Telegram Sam

"Telegram Sam"
Single by T. Rex
from the album The Slider
B-side "Cadilac" / "Baby Strange"
Released 21 January 1972
Format 7" single
Recorded 1971
Genre Glam rock, protopunk
Length 3:45
Label T.Rex Wax Co. (UK); Reprise (US)
Writer(s) Marc Bolan
Producer(s) Tony Visconti
T. Rex singles chronology
"Telegram Sam"
"Metal Guru"

"Telegram Sam" is a song written by Marc Bolan for the British rock group T. Rex, appearing on their 1972 album The Slider. The song was their third UK number one single, remaining at the top of the charts for two weeks[1] before being knocked off the top by "Son of My Father" by Chicory Tip.

The lyrics feature numerous figures such as Bobby (who is a natural born poet who is just outta sight), Golden Nose Slim (who knows where you been), Jungle Faced Jake (make no mistake) and Purple Pie Pete (whose lips are like lightning and girls melt in the heat). It also contains these lines Marc Bolan wrote to refer to himself: Me I funk/but I don't care/I ain't no square/with my corkscrew hair, a line which industrial rock band KMFDM would borrow for their song "Me I Funk". The riff is similar in character to their massive hit from the previous year, "Get It On" but in the key of A rather than E. "Telegram Sam" was not as successful as "Get It On" worldwide, and it only peaked at number 67 in the Billboard Hot 100.[2]

"Telegram Sam" was the first single to be issued by Marc Bolan's own T.Rex Wax Co. label, and was released on 21 January 1972. The b-side featured two songs in the UK, "Cadilac" (as printed on the EMI label of the original single) and "Baby Strange", the latter also included in the album The Slider.

"Telegram Sam" was written by Bolan about the music business accountant, Sam Alder, who sent Bolan, by telegram, payments following performance dates on tour, lest any money sent beforehand be spent and end up interfering with the performance,[3] and news that "Get It On" had reached number one in the United Kingdom. Alder also worked with King Crimson and Roxy Music (especially Bryan Ferry).

In 1980, it was covered by the gothic rock band Bauhaus as a single, which peaked at number 12 in New Zealand.[4] It was also covered by the Croatian punk-rock band Psihomodo Pop.


Chart performance

Chart (1972) Peak
Australia (Go-Set Top 40)[5] 20
Canadian RPM Top Singles[6] 66
France (SNEP)[7] 27
Germany (Official German Charts)[8] 4
Irish Singles Chart[9] 1
Italy (FIMI)[10] 17
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[11] 26
Norway (VG-lista)[12] 6
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[13] 4
UK (Official Charts Company)[1] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[2] 67

Chart (1982) Peak
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[14] 35
UK (Official Charts Company)[1] 69

Bauhaus version

"Telegram Sam"
Single by Bauhaus
Released December 1, 1980
Genre Post-punk
Label 4AD
Bauhaus singles chronology
"Terror Couple Kill Colonel"
"Telegram Sam"
"Kick in the Eye"

"Telegram Sam" is the fourth single released by British gothic rock band Bauhaus. It was released in 7" and 12" format, the latter featuring a cover of John Cale's "Rosegarden Funeral of Sores" as an extra track.

Track listings

  1. "Telegram Sam"
  2. "Crowds"
  1. "Telegram Sam"
  2. "Rosegarden Funeral of Sores"
  3. "Crowds"

Song appearances


  1. 1 2 3 "T. Rex". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  2. 1 2 "The Slider awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  3. Isle of Man Medical Society meeting, 18 September 2015
  4. Hung Medien. "Telegram Sam in New Zealand Chart". Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  5. "Telegram Sam in Australian Chart". Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  6. "Telegram Sam in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  7. "Telegram Sam in French Chart" (in French). Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013. You have to use the index at the top of the page and search "T. Rex"
  8. " – T. Rex – Telegram Sam". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  9. "Telegram Sam in Irish Chart". IRMA. Retrieved 18 July 2013. Only one result when searching "Telegram Sam"
  10. "The best-selling singles of 1972 in Italy". HitParadeItalia (it). Retrieved 18 July 2013.
    81. Telegram Sam – T.Rex [#17]
  11. " – T. Rex – Telegram Sam" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  12. " – T. Rex – Telegram Sam". VG-lista.
  13. " – T. Rex – Telegram Sam". Swiss Singles Chart.
  14. " – T. Rex – Telegram Sam". Top 40 Singles.
Preceded by
"I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)" by The New Seekers
UK number one single
5 February 1972 for two weeks
Succeeded by
"Son of my Father" by Chicory Tip

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