Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Worth Another Listen - Roxy Music

Roxy Music

They were in the forefront of the 'art rock' movement in the 70s, and made up of Bryan Ferry, who became the group's lead vocalist and chief songwriter. The other members are Phil Manzanera (guitar), Andy Mackay (saxophone and oboe) and Paul Thompson (drums and percussion). A few others drifted through the band, including the amazing Brian Eno for a couple of years. The sound was almost ahead of the times, almost bridging the worlds of David Bowie's Glam and the New Wave music to come of The Talking Heads and Duran Duran. Take, for instance, the 1975 release, Love Is The Drug. The song has sass and spunk, sounding nothing like what was topping the charts in the US, with the likes of Captain & Tennille, Neil Sedaka and Elton John. Still, it managed to be the highest charting single by the band, hitting #30 on the Billboard chart. The following clip is from the late 80s from a Bryan Ferry solo tour.

In 1981, Roxy Music offered up a recording of Jealous Guy, written and originally recorded by John Lennon. Roxy Music started performing it as a tribute after he was murdered in December of 1980, and later released it as a single. Here is footage of the band performing it weeks after Lennon's passing.

The final album released by the band was Avalon, a lush and incredible offering. While the album only made it to #53 on the US album chart, it did secure platinum sales in the States. Rolling Stone named it the #31 album of the 80s, and I might think it should be even higher. The quality of songwriting and musicianship was high, as can be heard in More Than This, released in 1982.

Released on the heals of More Than This, Avalon proved to be a haunting and gorgeous track. While it didn't make the Pop charts, it got a lot of play on college radio and some progressive rock stations.

In 1983, following the support tour for the album, Roxy Music announced they were calling it a day. Bryan Ferry et al went on to solo careers, continuing to make interesting music. In 2001, they got back together to do a short tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the formation of the band. Although they have not stepped back into the studio, they have occasionally played together.

roxy music,bryan ferry,brian eno


  1. That Avalon album was one of the tapes that I went to sleep to in jr. high/high school. Great memories of all of Roxy's music (get it?). Thanks for reminding me of how much I liked Roxy Music!

  2. That was an amazing memory. I am sooo happy. Thanks so much.

  3. Big Mark, I remember being in Louisville, Kentucky, listening to Avalon and loving it.

    Jason, you are welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Ah yes - the elegant Bryan Ferry - and the dreamy sound of Roxy Music - Avalon is regarded as one of the most influential albums in rock.

    I agree with you when you say they were ahead of their times - they were big in the U.K. and Europe but they were more of an underground sensation in the US.

    I always liked their version of "Jealous Guy" - I think it's probably the best cover of it, I have heard!

  5. SteveA, Avalon was remarkable. Still love them!



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