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An Introduction to Roxy Music

Roxy Music

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.

Album Ratings

Roxy Music,  7.5/10
For Your Pleasure, 9/10
Stranded, 8.5/10
Country Life, 9/10
Siren, 8.5/10
Manifesto, 6/10
Flesh + Blood, 5.5/10
Avalon, 7.5/10

For more Roxy Music analysis and album reviews, please visit https://albumreviews.blog/reviews/roxy-music/

18 thoughts on “An Introduction to Roxy Music Leave a comment

    • I lump them in the arty/glammy/70s/British category along with Bowie and Brian Eno. I see you liked Bowie, but not Eno, so I guess you could go either way on Roxy. The first Roxy album I rated 7.5/10, because the second side is a big slog to get through, but it still fits the definition of 1001 albums you need to hear before you die, as it’s interesting and groundbreaking.

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  1. Nice introduction to Roxy Music, will give Mother of Pearl and The Thrill of It another listen based on your recommendations. The final two albums are pop bliss, and the ones I’ve gone back to the most. My enthusiasm for the early albums is sporadic, though it’s been a few years so I might want to give them another go. My fav Roxy Music song is A Really Good Time (from Country Life).

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    • I find the first one a bit tough to get through sometimes – the second half is very out there. But the albums from For Your Pleasure through to Siren are a very strong run; it’s worth spending time with albums like Stranded that are relatively straightforward, as the group lost a lot of their weirdness after Eno left. A Really Good Time is definitely a pretty song.

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  2. I’m mostly familiar with Roxy Music’s “hits,” such as “Avalon”, “More Than This” and “Love Is The Drug”. They also did some good covers, especially John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” and Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall”.

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    • Ferry’s cover of ‘A Hard Rain’ is hilarious – I’ve always wondered what Dylan made of it. ‘Jealous Guy’ is classy too. I think they made much stronger albums in their initial tenure though.

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  3. A nice introduction. I tend to think most of their stuff is excellent, though my favourite tends to change daily. Was Stranded for a while there, but currently Country Life. Next week it’ll be For Your Pleasure again…

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      • I went through a phase, back when we lived in Saskatoon, of listening to some of Eno’s stuff. Music for airports, something like that? Anyway, I got them all from the library back then, but it’s all so long ago now that if I started now it’d be just like starting over.

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        • He made four albums between 1973 and 1977 where he sang lead vocals and wrote songs – they’re all pretty cool. I really like the 1970’s English art rock vibe, some of Bowie fits into it too.

          My daughter has a book out of the library with Saskatoon in it at the moment, so I’ve been hearing a bit about Saskatoon lately.

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        • I need to get back into his stuff again. I don’t see it around too often, though I must admit I haven’t honestly looked all that hard…

          Saskatoon is a beautiful city. We lived there for four years. The winters on the prairies are harsh, but the people are wonderful and even though it gets dismissed (I think) in the minds of most Canadians (because they likely haven’t been there), we really liked it there.

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        • I haven’t seen it, but I always find Eno interesting. Born to a long line of postmen, uses a set of custom-made cards to randomly make decisions in the studio when he reaches an impasse.

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        • He didn’t impress much in this movie, but neither did anybody else – the whole thing was a bit of a weird show…

          I like the cards. His own homemade version of a magic 8 ball!

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