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Roxy Music

Band from County Durham/London

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More Than This

Roxy Music

Roxy Music Biography

Roxy Music were an English rock band formed in 1970 by Bryan Ferry—who became the band's lead singer and main songwriter—and bass guitarist Graham Simpson. The other longtime members were Phil Manzanera (guitar), Andy Mackay, and Paul Thompson. Other members included Brian Eno, Eddie Jobson, and John Gustafson (bass). Although the band took a break from group activities in 1976 and again in 1983, they reunited for a concert tour in 2001, and toured together intermittently over the next few years. Ferry frequently enlisted band members as session musicians for his solo releases.History Formation and early years (1970–1971) In November 1970, Bryan Ferry, who had just lost hi...
Roxy Music were an English rock band formed in 1970 by Bryan Ferry—who became the band's lead singer and main songwriter—and bass guitarist Graham Simpson. The other longtime members were Phil Manzanera (guitar), Andy Mackay, and Paul Thompson. Other members included Brian Eno, Eddie Jobson, and John Gustafson (bass). Although the band took a break from group activities in 1976 and again in 1983, they reunited for a concert tour in 2001, and toured together intermittently over the next few years. Ferry frequently enlisted band members as session musicians for his solo releases.


Formation and early years (1970–1971)

In November 1970, Bryan Ferry, who had just lost his job teaching ceramics at a girls' school for holding impromptu record-listening sessions, advertised for a keyboard-player to collaborate with him and Graham Simpson, a bass-player he knew from his Newcastle art-college band, the Gas Board, and with whom he collaborated on his first songs. In early 1970 Ferry had auditioned as lead singer for King Crimson, who were seeking a replacement for Greg Lake. While Robert Fripp and Pete Sinfield decided Ferry's voice was unsuitable for King Crimson's material, they were impressed with his talent and helped the fledgling Roxy Music to obtain a contract with E.G. Records.

Andy Mackay replied to Ferry's advertisement, not as a keyboard-player but a saxophonist and oboist, though he did have a VCS3 synthesizer. Mackay had already met Brian Eno during university days, as both were interested in avant-garde and electronic music. Although Eno was a non-musician, he could operate a synthesizer and owned a Revox reel-to-reel tape machine, so Mackay convinced him to join the band as a technical adviser. Before long Eno was an official member of the group. Rounding out the original sextet were guitarist Roger Bunn (who had issued the well-regarded solo album Piece Of Mind earlier in 1970) and drummer Dexter Lloyd, a classically trained timpanist. The group's name was derived from Ferry and Mackay making a list of old cinemas, and Ferry picking Roxy because it had a "resonance", some "faded glamour", and "didn't really mean anything". After learning of an American band with the name Roxy, Ferry changed the name to Roxy Music.

Roxy played live through 1971, and recorded a demo tape of some early compositions. In the spring of '71, Lloyd left the band, and an advertisement was placed in Melody Maker saying "wonder drummer wanted for an avant rock group". Paul Thompson responded to the advertisement and joined the band in June 1971.

Bunn left the group at the end of the summer of 1971, and in October, Roxy advertised in Melody Maker seeking the "Perfect Guitarist". The successful applicant was David O'List, former guitarist with The Nice. Phil Manzanera—soon to become a group member—was one of about twenty other players who also auditioned. Although he did not initially make the band as a guitarist, the group were impressed enough with Manzanera that he was invited to become Roxy Music's roadie, an offer which he accepted.

The band's fortunes were greatly increased by the support of broadcaster John Peel and Melody Maker journalist Richard Williams. Williams became an enthusiastic fan after meeting Ferry and being given a demonstration tape during mid-1971, and wrote the first major article on the band, featured on Melody Maker's "Horizons" page in the edition of 7 August 1971. This line-up of Roxy Music (Ferry/Mackay/Eno/Simpson/Thompson/O'List) recorded a BBC session shortly thereafter.

Stranded, Country Life, Siren, and solo projects (1973–1977)

Soon after the tour to promote For Your Pleasure ended, Brian Eno left Roxy Music amidst increasing differences with Ferry. The other members of the band are reported to have shared some of Eno's concerns about Ferry's dominance, but they elected to remain. Also, John Gustafson became the band's bass player for the next three studio albums, but not always for live shows; though he toured with Roxy on certain dates in 1973 and 1975, other live Roxy bassists of this period (1973–1976) included Sal Maida, John Wetton and Rick Wills.

Roxy Music, 1974

Eno, meanwhile, was replaced by 18-year-old multi-instrumentalist Eddie Jobson, formerly of progressive rockers Curved Air, who played keyboards and electric violin. Although some fans lamented the loss of the experimental attitude and camp aesthetic that Eno had brought to the band, the classically trained Jobson was an accomplished musician. Rolling Stone referred to the albums Stranded (1973) and Country Life (1974) as marking "the zenith of contemporary British art rock". The songs on these albums also cemented Ferry's persona as the epitome of the suave, jaded Euro-sophisticate. Although this persona undoubtedly began as a deliberately ironic device, during the mid-1970s it seemed to merge with Ferry's real life, as the working-class miner's son from the north of England became an international rock star and an icon of male style.

On the first two Roxy albums, all songs were written solely by Bryan Ferry. Beginning with Stranded, Mackay and Manzanera began to co-write some material. Gradually, their songwriting and musicianship became more integrated into the band's sound, although Ferry remained the dominant songwriter; throughout their career, all but one of Roxy's singles were written either wholly or jointly by Ferry (Manzanera, Mackay and Thompson did individually write a few of the band's B-sides). Stranded was released in November 1973, and produced the top-10 single "Street Life".

The fourth album, Country Life, was released in 1974, and was the first Roxy Music album to enter the US Top 40, albeit at No. 37. Country Life was met with widespread critical acclaim, with Rolling Stone referring to it "as if Ferry ran a cabaret for psychotics, featuring chanteurs in a state of shock". Their fifth album, Siren, contained their only US top 40 hit, "Love Is the Drug". (Ferry said the song came to him while kicking the leaves during a walk through Hyde Park.)[citation needed]

After the concert tours in support of Siren in 1976, Roxy Music disbanded. Their live album Viva! was released in August 1976. During this time Ferry released two solo records on which Manzanera and Thompson performed, and Manzanera reunited with Eno on the critically acclaimed one-off 801 Live album.

Reunions and final dissolution (2001–2011, 2019)

Ferry, Manzanera, Mackay, and Thompson re-formed in 2001 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the band, and toured extensively. A festival performance in Portugal and a short tour of the United States followed in 2003. Absent was Brian Eno, who criticised the motives of the band's reunion, saying, "I just don't like the idea. It leaves a bad taste". Later Eno remarked that his comment had been taken out of context. Manzanera and Thompson recorded and toured with Ferry on his 2002 album Frantic. Eno also contributed to Frantic on the track "I Thought".

During 2002, Image Entertainment, Inc., released the concert DVD Roxy Music Live at the Apollo featuring performances of 20 songs plus interviews and rehearsal footage.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the group No. 98 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Roxy Music gave a live performance at the 2005 Isle of Wight Festival on 11 June 2005, their first UK concert since the 2001–2002 world tour. On 2 July 2005, the band played "Jealous Guy", "Do the Strand", and "Love is the Drug" at the Berlin contribution to Live8; "Do the Strand" is available on the 4-disc DVD collection, and "Love Is the Drug" can be found on the Live 8 Berlin DVD.

In March 2005, it was announced on Phil Manzanera's official site that the band, including Brian Eno, had decided to record an album of new material. The project would mark the first time Eno worked with Roxy Music since 1973's For Your Pleasure. After a number of denials that he would be involved with any Roxy Music reunion, on 19 May 2006 Eno revealed that he had contributed two songs to the new album as well as playing keyboards on other tracks. He did, however, rule out touring with the band. Had the record been released as a Roxy Music album, it would have been the first album since Manifesto on which original drummer Paul Thompson performed.

Roxy Music on stage during concert at London's ExCeL Exhibition Centre, July 2006

During early 2006 a classic Roxy track, "The Main Thing", was remixed by Malcolm Green and used as the soundtrack to a pan-European television commercial for the Opel Vectra featuring celebrated football referee Pierluigi Collina. In July that year, the band toured Europe. They concentrated mostly on places they had never visited before, such as Serbia and Macedonia. Roxy Music's second drummer, Andy Newmark, performed during the tour, as Thompson withdrew due to health issues, and Oliver Thompson (guitar) made his first appearance with the band.

In a March 2007 interview with the Western Daily Press, Ferry confirmed that the next Roxy album was definitely being made, but would not be vended for another "year and a half", as he had just released and toured behind his twelfth studio album, Dylanesque, consisting of Bob Dylan covers. In June 2007, the band hired a Liverpool-based design agency to develop a website supporting their new album. Early in the year, Manzanera revealed that the band were planning to sign a record contract. In an October 2007 interview, Ferry said the album would include a collaboration with Scissor Sisters.

Over the summer of 2010, Roxy Music headlined various festivals across the world, including Lovebox at London's Victoria Park, Electric Picnic in Stradbally, Co. Laois, Ireland, and Bestival on the Isle of Wight. Owing to illness, Thompson was replaced on three dates of the tour by Andy Newmark, but returned for the Bestival set.

Roxy performed seven dates around the UK in January and February 2011, in a tour billed 'For Your Pleasure', to celebrate the band's 40th anniversary. They toured Australia and New Zealand between February and March for a further eight shows. These are the final Roxy Music live performances to date.

In 2012, Virgin released a box-set entitled Roxy Music: The Complete Studio Recordings 1972–1982, celebrating 40 years since the release of the band's debut in 1972.

In a Rolling Stone Magazine interview on 3 November 2014, Manzanera stated that Roxy had been inactive since 2011 and were unlikely to perform together again. Of a new album, he told Classic Rock, "We all listened to it and thought, 'We can't do this. It's not going to be any good. Let's just bin it.' And so it's just sitting there on our personal computers. Maybe one day it'll get finished. But there's no point in putting it out if it's not great."

On 29 March 2019, Roxy Music were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Ferry, Manzanera, Mackay and Jobson performed a six-song set at the induction ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.


The early style and presentation of Roxy Music was influenced by the art school backgrounds of its principal members. Ferry, Mackay and Eno all had studied at prominent UK art colleges during the mid-to-late 1960s, when these institutions were introducing courses that avoided traditional art teaching practice, with its emphasis on painting, and instead focused on more recent developments, most notably pop art, and explored new concepts such as cybernetics. As writer Michael Bracewell notes in his book Roxy: the band that invented an era, Roxy Music was created expressly by Ferry, Mackay and Eno as a means of combining their mutual interests in music, modern art and fashion.

Ferry studied at Newcastle University in the Sixties under renowned pop artist and educator Richard Hamilton, and many of Ferry's university friends, classmates and tutors – e.g. Rita Donagh and Tim Head – became well-known artists in their own right. Eno studied at Winchester School of Art and although his iconoclastic style became apparent early and caused some conflict with the college establishment, it also resulted in him meeting important artists and musicians including Cornelius Cardew and Gavin Bryars. His interest in electronic music also resulted in his first meetings with Andy Mackay, who was studying at Reading University and who had likewise developed a strong interest in avant garde and electronic music.

The three eventually joined forces in London during 1970–71 after meeting through mutual friends and decided to form a rock band.

Roxy Music was initially influenced by other contemporary artists at the time including The Beatles, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Elton John, The Animals, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Jimi Hendrix, The Velvet Underground and The Who, as well as American rock'n'roll acts and genres such as Elvis Presley and Motown. Ferry stated that Roxy Music's unique sound came as a result of the diverse and eclectic musical backgrounds of the band's members; "I had lots of musical influences, Phil Manzanera had this Latin heritage, being born in South America. Saxophone and oboe player Andy Mackay was classically trained. Eno with his deep interest in experimental music. They were specialists in their field. Paul Thompson brought a lot, with his very powerful, earthy drumming."

Roxy Music was one of the first rock music groups to create and maintain a carefully crafted look and style that included their stage presentation, music videos, album and single cover designs, and promotional materials such as posters, handbills, cards and badges. They were assisted in this by a group of friends and associates who helped to sculpt the classic Roxy Music 'look', notably fashion designer Antony Price, hair stylist Keith Mainwaring, photographer Karl Stoecker, the group's "PR consultant" Simon Puxley (a former university friend of Mackay's) and Ferry's art school classmate Nicholas De Ville. Well-known critic Lester Bangs went so far as to say that Roxy represented "the triumph of artifice". Ferry later attributed the band's look to his interest in American music and popular culture icons including Marilyn Monroe, Motown and Stax Records artists. He also stated he wanted to create an alternative image to publicity shots of pop and rock groups at the time which would feature artists "in a dreary street, looking rather sullen. Which was the norm."

The band's self-titled debut album, produced by King Crimson's Pete Sinfield, was the first in a series of albums with increasingly sophisticated covers, with art direction by Ferry in collaboration with his friend Nick De Ville. The album artwork imitated the visual style of classic "girlie" and fashion magazines, featuring high-fashion shots of scantily clad models Amanda Lear, Marilyn Cole and Jerry Hall, each of whom had romances with Ferry during the time of their contributions, as well as model Kari-Ann Muller who appears on the cover of the first Roxy album but who was not otherwise involved with anyone in the band, and who later married Mick Jagger's brother Chris. The title of the fourth Roxy album, Country Life, was intended as a parody of the well-known British rural magazine of the same name, and the visually punning front cover photo featured two models (two German fans, Constanze Karoli—sister of Can's Michael Karoli—and Eveline Grunwald) clad only in semi-transparent lingerie standing against an evergreen hedge. As a result, in many areas of the United States the album was sold in an opaque plastic wrapper because retailers refused to display the cover. Later, an alternative cover, featuring just a picture of the forest, was used.

Legacy and influence

In 2005, Tim de Lisle of The Guardian argued that Roxy Music are the second most influential British band after the Beatles. He wrote, "Somehow, in a landscape dominated by Led Zeppelin at one end and the Osmonds at the other, they managed to reach the Top 10 with a heady mixture of futurism, retro rock'n'roll, camp, funny noises, silly outfits, art techniques, film references and oboe solos. And although their popularity has ebbed and flowed, their influence has been strikingly consistent." In 2019, The Economist also described them as "the best British art-rock band since the Beatles", arguing that "among English rock acts of that time, their spirit of adventure and their impact" was "surpassed only" by David Bowie. Bowie himself cited Roxy Music as one of his favourite British groups and in a 1975 television interview described Bryan Ferry as "spearheading some of the best music to come out of England."

Roxy Music's sound and visual style have been described as a significant influence on later genres and subcultures such as electronic music, punk rock, disco, new wave and new romantic. Madness are among the artists that have cited Roxy Music as an influence. They paid tribute to Bryan Ferry in the song "4BF" (the title is a reference to the song "2HB", itself a tribute to Humphrey Bogart from the first Roxy Music album). Other artists who have cited or been described as influenced by Roxy Music include Nile Rodgers, Kate Bush, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Duran Duran, Adam and the Ants, U2, the Smiths, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Spandau Ballet, Radiohead, Scissor Sisters, Talking Heads, Simple Minds, Steven Wilson, Garbage, Placebo, Imogen Heap, Goldfrapp, Pulp, The Sex Pistols, the Human League, Todd Terje and Franz Ferdinand.

In 1997, John Taylor of Duran Duran produced the tribute album Dream Home Heartaches... Remaking/Remodeling Roxy Music. The compilation features Taylor as well as Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode) and Low Pop Suicide, among others.

Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones named his first band The Strand after the Roxy Music song Do The Strand. Jones has also described Roxy Music's style as a strong influence on the later punk craze he would go on to become a part of and cited their debut album as one of his all-time favourites.

The electronic band Ladytron took their name from the title of a song from Roxy Music's debut album.

The British band Bananarama took their name, in part, from the Roxy Music song "Pyjamarama".

In popular culture

Roxy Music's work has been featured in a number of soundtracks for both film and television. Multiple Roxy Music songs were featured in the soundtrack to the 2006 BBC fantasy-police drama series Life on Mars set in 1970s Manchester. "Same Old Scene" plays over the closing credits of the 2008 pilot episode for Life on Mars' sequel series Ashes to Ashes, during both the opening and end credits of the 1980 film Times Square, and is featured in a party scene in the 2018 film Can You Ever Forgive Me? The track "Love is the drug" is featured in 1995 Martin Scorsese film Casino. The track "If There Is Something" plays a symbolic role in the 2008 drama/coming of age movie Flashbacks of a Fool directed by Baillie Walsh and starring Daniel Craig. In the film, the younger version of Craig's character is also shown dressing up as Bryan Ferry during a flashback scene set in the 1970s. Sofia Coppola's 2003 film Lost in Translation features Bill Murray's character Bob Harris singing an off-key version of "More Than This" in a karaoke club. It was also used on a Nissan TV advertisement in 1999. "More Than This" also is danced to by Toni Collette's character in the 2019 mystery film Knives Out and was featured in the Cold War set television show The Americans. The title song "Avalon" of the 1982 album of the same name was featured in the 2005 Nick Love film The Business.

A remixed and instrumental of "The Main Thing" was used in a 2006 advertisement campaign for the Vauxhall Vectra featuring Pierluigi Collina.

An antagonist character in the video game Final Fight named Roxy (a female acrobatic fighter) is named after the band, as are other enemy characters in the game that pay homage to someone or something related to music, like her identical partner Poison.

Roxy Music's iconic 24 August 1972 television appearance on the BBC's Top of the Pops, performing their single "Virginia Plain", was affectionately parodied on two occasions on different British TV comedy programs. The first parody was performed by the cast of the sketch comedy series Big Train (Series 1, Episode 6) in 1998; in the show's closing sketch, a dying Chairman Mao (played by Kevin Eldon) appears to expire, but then rises from his deathbed to perform "Virginia Plain" in the style of Bryan Ferry, accompanied by the rest of the cast members (plus series co-writer Arthur Mathews) dressed as the members of Roxy Music. The second parody was performed by the cast of the comedy quiz show Shooting Stars in 2002 (Series 5, Episode 7), with Vic Reeves as Bryan Ferry, Bob Mortimer as Phil Manzanera, Johnny Vegas as Eno, and Matt Lucas as Paul Thompson.

In the HBO series Westworld's episode "The Riddle of the Sphinx", an experimental robotic copy of James Delos dances to the Roxy Music song "Do the Strand".

In early April 2021, an image of a purported 1971 letter addressed to "Mr B. Ferry" circulated widely on social media. The document appeared to be a rejection note, sent to Ferry by one "Hugh C. Smith", an Artists & Repertoire manager at Polydor Records, in which "Smith" patronisingly critiqued a demo tape that the group had submitted to the label. According to a 4 April 2021 item in the Treble e-zine, the letter was in fact an April Fool's Day prank which apparently originated from the Twitter account of former Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club drummer Chris Frantz. In May 2021, Tony Barrell, a British writer and Roxy Music fan, announced that he was the author of the letter.



Source : Wikipedia
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Roxy Music Discography

  • 1972AlbumRoxy Music
  • 1973AlbumFor Your Pleasure
  • 1973AlbumStranded
  • 1974AlbumCountry Life
  • 1975AlbumSiren
  • 1976AlbumViva! Roxy Music
  • 1979AlbumManifesto
  • 1980AlbumFlesh + Blood
  • 1986AlbumStreet Life - 20 Greatest Hits
  • 1995AlbumMore Than This - The Best Of Bryan Ferry And Roxy Music
  • 1999AlbumAvalon
  • 1999AlbumHeart Still Beating
  • 2000AlbumThe Early Years
  • 2001AlbumThe Best of Roxy Music
  • 2008AlbumClassic Top of the Pops Performances (Video Album)
  • 2012SingleLove Is The Drug / Avalon
  • 2012SingleLove Is the Drug (Todd Terje Disco Dub)
  • 2019AlbumDenver 1979 (Live)
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