Tyrannosaurus Rex started in London, England in 1967 as a five-piece (after one aborted gig), but quickly became a duo having their electric equipment repossessed . Hailed by John Peel ( who narrated two fairy stories on two of their albums) and produced by Tony Visconti, their albums explored a psychedelic folk sound and themes inspired by Tolkienesque and Celtic mythologies. The duo developed a distinctive sound including Bolan's acoustic guitar and vocals and Steve Peregrine Took on bongos, drums and unorthodox instruments such as the Pixiephone.
By 1968, Tyrannosaurus Rex had become a modest success on radio and on record, and had released three albums. While Bolan's early material was rock and roll-influenced folk, by now he was writing dramatic and baroque songs with lush melodies and surreal lyrics filled with Greek and Persian mythology as well as creations of his own. The band became regulars on Peel Sessions on BBC radio, and toured Britain's student union halls. They received bad press from journalists and critics, however, who were annoyed at the exposure they were getting on Peel's radio shows.
By 1969 there was also a shift in sound with Bolan using the electric guitar and Took a full drumkit there was a also a rift between the two halves of Tyrannosaurus Rex. While Bolan and his girlfriend June Child were living a quiet life, Took had fully embraced the anti-commercial/community-spirited/drug-taking ethos of the UK Underground scene centred around Ladbroke Grove. Took was also attracted to anarchistic elements such as Mick Farren/Deviants and members of the Pink Fairies Rock 'n' Roll and Drinking Club. He started writing his own songs and wanted the duo to perform them. After Bolan's refusal and a last tour in the US (which Took was enjoying chemical stumulants), the two departed. Bolan recruted Mickey Finn and released the last album under this name,A Beard of Stars in 1970, before moving in a more rock direction under the shortened name T. Rex in 1970.