The Classic Midnight Album – Avalon by Roxy Music


Tonight (February 1) on the famous classic album at midnight on Radio Nova we play Avalon by Roxy Music.

The album is presented in its entirety without advertising or interruption.

Formed in 1970 by singer-songwriter Bryan Ferry, Roxy Music began life in the progressive rock movement. Over the decade, the band evolved into a more commercial and mainstream band. In the late 70s, they found chart success with singles like Love is the Drug, Angel Eyes and Dance Away as their sound began to reflect the burgeoning new wave movement.

In 1981, Ferry was staying at Crumlin Lodge in County Clare, whose neighbor Lough Ugga Beag would feature on the cover of Avalaon’s album. Inspired by these mystical landscapes, Ferry began writing material for what would be Roxy Music‘s eighth and final studio album.

Inspired by the legend of King Arthur, Ferry initially considered writing a concept album around a single theme. In the end, he settled on 10 songs, which he compared to “10 poems, or short stories, that could, with a little more work, be fashioned into a novel.

By this point the band had been reduced to Ferry, lead guitarist Phil Manzanera and saxophonist Andy Mackay. To record Avalon, they headed to Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas. The band had cut back on their heavy drug use, which Manzanera says gave their previous albums a “spacedof the sound. Manazanera also claimed that “90%“Avalon was written in the studio and that the band”has completely changed our working methods.

Haitian singer Yanick Étienne was recruited when Ferry heard her recording with another band in Compass Point. Although she didn’t speak English, she became the band’s backing vocalist on Avalon. Guitarist Neil Hubbard, bassists Alan Spenner and Neil Jason, pianist Paul Carrack, cellist Kermit Moore, backing vocalist Fonzi Thornton, and drummers Andy Newmark, Rick Marotta and Jimmy Maelen also contributed to the album.

Avalon consists of 10 tracks. On side A, there is more than that; The space between; Avalon; India; and While my heart is still beating. On side B are The Main Thing; Try your luck with me; to light you up; resembling; and Tara.

Released on May 28, 1982, Avalon would become Roxy Music‘s best-selling album. It spent over a year on the UK Albums Chart, with three weeks at number one. In the United States, it failed to break the Top 50, but was a consistent seller, eventually racking up over a million sales.

The album was preceded by the release of More Than This as a single, which reached number six in Ireland and the UK. The title track followed in June with a music video directed by Ridley Scott and peaked at number nine in Ireland and 13 in the UK. A third single, Take a Chance with Me, was less successful, failing to crack the UK Top 30.

Avalon was well received by critics, with Rolling Stone’s Kurt Loder writing that Ferry’s writing “rarely seemed stronger.The magazine ranks the album at number 336 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Journey to Avalon with Roxy Music tonight at midnight on Radio Nova.

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