Roxy Music were formed in the early 1970s by vocalist and keyboardist Bryan Ferry who, along with several of his band-mates, came from the same English art school background as The Who and The Rolling Stones. Accordingly, Roxy Music always felt conceptual – they were purposefully experimental, decadent, and futuristic, and there was always a deliberate visual element to their image as well. The band’s successful integration of synthesizers and electronic treatments into their sound, and Ferry’s detached vocals, made them ahead of their time and extremely influential. The group started their career in the era of glam rock, but like the genre’s other most enduring figure, David Bowie, they covered a lot of other territory during their career.
Roxy Music in Six Songs
Roxy’s Music’s 1972 debut opened with ‘Remake/Remodel’, with the band at their most futuristic. The song featured a brief solo from each of the six members.
‘In Every Dream Home a Heartache’ was from the group’s sophomore album For Your Pleasure, a societal critique centered around a blowup doll. “I blew up your body/But you blew my mind,” Ferry sings before Phil Manzanera launches into an epic guitar solo:
My favourite Roxy Music song, ‘Mother of Pearl’, is taken from Stranded, Roxy Music’s second full length album of 1973. It was the first to be released without Brian Eno, who left after tensions with frontman Bryan Ferry; reportedly Eno was having more success with the ladies.
‘The Thrill Of It All’, from 1974’s Country Life, is one of my favourite production jobs ever. It’s so lush, and there’s so much sonic detail, with Manzanera’s guitars and new recruit Eddie Jobson’s violin.
Roxy Music started dabbling with disco on 1975’s Siren, but it didn’t affect the quality of their music, with highlights like ‘Sentimental Fool’. The album’s a great showcase for drummer Paul Thompson. The band broke up after this album, reconvening for 1979’s Manifesto.
1979’s Manifesto and 1980’s Flesh + Blood were tangibly weaker than Roxy Music’s 1970’s catalogue, but the group rebounded for 1982’s elegant swansong Avalon. The sleek ‘More Than This’ is a perfect piece of pop.
Roxy Music, 7.5/10
For Your Pleasure, 9/10
Country Life, 9/10
Flesh + Blood, 5.5/10
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