Years: 1971 – 1976; 1978 – 1983; 2001 – 2011
Styles: Art Rock, Experimental Rock, Funk Rock, Glam Rock, New Wave, Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Roger Bunn - Guitar (in band: 1971)
Dexter Lloyd - Drums (in band: 1971)
Bryan Ferry - Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboards, Mellotron, Piano, Vocals (in band: 1971 - 1983; 2001 - 2011)
Andy Mackay - Farfisa piano, Oboe, Saxophone, Vocals (in band: 1971 - 1983; 2001 - 2011)
Graham Simpson - Bass Guitar (in band: 1971 – 1972)
David O'List - Lead guitar (in band: 1971 - 1972)
Paul Thompson - Drums (in band: 1971 - 1980; 2001 - 2011)
Brian Eno - Bass Guitar, Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Saxophone, Synthesizer, VCS3 Synthesizer, Vocals (in band: 1971 – 1973)
Peter Paul - Bass Guitar (in band: 1972)
Rik Kenton - Bass Guitar (in band: 1972 - 1973)
Phil Manzanera - Guitar (in band: 1972 - 1983; 2001 - 2011)
John Porter - Bass Guitar (in band: 1973)
Rick Wills - Bass Guitar (in band: 1973 - 1975)
John Gustafson - Bass Guitar (in band: 1973 - 1976)
Eddie Jobson - Keyboards, Violin, Vocals (in band: 1973 – 1976)
Paul Carrack - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals (in band: 1978 - 1980)
Gary Tibbs - Bass Guitar (in band: 1978 - 1980)
Alan Spenner - Bass Guitar (in band: 1978 - 1983)
Andy Newmark - Drums (in band: 1980 - 1983; 2006)
Roxy Music formed in Newcastle, England in 1970 by art school graduate and teacher Brian Ferry alongside Graham Simpson. Early in 1971, they invited Andy Mackay and electronic wizard Brian Eno to join, finally settling with the debut album line-up a year later, when they added Phil Manzanera and Paul Thompson.
The concept of Roxy Music was the brainchild of Ferry who attempted to realise his vision of a musical equivalent of pop art he’d become fascinated with at college. Fashioning the band in an outlandish hybrid of decadent glamour and future shock experimentalism Ferry made sure Roxy Music would be hot property after only a handful of gigs. At this point, the other prime mover behind Roxy Music was Brian Eno, who shaped the band’s pioneering sound by wrenching all maneer of bizarre electronic noises from his mini-moog, feeding the rest of the instruments through an EMS modular synth and masterminding pre-recorded special effects.
Signed to Island, the band released their self-titled debut in the summer of 1972. Produced by Pete Sinfield (the King Crimson lyricist), the album effortlessly fused Ferry’s suave crooning, a pulsing rhytm section and Eno’s inspired electronic experimentation, garnering rave reviews and defying any attempts to pigeonhole the band’s sound. But it was the follow-up single, "Virginia Plain" (1972), which launched the band into pop stardom.
A carrering blas of avant-pop that managed to incorporate a lyric focusing on one oh the Ferry’s surrealist paintings, the single breached the upper echelons of the charts. By this juncture, Simpson had been given his marching orders and the band went through a bewildering succession of personnel changes. Ferry retaining strict control throughout. After another top ten hit with "Pyjamarama" in 1973, Roxy Music released their second album, "For Your Plesaure" later the same year. Juxtapoxing the ironic wig-out of tracks like "Do The Strand" and "Beauty Queen" with the vivid desolation of "In Every Dream Home A Heartache", the album distilled the essence of Ferry’s original vision, Eno left soon after, his more extreme experimental leanings at odds with the direction in which Ferry wanted to take the band.
Ferry also began a solo career around this time which he ran in tandem with the band, releasing an album of covers, "These Foolish Things", in 1973. Roxy Music, meanwhile, released their third masterpiece, "Stranded", a month later. The first album to feature new recruit Eddie Jobson (ex-Curved Air), the record was less confrontional but more assured in terms of songwriting, Ferry excelling himself with the haunted romanticism of "Mother Of Pearl" and the sweeping grandeur of "A Song For Europe".
A typically Roxy slice of ambiguous, discordant pop, the single,"Street Life", gave the band another Top 10 hit. By the following summer, Ferry had another solo album on the shelves: "Another Time, Another Place" saw him revealing in the role of slicked-back sophisticate, while Roxy’s "Country Life" saw the band in the rock-out mode on tracks like "The Thrill Of It All", while still buffing the sound with an ironic sheen. Despite a promising single, "Ļove Is The Drug", "Siren" (1975) found Ferry’s studied musings sounded jaded.
Less than a year later, the band split, with Mackay and Manzanera off to work on solo projects while Jobson joined Frank Zappa. Ferry, meanwhile, concentrated on his burgeoning solo career, hitting Top 5 with the funky "Lets Stick Together", following it up with the good-time album of the same name, for once going a bit easier on the irony. "In Your Mind" (1977) kept up the momentum, spawning the hit "Tokyo Joe", and seeing Ferry branch out into original material. Recorded in L.A. with aging session musicians, the sober tones of "The Bride Stripped Bare" (1978) was never going to gain much headway during the height of the punk explosion, yet it remains one of the most accessible Ferry’s solo albums. The same year, he canninly reformed Roxy Music, "Manifesto" (1979) heralding a smoother, cleaner sound with the emphasis on Ferry’s wristful crooning.
The singles "Angel Eyes" and "Dance Away" were the first in a string of the tortured pop nuggets that breached the upper reaches of the charts at the turn of the decade, the band finally reaching No.1 with their sublime cover of John Lennon’s "Jealous Guy" in 1981.
"Flesh And Blood" (1980) and "Avalon" (1982) were commercial but finely honed and exquisitely melodic, the latteer a quintessentially 80’s piece of synthesizer sophistication which inspired many ‘New wawe-futurist’ bands of the 80’s.
On this high note, Ferry disbanded Roxy Music finally in 1982 and resumed his solo career.
The Great Rock Discography - Martin C.Strong, 1st Edition, Publisher: Crown Publishers, ISBN-10: 0812931114, p. 705
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