Roxy Music: Buyer’s Guide to the Best Roxy Music Albums


Emerging fully formed in 1972 with their surprisingly original debut album, titled the same name, most people’s first glimpse of Roxy Music was of them playing Virginia Plain to Top of the pop.

The song was irresistibly catchy, the image was a searing combination of futuristic glam and retro-chic. Roxy Music was post-modern long before this expression was coined. Musically alluring enough to appeal to glam, prog, and pop fans simultaneously, they were futuristic and sharp, but also made reference to the past to ensure their sleek rock sound was executed with a knowing wink and veneer. strangely pleasant of artificiality.

Ferry’s mocking baritone and skillful pop / trash culture lyrics simply flew when paired with the musculature of Phil Manzanera’s guitar and Andy Mackay’s treated saxophone, but the band was superbly founded by the Paul Thompson’s spirited drums.

That Roxy Music suddenly lost its edge after boffin keyboardist / electronics Brian Eno (aka Brian Peter George St. Baptist de la Salle Eno) left the band after the second album At your service (’73) is one of the most enduring popular misconceptions in rock music.

Like the romantic exaggeration of Brian Jones’ role in The Rolling Stones (by people who thought he had great hair), it’s an absurd distortion of reality. And while Eno certainly deserves his reputation as a composer, producer and innovator, that status comes almost entirely from his post-Roxy Music accomplishments rather than his unwritten role as “synthesizer and cassettes” on the first pair of albums. of the group.

After Eno left to go solo, he was replaced by multi-instrumentalist and former Curved Air violinist, Eddie Jobson, who proved to be an even better flagship for Ferry’s increasingly focused soaring. and co, but still strange. Eno had played a big part in the overall feel of all that was Roxy Music, but Jobson tended to work more deep in the music as an instrumentalist and writer, rather than adding a layer of complementary atmospheres. squeaky synth noises.

These are Roxy’s mid-1970s albums – the era of Jobson and superlative bassist John Gustafson (both of whom were, apparently, “arms of the team” rather than full members of the band) – which remain the pinnacle of their musical success.

The band eventually broke up in 1983 (after which only Ferry enjoyed significant solo success) and returned for a surprisingly excellent world tour in 2001. They were back for some festival headline dates in 2010 and were inducted into the Rock group. and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.

Stranded (EG, 1973)

Confidence, power and imagination are the hallmarks of Roxy’s third album. Although now Eno-less, his departure allowed newcomer Eddie Jobson a side role in the group. His use of a synthesizer to approximate traffic noises at the start of Street life is typical of his invention and that of the group.

As well as the big screen and melodramatic Psalm A song for Europe, there is the driving, totally original Mother of pearl on which Ferry duet with himself in a manic manner before unexpectedly moving on to a more thoughtful passage. Relentless in his creativity and quality, Roxy was anything but stuck after Eno’s departure.See the offer

Country life (EG, 1974)

While an experimental nervousness is retained, the darker and harsher feeling of Failed is underlined on this fourth album of Roxy, on which they sometimes make think of King Crimson, the comrades of the EG label.

Ferry’s lyrics are dripping with regret and memory of excess, especially on Casanova and the dark but imposing The thrill of everything.

The threatening tension in Out of the blue finds a stunning outlet in Jobson’s electric violin solo, and bassist John Gustafson – an unrecognized element of Roxy’s peak years – excels throughout the sounding style that has become so much a part of Roxy’s sound that players of session echoed it in the 1979s Manifesto.See the offer

Mermaid (EG, 1975)

In addition to containing the exceptional beat of Love is drugs and the cloudy furrow of Both ends are burning, Siren has another set of rock / funk (as opposed to funk / rock) tracks with a huge range of brain-damaging twists.

Whirlpool and Just another high stand out in particular, and this formidable album almost matches the high standards of quality and consistency set by the band’s benchmark albums Country life and Failed.

Roxy Music signed on temporarily at this point, although when they returned – in part due to Ferry’s plummeting solo profile – the band’s dual ability to deliver such power and angularity would not be sustained for long.See the offer

For your pleasure (EG, 1973)

Second album At your service represents an accompaniment piece to Roxy’s early days, and on which the madness of the creativity of the first disc is at least reorganized: the same kaleidoscope of musical and lyrical themes – consumerism, fashion, sexuality, glamor – is present, but limited to singular songs and usually more linear rather than thrown together like a scatter gun.

Make the strand and Editions of you are the first Roxys at their fiercest, filled with Eno’s best random synth grains, while In every dream house, a heartache find the band immersed in a false melancholy – a tone that will become more real over the course of their next two albums.See the offer

Roxy Music (EG, 1972)

The opening Redo / Reshape, which would be closer on any other album, with its callbacks, interludes and booming closing, signaled that on Roxy’s groundbreaking debut, anything goes.

Although pleasantly frivolous in places, Roxy Music has moments that foreshadow the suffocating darkness and the bitter mirth of Country life.

Eno’s experimentalism and atmospheres suit perfectly the new spirit of the songs and adapt to their often particular construction. Ferry’s tangential vocals and lyrics add to the ramshackle uniqueness, while snippets of quaint ballads, old-fashioned rock’n’roll, and doo-wop also pop up when you least expect it.See the offer

Manifesto (Polydor, 1979)

Roxy’s most underrated album came out after a four-year hiatus. The core quartet made up for the absence of Jobson and Gustafson by pushing the sounds of this often gritty record into unexpected alleys.

However, especially on atypical hits Dance away and angel eyes – there is a pop chic finish and accessible to some other pieces. This creates a perfect balance between a more streamlined extrapolation of the Roxy sound and the brooding rock art of the title song and Stronger over the years.

The manifesto is often deceptively bracketed with the gentleness of the Flesh + Blood and Avalon, when in fact he has more in common with Roxy’s earlier era.See the offer

Long live! Roxy Music (EG, 1976)

Recorded at three British shows (with Jobson) from 1973 to 1975, Long live! … serves as an excellent coda for the first Roxy era by including at least one song from each of their five studio albums before the band’s break.

Both ends burn, out of the blue and Make the strand in particular benefit from the extra punch and energy of live performance, and both If there is anything (from the start) and The wrong man (of At your service) show new dimensions. The first becomes a winding epic, the second takes on an even more metronomic threat than the studio version.

Along with the live albums of the great artists of the 70s, Long live! … is somewhat overlooked.See the offer

Avalon (Polydor, 1982)

Until the announcement of their next release, Avalon has long been considered a fitting final studio album from Roxy Music. And as he reveals the previous (unsatisfactory) Flesh + Blood like a transition album testifying to the gap between the Roxy of yesteryear and the ethereal atmosphere displayed here, Avalon is in itself a transitional work for Ferry between the last vestiges of the Roxy sound and the otherworldly feeling he would pursue solo.

More than this and even the title song are (like the hits from Manifesto) not representative; it is the languorous and spider-like drift of While my heart is still beating and To light you up who are the real heart of the schemer Avalon album.See the offer

Live (Aigle, 2003)

Much more than the simple retreading expected by Ferry of the latest incarnation of Roxy Music, the band’s live reunion in 2001 restored them as a unit in their own right.

As Live shows, the expanded line-up has helped recreate all eras of Roxy Music, with saxophonist Andy Mackay and guitarist Phil Manzanera superbly developing what they played on the studio tracks.

Roxy’s return (perhaps surprisingly) was crucial for Paul Thompson, who showed how integral his drumming has been to the band’s first eight years, and here reinforces the thinner, later material, if applicable. Live even manages to bury rotten memories of the 1990s The heart is still beating.See the offer


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