An entire Cannon episode centered around an obscure T. Rex song

More proof that Cannon was cooler than your average crime show.

Cannon might not strike you as the hippest show on the block. After all, it is a mystery show about an overweight middle-aged detective who drives around in a boat-sized, baby-blue Lincoln Continental you might find parked outside an early-bird buffet special in Boca Raton. His ride did have a cool carphone, though. And thugs learned quickly to not mess with Frank Cannon, who dispensed karate chops like mints.

If you need further proof that Cannon was secretly the hippest series of 1970s television, look to "Hard Rock Roller Coaster." The title alone sounds like a KISS track. But it was a much deeper rock legend that stole the spotlight in this season-two case. The entire script centered around the lyrics to a deep T. Rex tune.

A bona fide Beatles-level sensation in early-'70s Britain, Marc Bolan never reached the same level of rock stardom in the States. T. Rex essentially was Marc Bolan, the glam rock pioneer who shaped the sound and style of David Bowie and, more than a decade later, '80s metal. To Americans, T. Rex is mostly known for "Bang a Gong (Get It On)," which reached the Top 10 in 1971. It was his only major hit in our country. Over in the United Kingdom, meanwhile, his first ten singles all reached the Top 5.

You might recognize "Children of the Revolution," as it has been used in movies like Moulin Rouge and Billy Elliot, not to mention commercials for milk.

The point is, "Baby Boomerang," a cut buried on Side A of T. Rex's 1972 album The Slider, was an obscure song for a mainstream television show that aired just months later. It had to have been written and filmed not long after the record hit shops. 

In "Hard Rock Roller Coaster," a zonked-out man is blabbering nonsense. "Mince pie, dog-eye, eagle on the wind," he keeps muttering. These were the lyrics to the second verse of "Baby Boomerang." Cannon has to call a hip radio disc jockey to figure that out. How many viewers would have gotten the reference? Or even realized it was a real song after the explanation? 

Take a listen to the track below. And then imagine William Conrad singing it into a carphone.

Watch Cannon on MeTV!

Weeknights at 3 AM

*available in most MeTV markets
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PC_no 33 months ago
I've heard that Cannon was very popular in the UK, where the song would have been recognizable to more people, but even there, it was an album cut and a B-side, so only fans would know it. This was sort of a smart move on the part of the producers; it probably got people speculating about the source of the lyrics. They could just as easily have come from a nursery rhyme as from a rock song. I only found the song by Googling the lyrics.
grammi 39 months ago
Why can’t I watch shows on metv
PC_no grammi 33 months ago
I get it via over-the-air TV (ATSC) in Boston, MA. I think it's carried by a number of cable systems too.
OldTVfanatic 44 months ago
Somehow I don’t think T. Rex or Sweet have anything to fear from Frank Cannon...although it might be funny to picture Cannon in a glam pimp suit playing piano.
Barry22 44 months ago
Wow! This was interesting. T-Rex is revered in England. Was given a ticket to see them in 1972, tagged along with some of my older friends. Was not really impressed. Opening up for them was Billy Preston and some band called "The Doobie Brothers". ( whatever happened to them?!) Also remember seeing them on ABC's In Concert.
bettyluvsgators Barry22 44 months ago
Lucky you! Marc Bolan and the Doobie Brothers....all on a free tix! Now that you are older do you appreciate what you saw?
Barry22 bettyluvsgators 44 months ago
It was cool seeing an up and coming band like The Doobies, I think Toulouse Street had just come out, which was their second album. I have seen them several times since. Billy Preston was great. saw him again with Ringo's All-Starrs. T-Rex, hmmmmm, guess it's cool to say I saw them, but they were not worth the hype. Question: Did you go to UF? I graduated from there in 1978.
Cannonesque 44 months ago
I don't think the article specifies it, but I think this episode will be shown "Friday night" (meaning Saturday am). My DVR is set! Long live Karate Man Cannon! The article makes a great point in noting that Bolan was a megastar in Britain.
I was wondering what to watch while the wanna be VPOTUS & the VPOTUS duke it out. I can watch {rewatch} that Cannon episode.
Yeah, and can you believe that was Dean Worner ["Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son!"]?
MrsPhilHarris 45 months ago
When I was a kid I loved T. Rex.
OldTVfanatic MrsPhilHarris 44 months ago
I’m recently more of a fan of Sweet myself.
MrsPhilHarris OldTVfanatic 44 months ago
Oh I liked Sweet too.
erilaz 45 months ago
Very cool! I have a fair number of T. Rex LPs and CDs in my collection, so I'm certainly familiar with the song, but I probably wouldn't have recognized it from that one line, spoken without music.
Barry22 erilaz 44 months ago
Funny but true story, when the T-Rex box set came out, it ended up in the bargain section at my local Specs. I think it was ten bucks. I thought about it, but after looking at it,Bang-a-Gong, for some strange reason, was not included. Did not purchase it, but later regretted it.
cperrynaples 45 months ago
No, i can't imagine Conrad singing this song...LOL!!
Barry22 cperrynaples 44 months ago
....or playing air guitar to it.
How would you have liked to have seen WC dance to the song?!?!
OldTVfanatic cperrynaples 44 months ago
I can imagine him playing piano to it, though.
CouchPotato19 Barry22 44 months ago
He could play 'air guitar' on me anytime! Too bad he's long gone!. I've always been in love with that big sexy boy! No, I'm not a gay man, believe it or not. Gay men love him, too. He's a bear.
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