July 1 – Pablo Cruise-d Towards Top 10

Did they sell this one at marinas? If there wasn’t already a term for it, someone would have had to come up with the phrase “Yacht Rock” for the song, and group, that hit the top 40 this day in 1978 “Love Will Find A Way” by Pablo Cruise. I mean, they even incorporated a palm tree into the band logo and for the album cover, used an ocean sunset image! The single would go on to be one of the San Francisco band’s two big hits and one of the defining moments of that specific, usually California-based easy listening sound of the decade.

Pablo Cruise had started in the Bay Area in ’73, as a quartet. Guitarist and lead singer David Jenkins and keyboardist Cory Lerrios still run the group, almost five decades later though drummer Steve Price and bassist Bruce Day have moved along, as have Mike and Steve Porcaro of Toto who appeared on the record, but weren’t full members. Neither was there a “Pablo Cruise,” the band name was just something they came up with. They say “Pablo represents an honest, down-to-earth individual, and the ‘Cruise’ his fun-loving and easy attitude towards life.”

The song was written by Jenkins and Lerrios and certainly captured the zeitgest of the era. It was the lead single off their fourth album, Worlds Away, which ended up being their only top 10 album and one of two of theirs to hit platinum status. As allmusic would put it, the album with its “jazz-influenced pop sounds” “groove like Player in a Hawaiian shirt with a deep, dark tan.” “Love Will Find A Way” rose to #6 (tied for their career best with “Whatcha Gonna Do?”) , #5 in Canada and #8 in Australia, making it their biggest international hit.

Although it’s been awhile since they had a hit record, Pablo is still cruising, a popular act on oldies and Yacht Rock tours with the likes of Ambrosia and Christopher Cross.

June 30 – The Turntable Talk, Round 4 : Could This Titanic Stay Afloat?

Welcome back to The Turntable Talk. As before, we’ve invited some other interesting music writers to share their opinions on a single topic, and we’ll be running their replies this week. Previous times we’ve looked at the influence of The Beatles, pros and cons of live albums, and the impact of MTV and music videos. This time around, we’re looking at “out of the blue”… debuts that came out of nowhere and really took listeners by surprise. Albums, or singles, that made you turn your head and say “that’s great! Who is that!?” Let’s hear about the great entrances to the musical stage and why they so impressed you… and perhaps if the act would go on to live up to that early potential or not.

Today, we have Colin from Once Upon A Time In the 70s. Colin is proudly Scottish and writes about the music and other aspects of growing up in the UK during the 1970s, and he talks about a band that might be new to many of us over here on this side of the Atlantic:

I’ll happily confess to being a bit of a grumpy old cynic. Not just when it comes to music, but to Life in general. Hey! I’m from the West of Scotland, that’s just how we’re built round these parts.

It means though, that as I grow older, very little actually surprises me now. If not exactly ‘wise’ I am at least an old man. I’ve seen it all. I’ve heard it all before. Give or take.

So my nomination for a song (and it is just a song – well, two if you count the B-side) comes from my youth.

I would have just turned thirteen when this song was released in the UK. My parents weren’t into the Beatles or Rolling Stones or anything like that – they listened to the soundtracks of ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘South Pacific, or the military marching band sounds of The Royal Marines. I suppose it could be argued then that any ‘modern’ music came ‘out of the blue,’ to me.

At that age, I was becoming musically aware, though deprived the sounds of psychedelia and emerging heavy rock, my taste was, let’s say, a little on the innocent side. If I tell you the first three singles I bought were:

  1. The Sweet: ‘Coco.’ (June 1971)

  2. The New Seekers: ‘Never Ending Song of Love.’ (July 1971)

  3. Ken Dodd: ‘When Love Comes Around Again.’ (July 1971)

then perhaps you’ll understand how this particular track hit me like a bolt from the blue.

The fourth single I bought was ‘Sultana’ by Titanic.

Titanic were formed in 1969, and as I recall were billed as being from Norway. In fact, vocalist and main lyricist, Roy Robinson was from England. Not that there was much in the way of lyrics on this particular track.

They presented themselves, it appeared, as very ramshackle and espoused a laid back, hippie attitude. And I loved it! This was a bit of a musical awakening for a fresh, new teenager. Here was an exotic sounding ‘foreign’ band, who didn’t conform to that clean-cut, wholesome image of the bands I was more familiar with. In fact, they looked downright skanky!

I was mesmerized by the tribal and rhythmic percussion. And that organ! It was all new to me back then, but I’d soon be searching out more music along these lines. Atomic Rooster would later become a firm favourite.

My copy of ‘Sultana’ shows it released as the ‘B-side’ to Sing Fool Sing’ on the flip, though I think from reading other articles and books, the two tracks were effectively ‘Double A.’

National radio chose ‘Sultana’ as being more favourable for daytime airplay, and it resultantly spent twelve weeks in UK charts, peaking at #5 on 24th October 1971.

There was nothing around as far I could hear, that was anything like this. It still passes the ‘originality’ test to this day. It was Titanic’s debut 7” release in UK, though curiously, both tracks were lifted from their second album ‘Sea Wolf,’ while the follow-up, ‘Santa Fé’ came from their eponymous debut LP of 1970.

Sadly, Titanicoh crap, I’m just gonna say it – sank without much trace after this early highlight in their career. In addition to those mentioned above, the band released a further four albums in the ‘70s and one in 1993 during a short-lived reunion.

These LPs don’t attract much attention by way of the second-hand market. They are not particularly sought after, which is great, because they are available to buy at vary reasonable rates. Personally, I love them – good, solid, early heavy rock with strong vocals, powerful drumming and of course that distinctive organ.

Several singles were lifted from those albums, none of which made any real impact either. So yes, Titanic were your archetypal ‘one hit wonders.’

The next 7” I bought as a thirteen year old was, ‘Tokoloshe Man’ by John Kongos, followed by releases from Slade / Alice Cooper / Free. My life-long journey into the love of Rock music had begun.

So yes, like the ocean liner Titanic had only one hit. But boy! What an impact!

________________

 

June 28 – The Low & Loving Booming Bass Baritone Of Barry

If chocolate fudge cake could sing, it would sound like” this, according to the BBC. The voice that launched a thousand babies, Barry White, put out his biggest single, “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love Babe” this day in 1974.

It was the title track from his third album, which came along a few weeks later. The distinctively bass-voiced R&B singer was by then 29 and quite a veteran of the music world…albeit fairly new as a solo singer. He grew up largely in L.A., listening to a lot of classical music his mom favored. In the ’60s, he’d put out a few unsuccessful singles but also worked as an A&R man for a small label, produced several records and even wrote music for the kids show The Banana Splits! Around 1970 he joined Love Unlimited, a soul girls’ group, as a producer and writer, writing their 1972 hit “Walkin’ in the Rain” and the 1973 #1 instrumental “Love’s Theme.” In time, 20th Century Fox gave him a solo recording contract (though a huge player in movies, Fox never made a major impression in music…but they gave it a shot). His first two albums both went to #1 on R&B charts and got him noticed at least on hit radio with the single “I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More” This song though put him front and center among the biggest acts going in ’74.

Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love Babe” was his only #1 hit single, and hit a career-best #5 in Canada. Coupled with the follow-up, “You’re the First, The Last, My Everything,”, it also pushed the album to the top of American charts.

White would go on to have six #1 albums on the R&B charts in the ’70s, but his disco-soul sound fell out of favor in the ’80s. This song lives on in various movies and TV shows though, including The Simpsons. They used it in their “Whacking Day” show in which Lisa recruits Barry and his low voice to sing for snakes; he was a fan of the show and even wrote an original song for that episode.

White passed away in 2003, suffering from various smoking and diabetes related problems.

June 22 – ‘Blue’ Mood Reverberated With Fans

Why feel “blue” all alone while you can share it with millions of others and, if you’re talented, be acclaimed as one of the best singer/songwriters of all-time. And Joni Mitchell is talented. Her much acclaimed fourth album, Blue, came out this day in 1971.

Canadian by birth, but happily residing in L.A.’s Laurel Canyon at the time, Joni liked men…but wasn’t great at relationships, it might seem. That’s the basic background to Blue, a record Pitchfork calls “possibly the most gutting breakup record ever.” While she was preparing it, she’d just broken up with Graham Nash (of Crosby, Stills & Nash), so she decided to take a break and sightsee across Europe for a little. While there she met Cary Raditz, a hot-tempered Greek variously described as a hippie and a cook. She wrote “Carey” , the album’s hit, for him, but soon tired of him, scorning him as a “red red rogue” in “California.” “He seemed fierce,” he’d later recall. “He was a bit of a scoundrel.” Raditz for his part said “I liked Joni a lot and didn’t like losing her company. But on the road you already know the friendships you develop will be short-lived.” She soon returned to California, hooked up with James Taylor (one of the few musicians to help out on this self-produced record; Joni even learned to play the dulcimer to add a bit of that to “Carey”) while recording it.

The result was a mainly acoustic, ten-song folk record that can’t be described as anything but “open” or “honest.” Mitchell said “there’s hardly a dishonest note in the vocals…I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world.”

The quiet and revealing sounds won her a whole batch of new fans. Songs like “Little Green”, “My Old Man” and the pair of singles, “Carey” and “California” became fan favorites and she discovered fans in an unexpected place when Nazareth turned a very rockin’ version of her “This Flight Tonight” into a European hit. Apparently they liked listening to Blue in buses on the road and she approved of their treatment of it.

Although “Carey” was the biggest hit on it, and only got to #27 in Canada (faring less well elsewhere), the album was a must-have for folkies and college types, making it to #3 in the UK, #9 in Canada and #15 in the States where it soon went platinum.

Reasonably well-reviewed when it came out, its impact has grown steadily though the years. The New York Times ranked it among the “25 albums that represented turning points or pinnacles in 20th Century music.” The NPR rank it as the finest female album ever, something now echoed by Rolling Stone which jumped it up to #3 on their greatest albums of all-time in 2020, up from #30 the previous time they did a similar exercise. Entertainment Weekly put it at 11th greatest ever, sandwiched between the Beatles “White Album” and Nirvana’s Nevermind.

Pitchfork and allmusic both give it perfect-scores. The former “the album’s suffused with melancholy for all that’s missing – her daughter (“Little Green”), innocence (“The Last Time I saw Richard”) and connection (“All I Want.” ) Allmusic call it the “quintessential singer/songwriter album.”

Interestingly, for an album so deeply personal to her, she veered a little on the album cover itself. The photo by well-known album cover designer Gary Burden was the first one of hers not to feature a painting by her on front.

June 21 – One Way To Buy A Thrill Might Be To Become An Avocado Farmer

Readers of the New York Times this day in 1981 got a musical surprise. Probably an unwelcome one at that. They found that essentially Steely Dan had broken up. Donald Fagen let the news slip out casually in an interview with the paper about eight months after their seventh studio album, Gaucho, had come out. It became the sixth of the seven to go platinum in the States and added another hit to their eight previous American top 30 singles, “Hey Nineteen.”

In the interview, Fagen talked enthusiastically about doing a song(“True Companion”) for the Heavy Metal soundtrack and noted that he was ready to begin working on a solo album (which would be The Nightfly, his most successful solo work). “The fact that it’s not a Steely Dan album has freed me from a certain image, a preconceived idea of how it’ll sound,” he said. When asked whether or not Steely Dan would get back together he said “we just kind of left that in the air. We’ll see,” but noted Steely Dan – he and Walter Becker – decided “after writing and playing together for 14 years, we could use a ‘change mondaire’ as the French say. We wanted to do something fresh.”

For Becker, that meant a whole change of scenery. He moved to Hawaii to “become an avocado rancher and self-styled critic of the contemporary scene”…and clean up. After years of abuse he quit drugs, drinking and even smoking. The previous year had probably been a wake-up call for him. His girlfriend, the band’s manager Karen Stanley died of an overdose in his apartment. While he wasn’t directly responsible, her family slapped a multi-million dollar lawsuit on him for “wrongful death” asserting he had introduced her to both cocaine and heroin. They settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Almost the same time, he was hit by a taxi in New York and had broken both legs, making the making of Gaucho “long, torturous and incredibly expensive.”

They’d had humble beginnings as staff writers at ABC Records and being in a band called Leather Canary, famous later only for having soon-to-be actor Chevy Chase playing drums. But that led to Steely Dan forming in 1971, and together they managed to put out some of the finest-engineered and critically acclaimed albums of the decade, such as Can’t Buy A Thrill and Aja. As Rickie Lee Jones said upon Becker’s death , “what ‘the Dan’ accomplished was this – they introduced a new idea into the musical conversation of the time…intelligent music was cool.”

Although they’d each keep moderately busy in the ’80s, Fagen doing solo work, Becker producing a few albums and briefly joining British band China Crisis (including on their career highlight, the Flaunt the Imperfection album) neither achieved much commercial success or attention after Fagen’s jazzy The Nightfly and its hit, “IGY.” So, having left it in the air, as it were, in 1993 they got back together and toured in 1994, something they were highly reluctant to do in their heyday. Eventually they’d record again, putting out Two Against Nature in 2000, an album that won more critical accolades than huge sales.

Becker passed away from cancer in 2017, but Fagen has kept the “band” going as a touring act, with a number of talented session players behind him.

June 21- Beach Girl & Her Captain Hit It Off In A Big Way

Well, it did for nearly 40 years – keep ’em together that is. Talk about your beginner’s luck…Captain and Tennille hit it big with their first hit single, “Love Will Keep Us Together” which hit #1 on Billboard on this day in 1975. It would stay atop the chart for a month, chart in an alternate, Spanish-language version they also did, and be a #1 in Canada and Australia as well. It was the biggest-selling single of the year in the U.S. and Canada, and so, perhaps appropriately it won the Grammy for Record of the Year in 1976.

The song was written by Neil Sedaka, who also recorded it (to little acclaim) two years prior; if you listen carefully you hear her exclaim “Sedaka’s back” near the end of the song as a tip of the cap to Neil. The married couple who met when Daryl (“Captain”) was the touring keyboard player for the Beach Boys and he got Toni (Tennille) a gig as a backing singer, earning her the nickname of the “only Beach Girl.” It was also the start of a briefly-stellar career for the two keyboardists. By the end of the decade they’d racked up seven more top 20 hits including the… memorable… “Muskrat Love”, and briefly (in the tradition of that other singing couple, Sonny and Cher) their own TV variety show. That ran for the 1976-77 season on ABC, the story is they grew tired of the show before the network brass did and asked to be let out of the contract. They also got to play for President Ford who was entertaining Queen Elizabeth at the White House; Ford liked them but the Queen was said to have fallen asleep! The song helped Sedaka, as the lyrics say, come back too. Although he was an early pop star, with six top 10 hits by 1963 including “Calendar Girl,” the Beatles era hadn’t been kind to him, with him virtually disappearing from the public eye for a decade until a bit of a surprise hit in 1974, “Laughter in the Rain.” After this one though, Elton John was soon calling him and they collaborated on the #1 hit “Bad Blood.”

Unfortunately the Captain and Tennille divorced in 2014, but remained close until Daryl passed away in 2019, apparently with Toni still by his side.

June 20 – Alice Delivered New Band, New Sound…But Same Controversy

It might be splitting hairs, but in one sense, Alice Cooper‘s first hit song was a touching ballad. Although not one without controversy. And one which came a few years after his name had been on a wildly popular worldwide hit and teen anthem. Because on this day in 1975, Coop hit #12 in the U.S. with “Only Women Bleed.” A couple of weeks later, it’d hit #1 across the river from his Detroit home, in Canada, his one and only chart-topper there.

OK, you say, but by then we already knew songs like “I’m Eighteen” and he’d hit the top 10 with “School’s Out.” So how’s it his “first”? Well, that’s where the splitting hairs comes in. Although Cooper, aka Vincent Furnier, was already an instantly recognizable figure and well-known name by then, technically, his first eight albums were by the Alice Cooper BAND…even if not every pressing of every record had it listed that way. However, in 1974, the band split up, leaving singer Alice to go it on his own. The result, and the first “truly” solo album by him was Welcome To My Nightmare, from which this single came. Even there, we are using quotation marks because Alice sang the songs and was the primary writer on most of the tunes, and drove the sound of the record to where he wanted, but he still was backed by a band. This time it was comprised largely of Toronto-based musicians who’d worked with Lou Reed before (some would think it very appropriate the “Godfather of Shock Rock” would turn to a band from “the Godfather of Punk” for help), such as bassist Prakill John and drummer Penti Glan, with American guitarist Dick Wagner and Canadian producer Bob Ezrin playing a big part as well. Ezrin added keyboards as needed and produced the LP while Wagner co-wrote a number of the tunes with Cooper, including this hit.

Coop saw Welcome to my Nightmare as a concept album about nightmares suffered by a lad called Steven. Although this particular song probably is more aptly a nightmare lived out by his mother. “Only Women Bleed” was a song, or the update of one, written in the ’60s by Wagner for his band at the time, The Frost. Few noticed it, and he never felt it was quite right, but Cooper saw potential and reworked it.

While much of the album was hard-edged glam, this one was a much more melodic, compelling ballad, albeit one which built to a theatrical, soaring crescendo near its end. No mistake that. Though some would read the lyrics as being aggressive or mysognistic, that was far from the case. But, years later the singer would explain “I did (it) out of spite,” albeit not towards women. “I kept reading…articles that said I was never considered musical. ‘Best rock show I ever saw but musically lacking…’ So I said, ‘Oh yeah? Wait til you hear this!”

The song surprised those who really listened with its sensitivity towards the subject, a battered woman in an abusive relationship. As Songfacts note, it’s “a rare song where Cooper doesn’t try to shock” and whatsmore, “takes the side of the victim.” Of course, that didn’t placate everyone. Some thought he was advocating giving women black eyes rather than condemning the behavior, and some who didn’t bother listening to it saw the title and assumed it was a song about menstruation. Several radio stations boycotted it and in time, Atlantic Records dropped the “Bleed” from the title on many record pressings.

The surprisingly sensitive song helped the album jump up the charts and go platinum in the U.S and double that in both Canada and Australia. The song hit #21 in New Zealand but didn’t fare well elsewhere, besides North America. It also seemed to open a new creative side for Cooper, who’d soon have similar success with his easy-going ode to happy domestic life, “You and Me.”

June 18 – ‘Dreams’ Of A #1 Hit Came True For Mac 45 Years Back

Rumours by Fleetwood Mac was in its seventh week at #1 on Billboard and on this day in 1977 the second single off it, “Dreams” hit #1 on the singles chart. Surprisingly, that has been the band’s only #1 song in the States. (They’d hit the top in the UK nine years prior with “Albatross” before the band was known on this side of the Atlantic, or had Stevie Nicks in it. In Canada “Dreams” hit #1 as did the next single, “Don’t Stop.” .)

Nicks wrote the song, “in about 10 minutes,” in the studio (housed in an old home) “in a black-and-red room with a sunken pit in the middle where there was a piano.” It was apparently a thundery night, which might explain the lyrics about the “thunder only happens when it’s raining”. Of course, during the recording of Rumours, things were tense to say the least, in the Fleetwood Mac camp. Among the many problems was Nicks being in the middle of a tumultuous breakup with Lindsay Buckingham. Nicks says in her autobiography, Gold Dust Woman that she wrote it as a direct response to “Go Your Own Way” which Buckingham had already previewed to the band. She thought that song rather nasty, but “I’m the chiffon-y chick who believes in fairies and angels and Lindsay is a hardcore guy (so) it comes out differently… but we were really saying the same thing.” Although Nicks liked her song right away and “liked the fact that I was doing something with a dance beat” but fellow bandmate Christine McVie wasn’t as thrilled. she initially described the song as “boring” when she first heard it but warmed to it after Lindsay Buckingham, of all people, played around with the timing and added guitar to it.

The song’s popularity has endured very well and in fact it re-charted on rock radio in 2020 after a viral video of a dance using the song took off online, it actually made it back into the top 10 in Australia and New Zealand. One can imagine many an artist must have “dreams” of having a song of such enduring popularity.

June 17 – Like A Good Neighbor, Barry Is There

Happy 79th birthday to the man Billboard calls the “top adult-contemporary artist of all-time”- Barry Manilow.

Manilow likely has similar numbers of loyal fans and heated critics but there’s no denying his ongoing popularity. To date he’s put out 31 studio albums and had 13 platinum albums in the U.S., 11 top 10 singles and 10 songs that topped the Adult Contemporary charts in the ’70s alone, including the likes of “I Write the Songs” and “Mandy”. Manilow is a serious musician, having studied music at both the New York College of Music and Julliard School before getting a job working as a backup musician and producer for a young Bette Midler in the early-’70s, around the same time he was making a living writing commercial jingles like “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there,” still in use decades later.

His big break though was likely meeting Clive Davis who signed him to the fledgling Arista label. Davis writes about Barry extensively in his auto-biography, admiring Manilow’s talent as a singer immensely but being less impressed by his writing skills. This always irked Barry, who fancied himself quite a writer, but evidence suggests Davis is right – Manilow’s not a terrible writer at all, but he excels at reinterpreting others music. Of the five gold singles he’s had, four were written by others and brought to him by Davis (“Mandy,” “Looks Like We Made It”, “Can’t Smile Without You” and “I Write the Songs” which Manilow really hated seeing as how he didn’t write the song!) and just one – “Copacabana” – was his own. Manilow’s barely slowing down in his old age. He just finished a second residency in Las Vegas, had an ongoing run on Broadway in the past decade and this August is doing another tour of the northeastern States. Perhaps “Ol’ Blue Eyes” is looking down and smiling… Frank Sinatra was a fan and said of Manilow at one time, “he’s next!”

June 16 – Bryan & Brian Made Memorable Entrance 50 Years Ago

Fifty years ago saw one of rock’s more unusual acts make their debut. Roxy Music, and their self-titled album made their appearance this day in 1972. And what an appearance it was. The band sported platform boots, shiny space-age costumes and makeup that would take “glam rock” to another level…fitting perhaps for a group then led by art school grad and teacher Bryan Ferry and experimental synthesizer guru Brian Eno (who’d later go on to drop the “Brian” from his name and achieve huge fame producing records for the likes of U2).

At the time, they were joined by classically-trained guitarist Phil Manzanera, sax man Andy MacKay, drummer Paul Thompson and bassist Graham Simpson; Simpson is rather a forgotten man in their history since he quit them shortly after recording the first album (so brief was his Roxy run that some of the reissues of the album substituted a different band photo inside, with replacement Rik Kenton instead. That was on the inside LP gatefold, the outside one started something of a Roxy Music tradition, in having a beautiful young woman on it, in this case Kari Ann Mullen, a model who’d soon marry Mick Jagger’s brother.

Roxy Music was recorded in under three weeks in the spring of ’72, resulting in a record which was both rather spontaneous-sounding yet perhaps not adequately produced. That despite bringing in King Crimson’s Pete Sinfield to produce it. The reason for the rushing was in all likelihood not so much wanting to avoid any staleness in the studio as much as trying to stay on budget… the band and their manager financed the recording all themselves, being unsigned at the time they hit the studio. Of course that didn’t last long; Island Records signed them shortly after hearing the record/demo, and got Reprise Records at the time to sign them for North America. Little surprise because even though they’d not put out a record, their was a big buzz about them with the British press keeping “an ear to the ground” and Roxy playing several of the songs live on John Peel’s famous radio show before even recording them.

The nine-song set was difficult to describe, other than “avante garde” or “experimental”. The process making it seemed to be that Ferry would write the song, come up with the framework then ask Eno to mess around with it using his synthesizers and tape effects. Although the lyrics were seldom straight-forward, the inspirations for the songs were varied and more literate than many band’s; “The Bob” for instance, stood for “The Battle Of Britain”; “Re-make, Re-model” (probably the best-received of the songs on the original disc) was drawn from a ’60s arthouse movie with an insistent “CPL 593H” in the chorus – apparently the license plate of a car driven by a sexy woman Ferry had seen – while “2HB” was an ode to Humphrey Bogart.

The reception was warm, if confused at the time, although few of the early British reviews seem to have been archived online. Crusty American critic Robert Christgau wasn’t sure what to make of it; he compared it to “the sheen on a piece of rotting meat” but added there were “enough weird hooks to earn an ‘A’ for side one” but he was unimpressed with side two, which he figured drew too much on Eno’s work. He called Eno “a balding, long-haired eunuch lookalike.”

Later reviews would be good, although most agree in the band’s Eno-era, the follow-up, For Your Pleasure was better-recorded and had stronger songs. Rolling Stone now grade the self-titled one 4-stars and rank it as the 62nd best debut album of all-time. They call it “nerdy art rock” and figure “rarely did the twain meet” between that and “sexy glam” until this record. Q give it 5-stars retroactively, allmusic 4.5. The latter label it “falling halfway between primtivism and art rock ambition” leading to a “startling redefinition of rock’s boundaries.” Brit journalist Chris Shade applauded its “innovative clash of ’50s rock, barking sax and space age electronics.” Pitchfork give it 9 our of 10 but did criticize the “ratty production.” Ferry himself might agree with that; he was said to be unhappy with the sound of the LP and he re-recorded several songs including “2HB” the way he thought they should be for his solo album Let’s Stick Together.

The album did well in Britain, especially since technically there were no singles released off it. A few weeks after recording the album, they went back and recorded the very catchy “Virginia Plain” and released it as a 7” . It got to #4 at home and #6 in New Zealand (curiously it “rose” to only #99 in Australia, disproving the idea that the two ‘Down Under’ island nations had identical tastes). By the time Reprise put it out in North America, they’d tacked the single onto the album, and most CD releases of it include it as well.

The album made it to #10 in the UK and went gold, though it’s worth pointing out that that was actually the weakest showing of any of their studio albums there.

Roxy Music are set to embark on a 50th Anniversary tour, though they will be playing music from their entire career rather than just spotlighting the one record.