Futuristic Dragon is the eleventh studio album and a UK-only release by T. Rex, released in 1976. Preceded by two UK Top 40 hits, "New York City" (#15) and "Dreamy Lady" (#30), Futuristic Dragon was released in January, reaching #50. It was T. Rex's first album to register in the charts since Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow in 1974. The album features some unusually dense production from Bolan, with hints that he had been listening to old Phil Spector recordsespecially "Chrome Sitar" and "Calling All Destroyers", which contained unusual musical embellishements such as sitar and other sonic sound effects.
Live recordings of the successful tour T. Rex undertook that year in the UK (the first since the birth of his son Rolan Bolan, with Gloria Jones) show him to be returning to form from the cocaine addiction, (alleged) Napoleon complex, and weight gain which had plagued him since late 1973, when his star began to fall. In many of these (bootleg) recordings, often done by members of the audience, Bolan thanks the audience for coming, and admits that he did not know if they would. He was heartened by the response received on the two aforementioned hit singles, and set to work on a new album immediately.
One factor which also sparked Bolan's renewed interest in music was the emergence of punk. Photos from early 1977 show Bolan at a pub/restaurant with members of The Ramones. He toured in spring 1977 with The Damned, and on the Granada TV show Marc, which he hosted, guests of his included The Boomtown Rats, The Jam, and Generation X.
The album is also notable for the sleeve illustration by artist George Underwood, who had first worked with Bolan on the 1968 Tyrannosaurus Rex album My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... But Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows.