As the patchouli oiled ’60s faded, rock fragmented into a number of subgenres – sparking prog, glam, hard rock, and punk, among others. Then you had Roxy Music, which came in with a look and feel like no one else.
They combined elements of glam, but they weren’t limited to it. They predicted the era to come while setting a new standard for front album cover art, sartorial verve, and doomed lover tales. Musically, at least at the start of Brian Eno’s tenure, they drew inspiration from the fearlessness of punk, mingling with extremely inventive musical creation. (Phil Manzanera initially responded to a Melody maker announces calling a guitarist “original, creative, adaptable, melodic, fast, slow, elegant, witty, scary, stable, delicate.” “)
Later reduced to the core of the trio of singers Bryan Ferry, Manzanera and multi-instrumentalist Andy Mackay, Roxy Music moved on to more sophisticated atmospheres, eventually finding mainstream success with the 1982s. Avalon just before going their separate ways. A story that combines both innovation and popularity would seem to tick all the boxes for a potential Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nomination.
Yet Roxy Music has been eligible since 1997, and was never even nominated until it finally found a home on the 2019 ballot. It remains one of the more notable snubs. Don’t believe us? Here are five reasons Roxy Music should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
They are arguably the first group of the 80s
1972 by Roxy Music eponymous start included a liner credit for the stylist who did their clothes, makeup and hair. In other words, the 1960s were officially over.
“Everything went flat,” Phil Manzanera told the Guardian. “A lot of musicians were doing heavy drugs. They didn’t have any anymore, so they didn’t even bother to wear kaftans or other hippie stuff, which had been styled in their own way.”
Not Roxy Music, who already predicted the Following sleek post-modernist materialism of the decade. Could MTV have ever existed without them? The new romantics? Chameleon artists, including Madonna? Ferry’s detached neuroticism on their early records opened the door for Devo and Gary Numan. Roxy Music fashion designer Antony Price created Ferry’s animal-print jacket and Manzanera’s bespectacled glasses, before later working with Duran Duran.
Roxy Music’s first UK hit, “Virginia Plain” provided a quick shot for the Cars. The Spandau Ballet later stole their appearance to the point that they should have been charged with grand larceny.
They married experimentalism to pop
Big fans of the Velvet Underground, Roxy Music also came and went in the blink of an eye, but had a huge impact. More than that, they put forward their heroes’ emphasis on free thinking and austere minimalism.
“I’ve always loved the Velvet Underground,” Manzanera said Guitar world, adding that they were “a lot on a few chords and soundscapes, really, through guitar returns and stuff like that”.
Manzanera first met Brian Eno at avant-garde concerts, and eventually they shared an apartment. They also discovered a common passion for system music composers like Steve Reich, but nothing shaped their vision for Roxy Music like that of 1967. Velvet Underground & Nico. You also hear the Velvet Underground in Paul Thompson’s earthy and powerful drums.
“The Velvets used very few chords and the lyrical content was fantastic. They had such charisma and a beautiful mermaid to Nico,” Manzanera told the Sun. “If you could look at me in Command Studios, Piccadilly, in 1972, you would see a little bubble come out of my head saying, ‘What would they be playing?'”
It was actually a great 70s band too.
Roxy Music’s debut album could be described today in most ’70s terms: progressive rock. Check out the tracklist, which includes two songs over six minutes long (“If There Is Something” and “Sea Breezes”) and a multi-part sequel called “The Bob (Medley)” focusing on the Battle of the Second World War. Brittany.
“This whole debut album sounds so weird,” Manzanera told the Guardian. “It’s such a mishmash of stuff. Roxy just wouldn’t have signed today.”
There were more direct prog connections. Before Manzanera took over, Roxy Music worked with guitarist David O’List – formerly of Nice, a flagship progressive rock band. Ferry actually auditioned for King Crimson, but Robert Fripp decided he wasn’t fit to replace Greg Lake. Still, it was impressive enough that Fripp and Crimson lyricist Pete Sinfield helped sign Roxy Music with a record company, and Sinfield produce their debut.
In the meantime, what could be more punk than Eno? A proud non-musician, he started by adding a series of abstract effects via new synthesizer technology and weird tape loops – applying alien music techniques to a slightly more conventional song.
They never stopped evolving
They started out using absolutely fearless musical contexts that mixed clipped rhythms, avant-garde ironic stance, and space-age sound effects. Then, after five albums together, Roxy Music changed gears, repositioning itself away from this sometimes abrasive experimentalism towards a more majestic pop.
“We always felt a great urge to do something different on each album,” Manzanera said. Its strongest. “Over a period of 10 years, what we lasted was not easy. The band went from being something to something completely different. It started out a bit like a band that played live and that was building his songs a certain way It ended up being a studio building, which was Avalon, which gradually developed, using the studio as an instrument. “
They got there gradually, abandoning the cutting edge elements of their work in search of a more accessible and mature sound – while staying true to Ferry’s desire, however. still often abstract stories. This suits a band that started their career with a song called “Re-Make / Re-Model”.
Roxy Music’s influence goes far beyond their looks
Nil Rodgers said the funky beats created by drummer Paul Thompson and the late bassist John Gustafson for 1975’s “Love is the Drug” Mermaid inspired him to train Elegant. Bryan Ferry’s cursed love stories were an obvious catalyst for the New Wave, while Eno had a direct impact on Talking Heads, U2 and Peter Gabriel.
Thom yorke he later took over “Re-make / Re-model”, clearly highlighting Radiohead’s debt to Roxy Music. They bubble up in Ladytron’s music and Imogen Heap, too much. Then there are neo-glam groups like Placebo, although Manzanera says their influence is more about attitude.
“Not in the specific sound,” the guitarist told the New York Daily News, “but in the fact that they are masters of their own destiny. They do what they want, whether others want it or not.”
Eno then turned to ambient electronic music, alluding to those soundscapes open to the 1975s. Another green world then plunge headlong into a musical domain that was then largely unexplored. It connected him again thematically with Steve Reich, and then in the studio with Fripp.