill-directed commercial for Levi's starring 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 sci-fi-mystery manga 20th Century Boys.

Track listing

  1. "20th Century Boy"
  2. "Free Angel"

Other versions

"20th Century Boy"
Single by Def Leppard
from the album Yeah!
Released 2007
Format CD
Recorded 2006
Genre Hard rock
Label Bludgeon Riffola - Mercury
Writer(s) Marc Bolan
Producer Def Leppard
Def Leppard singles chronology
"Rock On"
(2006)
"20th Century Boy"
(2007)
"Nine Lives"
(2008)

Since its release it has been covered by artists such as,Kiyoharu Mori, Adam Ant, Drain STH, Chalk Circle, The Replacements, Girlschool, Pink Cream 69, The Three Johns and Siouxsie and the Banshees. It has also been covered live by X Japan, playing the song in most of their performances. Count Zero, a Boston-based experimental rock band, has released a live performance of the song for download on their website.

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". The band also performed it live at the 1999 BRIT Awards with David Bowie.

This song was also covered in the 1998 film the Truman Show.

The song appears on a record player in the first chapter[volume1] of "20th Century Boys" Manga.

California punk band Bad Religion has a song called "21st Century (Digital Boy)". It has led to speculation that the title of this song could be a parody of "20th Century Boy", however, it is worth noting that the progressive rock band King Crimson has a song called "21st Century Schizoid Man", which contains lyrics featured in Bad Religion's original song, possibly as homage.

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