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.

May 23 – Change Was Only Roxy Music Constant

Ever-morphing and ever-popular in Europe, Roxy Music put out their seventh (and penultimate) studio album, Flesh + Blood this day in 1980. The album was surprisingly the first of their records to go platinum in the UK and the second one to top the charts there; it cracked the U.S. top 40 which they’d only done once before.

Roxy was down to just a core trio of Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera by this time but were well-supplemented with a raft of studio musicians including Paul Carrack on this one. The album was a little uneven and focused largely on love lost and also included a couple of ’60s cover songs – Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour” and the Byrds “Eight Miles High.” That marked the first time the band had recorded cover songs, although Bryan Ferry had put out a couple of solo albums in the ’70s consisting of nothing but coves.

Critics weren’t impressed; Rolling Stone called it “such a shockingly bad Roxy Music record” while years later would upgrade it to a 3-star rating saying “good – but lacked the spark that made some of the earlier albums so good.” Allmusic similarly gave it an unusually bad 2-star rating, surprising in that the review wasn’t all that bad really. They suggested that at its best, it was “effortlessly suave and charming”, that “Oh Yeah” was one of their best singles ever, but that the cover songs were superfluous and showed the band was running low on ideas. Ferry’s own website says of it “a record of grace and graciousness, sense and sensuality” and while top 10 singles “Oh Yeah” and “Over You” are good enough, it’s “Same Old Scene” that steals the show. Biographer David Buckley notes it was the band’s “most perfect dance record” and that a year later “the charts would be full of songs with a similar musical trajectory.”

Roxy Music came back two years later with their North American breakthrough, Avalon… then promptly broke up for years. They’d now back together for the first time in years getting ready for a 50th anniversary tour, kicking off Sep. 7 in Toronto.

March 23 – Ferry/Eno Combo Kept Pleasing In ’73

Fans were pleased by Roxy Music this day in 1973. The then art rock quintet put out their second album, For your Pleasure 49 years ago today. The album picked up where their eclectic and odd debut album left off the year before. For fans it’s noteworthy for both being the most “out there” of their output and for being the last one with Eno on it. He quit the band shortly after the record came out, to chase his own musical rainbows and get more seriously into production – something that U2 would be very grateful for about a decade later!

They recorded it at George Martin’s Air Studio in London (not to be confused with Abbey Road where Martin did so much of his magic with the Beatles) and had another Beatles connection on it. They brought in Chris Thomas to co-produce with them (and possibly John Anthony, who’s credited on some versions of the albums and not on others.) Eno seemingly began to cut his chops as a producer on this one but having Thomas to help was invaluable. Previously he’d been working extensively with Procol Harum in the studio and had assisted Martin with the last few Beatles recordings, allegedly doing the full production on their song “Happiness is a Warm Gun”.

The songs were written by Bryan Ferry and it was Ferry at his most adventurous. Add to that unusual instruments (Ferry played guitar on one track, an oddity, and mellotron on several; Eno did all sorts of ahead-of-its-time things like playing around with tape loops in the studio to add other-wordly effects) and striking arrangements and you have a very odd-sounding record. Odd, but strangely catchy. The standouts were the album’s opposites. On the one hand, there was the dynamic, glam rock track “Do the Strand”, which was a single in much of Europe and sounded precisely like a hit single. On the other, there were the lengthy, moody, more than a little creepy “The Bogus Man” and the ode to a rubber sex doll, “In Every Dream Home A Heartache”, with lines like “My plain-wrapper baby, your skin is like vinyl” and which became a standout in a slightly livelier version on their first live album, Viva!

The album squeaked into the American album chart but was far from a hit, but at home in Britain it made it up to #4 and went gold (every Roxy studio album would go gold or better there, when all was said and done) despite the lack of a hit single. “Do the Strand” wasn’t released domestically as a 7” then, and the band was riding on the success of “Pyjamarama”, a top 10 standalone single released almost simultaneously (and later added to many pressings of the album and CD).

Critics liked it then, and still do. Q consider it the 33rd best British album of all-time and Rolling Stone now include it among the 500 greatest albums – British or otherwise – ever calling it “highly stylish, abstract-leaning art rock”. Pitchfork rate it 9.5 out of 10 and noted at length that both Ferry and Eno came from low-income, working class homes and went to art school and both were vivid influences on them; feeling “rat-trapped” in the “impermeable class system” and influenced by being surrounded by artists as youth, they gravitated towards glamor and glitz and viewed music as their escape. Allmusic consider it one of the band’s four 5-star albums, particularly “Do the Strand” and loving how “the tensions between Brian Eno and Bryan Ferry propelled their music to great, unexpected heights.” Heights they would perhaps top in some future albums but never with the level of unexpectedness.

 

 

February 6 – Would John Have Been Jealous Of Bryan’s Take On Song?

Just like the general public, the music world was understandably shocked and saddened by the murder of John Lennon in 1980. Roxy Music led the way in reacting in song, with their version of Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” released this day in 1981. Among the significant tribute songs that followed were Lennon’s ex-bandmate George Harrison’s “All Those Years Ago”, which came out May ’81 and Elton John’s “Empty Garden” which he put out the following year.

Jealous Guy” was a Lennon song he wrote and first did a demo of in 1968. It was considered for use on The Beatles “White Album”, while it was known as “Child of Nature,” we can see a snippet of John singing that in the Get Back movie. Lennon wrote it while in India, being taught by a maharashi and was trying to come to grips with his personal nature and less-attractive personality traits. The Fab Four didn’t use it, so Lennon recorded it after their breakup, for the Imagine album – by now retitled. Among the musicians on it were two of the members of Badfinger, pianist Nicky Hopkins and even Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues.

Roxy Music were on tour in Europe at the time Lennon was killed. “We were due to play a show in Germany,” Bryan Ferry remembers. “We thought we should do something special, because we were all fans of his. His version is beautiful.” the band began adding it to their live shows, and then quickly recorded it in the studio. “It was a proper tribute record,” Ferry says.

The public approved. At least the European ones. The single became a top 10 hit in France, Ireland, Switzerland and other places and at home in the UK it became their long-awaited first #1 song. They’d had two singles stall at #2 there before. Oddly, it did far better than Elton or Harrison’s tributes in Britain, but barely got noticed here in North America where the other two were big hits. Roxy Music also released a live version of “Jealous Guy” on their 1983 live album, The High Road.

May 23 – Roxy Were Never The Same Old Scene

Ever-morphing and ever-popular in Europe, Roxy Music put out their seventh (and penultimate) studio album, Flesh + Blood this day 41 years back. The 1980 album was surprisingly the first of their records to go platinum in the UK and the second one to top the charts there; it cracked the U.S. top 40 which they’d only done once before.

Roxy was down to just a core trio of Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera by this time but were well-supplemented with a raft of studio musicians including Paul Carrack on this one. The album was a little uneven and focused largely on love lost and also included a couple of ’60s cover songs – Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour” and the Byrds “Eight Miles High.”

Critics weren’t impressed; Rolling Stone called it “such a shockingly bad Roxy Music record” while years later would upgrade it to a 3-star rating saying “good – but lacked the spark that made some of the earlier albums so good.” Allmusic similarly gave it an unusually bad 2-star rating, surprising in that the review wasn’t all that bad really. They suggested that at its best, it was “effortlessly suave and charming”, that “Oh Yeah” was one of their best singles ever, but that the cover songs were superfluous and showed the band was running low on ideas. Ferry’s own website says of it “a record of grace and graciousness, sense and sensuality” and while top 10 singles “Oh Yeah” and “Over You” are good enough, it’s “Same Old Scene” that steals the show. Biographer David Buckley notes it was the band’s “most perfect dance record” and that a year later “the charts would be full of songs with a similar musical trajectory.”

April 28 – Eddie Rocks That Violin

A number of rock bands have brought in classical “string sections” featuring violins to add a depth to their songs. Not too many have brought in violins to be a rock instrument though…but many of the ones which did looked to today’s birthday boy – Eddie Jobson. We wish Eddie a happy 66th!

66 might seem surprisingly young for a guy who rose to fame in the first half of the ’70s, but Jobson started into music young. He learned to play piano and violin before eight and was in an orchestra by the age of 12 in his northern England home. Credit his dad for a lot of that; the senior Jobson was a talented pianist and a promoter of sorts who brought traveling orchestras in to play in their town.

At the young age of 17 he joined a band called Fat Grapple, which turned into the critically-acclaimed Curved Air. He did double duty on keyboards and violin with them. But his stay there was brief because another job came knocking. His sister and Bryan Ferry’s sister were roommates, so Eddie met the singer and got to play on Ferry’s first solo album, These Foolish Things. Naturally enough when synthesizer-wiz Brian Eno quit Roxy Music, Ferry invited Jobson to take his place. Which he did, becoming an integral part of the experimental and diverse sound of that band’s middle period run of the Stranded, Country Life and Siren albums.

He picks “A Song for Europe” and “Out of the Blue” as his two favorite songs he worked on with them. “I think I influenced the sound and style of those two more than any others,” he said. Indeed, probably the most compelling part of the latter is Jobson’s other-worldly electric violin work, which would stand with the best-ever solos for that instrument in rock… although admittedly, the list wouldn’t be a long one to start with!

When Roxy Music went on hiatus in 1976, Procol Harum came calling, but he instead decided to join an even more experimental band, Frank Zappa’s backing one. Along the way, he managed to do session work with John Entwistle, King Crimson and Andy Mackay as well as begin a prog-rock band called UK, with John Wetton among others. “Looking back at the ’70s England, undoubtedly there was a progressive musical culture that energized itself. We were all pushing each other to higher levels,” he said recently.

In the ’80s, the still young Jobson had the distinction of being in a Yes video and technically being a member of that prog-rock group… although he never played on a record of theirs or in concert with them. Turns out they recruited him for the ’83 comeback 90125, shot the video for “Owner of a Lonely Heart” with him, but a dispute over what his role would be in the band led him to leave as quickly as he’d joined. Instead he put out his first solo record, The Green Album. It was the only record in which we hear Eddie sing, and was primarily an entirely solo work (with only a few guitar and bass bits being given out to session musicians). the album used a bevy of then-in-vogue synthesizers and garnered decent reviews. Allmusic didn’t like the lyrics much but felt it an “honest effort” albeit it one with songs about an “Orwellian dystopian future” and felt that “Green Face” and “Resident” were “two of the best synth-pop songs produced in that era.” Few people seemed to hear it to decide though; the album didn’t do well commercially. Jobson figures that might be partly because of music’s changing character then.

“After the Beatles, the whole push was to be original and innovative…unfortunately, that all started to change in the late-’70s as huge profits were being generated. The ‘genius’ businessmen fully took over and generally viewed originality as too risky.”

As a result, the innovator’s workload as a solo artist and session player diminished in the ’80s, with him turning his attention more to music for TV shows and commercials. He scored the show Nash Bridges in the ’90s for several years.

Of late, he’s been known to play some concerts with versions of the UK band and is a consultant to a Texas keyboard company. Largely though he’s content to spend his time cycling and checking out restaurants – “my wife and I are both big foodies,” he says. His output may be low of late, but not his fame. In 2017 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Progressive Music Awards and in ’19 he was named as one of the members of Roxy Music inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

And what has his work with the greats like Roxy Music, Jethro Tull and Frank Zappa taught him? “Bryan, Frank, and Ian (Anderson of Tull) helped to reinforce the idea that when you know who you are and what you are meant to be doing in life, you have to stick with it through the resistance and adversity.” Timeless advice from one of the contributors to some of rock’s timeless works.

April 4 – Roxy Music’s Surprising Easter Song

Wishing all of you a happy – and safe – Easter, whether you prefer to spend it in church or chasing that bunny’s eggs.

While as religious holidays go, Easter’s a biggie, as musical ones go it can’t hold a candle to Christmas. The Easter Bunny isn’t going to give Santa a run, or hop, for his musical money yet and unlike the many songs about the Christmas baby, not that many pop music tunes have been about the life and death of Jesus. Today we look at one exception to the rule, from a most surprising source – Roxy Music‘s “Triptych”.

The 1974 oddball was from their fourth album, Country Life, an eclectic affair if ever there was one, with the glam rock offerings of “All I Want Is You” and the pseudo-psychedelic “Out of the Blue” and even the Texan-tinged “Prairie Rose” that singer Bryan Ferry wrote for his then-girlfriend Jerry Hall. Then there was the cover itself which drew criticism, stares and American censoring, with a couple of Ferry’s gal pals in see-through lingerie. The last thing one would expect on a record like that would be a sombre, serious love song for Jesus, ending with the statement “surely he will rise again”… but Roxy were never a band that you could pin down easily musically.

Ferry’s never said much about his inspiration for the song Pitchfork would describe as “gothic folly” but allmusic simply termed “Elizabethian”, but perhaps the tune isn’t a huge surprise. The suave singer grew up in a very traditional, working class family in northern England and one could expect he spent many a Sunday morning sitting in pews. He’s clung to many traditional opinions despite his playboy persona. “I’m very much myself, all the time. I’m not that good as an actor,” he told Rolling Stone. “Everybody’s very complex.” The magazine didn’t review the song itself but did rank the album among the 500 greatest of all-time, noting “the keen intelligence behind the razzmatazz has always been apparent.”

So there you go – a glam rock obscurity you could have your church choir sing this morning. Complex indeed.

January 31 – Britain’s Spanish Guitar King

Happy 70th birthday to one of Britain’s most accomplished and adventurous guitarists – Phil Manzanera. Phil was born to an English dad, but Colombian mother, who played a little guitar. As a kid, he spent time living in South America and Cuba, which goes a ways towards showing why so much of his guitar work seems latin-tinged. And perhaps why he’s Phil “Manzanera” even. He was born Philip Targett-Adams, but when young idolized Mexican guitarist Armando Manzanero, whom seemingly inspired not only some of his picking but the picking of his professional name.

He’d moved back to the UK by the time he was ready for college, and along the way made friends with another guitar great in the making -David Gilmour. While Phil was in several bands during his college years, the big break was joining Roxy Music just as they were ready to begin recording their first record. Curiously, he was their second choice after Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno auditioned several guitarists, but their first pick quit a week or two after the band formed. Manzanera answered the call, and never looked back, being one of the three constants in the oft-changing Roxy lineup, along with singer Ferry and sax-man Andy MacKay.

Manzanera’s often-flamenco tinged guitars were a big part of the Roxy sound, and from time to time he wrote with Ferry, co-writing songs including “Out of the Blue,” “Trash” and “Take A Chance With Me.” The latter was on their last, but biggest-selling, studio album, Avalon, which they recorded in Phil’s own studio. Among the other clients there were noted Roxy Music fans Duran Duran. He recalls running into them while both bands were playing in Germany around 1983 and “they ended up coming to my studio to record a single...”Is There Something I Should Know?” And then they went on to be more famous. A bit of fairy dust was sprinkled over them from the Roxy studio,” he jokes, noting they’re “very sweet guys.”

Never one to let grass grow under his feet, he’d already begun a solo recording career in downtime with Roxy in the ’70s, and to date has put out nine studio albums of his own, plus some more with his on-again, off-again project 801, which at times has included MacKay and Eno. Phil worked on a pair of Eno’s solo efforts too; the two seemed close and Eno ran much of Manzanera’s guitar recordings through his own synthesizers to manipulate the sound for the first two Roxy records.

And then there’s his old buddy David Gilmour. Phil co-wrote the hit “One Slip” with Gilmour for the first post-Roger Waters Pink Floyd album, and since toured with him and produced a pair of Gilmour albums, On An Island and Rattle This Lock.

Of late, Phil’s been busy with writing and producing a 14 hour radio series on “The A-Z of Great Guitarists” and has a new release out with old bandmate Andy MacKay. Roxymphony was a live record where the roxy Music guys got together a 20-piece orchestra and a full choir and performed Roxy songs like “Love is the Drug” and “Sentimental Fool” in a big orchestral manner. “It was a revelation to us how well-suited the songs were to being orchestrated” he says.

Coming from a background that includes chameleonic Roxy Music, with ties to Pink Floyd, Eno and a host of Latin American artists, I think none of us should be surprised at how limitless his six-string sounds can be.

October 24 – So Much For Nikon, This Japan Preferred Polaroids

If you remember instant photos and skinny leather ties, you might remember when Japan wasn’t just an Asian country. One of the more favored “cult” bands of the late-’70s put out their fourth studio album on this day in 1980. Gentlemen Take Polaroids was Japan‘s first on Virgin Records but despite good reviews, wasn’t entirely the big breakthrough they were likely hoping for.

The Brit quintet was always centred around bassist Mick Karn, whose fretless bass and style of playing gave a somewhat unique sound, and mostly David Sylvian. Sylvian was the singer, main writer and jack-of-all-trades when it came to instruments, playing keyboards and guitars and at times others as well. They began in 1974 as a glam rock outfit, but by the beginning of the ’80s had become more of an elegant, artsy group which helped inspire the whole “New Romantic” movement. Their look on this record alone was said to have basically created Duran Duran’s look, clothing and hair-wise.

Gentlemen Take Polaroids began where their previous record, the Quiet Life, left off, ditching earlier “audacious” avant garde rock for smooth, easy-listening danceable new wave, almost before “new wave” was a thing. Although not a concept album, there was a loose thematic quality of songs about travel and its romance; the second single “Nightporter” seems to almost invoke images of traveling continents on a mid-century luxury train, and “Taking Islands in Africa” perhaps an ultimate destination. Perhaps even a hint of the music of the band’s namesake seeped through, with well-known Japanese experimental musician Ryuichi Sakamoto – probably best summed up as an Asian version of Eno – helping out on keyboards and having a writing credit on one of the eight songs. The album also included a cover of Smokey Robinson’s “Ain’t That Peculiar” but the standout was doubtless the smoothly cinematic title track. “Gentlemen Take Polaroids” runs over seven minutes, another characteristic of the album…four of the tracks top six minutes in length.

The title track only hit #60 in the UK, but that was still their highest-charting song to that point. The album itself missed the top 50 there, but still got them their second gold album. Oddly it did best in Canada, where it got to #39, again like so many new wave artists, benefitting from heavy play in Toronto thanks to radio station CFNY, where it ended up among their year-end “best-of” list.

Critics probably thought the album deserved better…but also unintentionally signaled why it didn’t. The album was good…but also reminded people of another, better-known British band. Roxy Music. Sylvian whether by intent or design sounded a lot like Bryan Ferry, whose band had put out a wildly-successful album, Flesh + Blood, earlier in the year. The NME and Melody Maker both described it as imitative of Roxy Music in the reviews, and while Smash Hits rated it 8 out of 10, they too said it sounded like “if Brian Eno rather than Bryan Ferry had re-routed the original direction of Roxy Music.” The Quietus liked the “oblique, almost cinematic avant-garde creations” and, yes Sylvain’s “woozy Bryan Ferry croon.” Even years later, allmusic rated it 4-stars, liking Karn’s “fretless purring” and saying the band “unquestionably found its own unique voice”…while comparing their sound to Roxy Music in only the second sentence of the review.

Still, all in all, while not a Roxy Music album, Gentlemen Take Polaroids is a rewarding sort of listen for those in a Roxy-ish mood. Speaking of which, it’s worth noting that Roxy Music themselves put out one of their greatest records, Siren, on this day in 1975!

September 26 – Seventy-five And Suave

Happy birthday to one of the most stylish and style-setting singers of our time. Bryan Ferry turns 75 today!

Ferry is of course best-known for being the suave singer for Roxy Music although he’s actually compiled a heftier catalog of records on his own than with the British group that along with T-Rex and David Bowie more or less started the whole Glam Rock movement in the ’70s, and then also rather Bowie-like, morphed into one of the premier “new romantic” acts of the ’80s.

Ferry actually got a degree in Fine Arts and was briefly an art teacher before concentrating on music and forming Roxy Music around the end of 1970. Their first album took Europe by storm and was nothing if not new and avant garde. Through the years, especially after Brian Eno quit the group, it morphed into a stylish, elegant pop outfit remembered for 10 UK top 10 singles including their #1 cover version of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy.”

During the Roxy years, Ferry put out a number of solo albums heavy on old cover versions ranging from “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” to relatively contemporary tunes like “Don’t Worry Baby.” After the band broke up, he put out more original material, with his first post-Roxy album, Boys & Girls hitting #1 in the UK and being a reasonable success in North America as well, perhaps thanks to his presence on the Live Aid stage with David Gilmour in his band. Ferry’s put out a total of 16 solo studio albums, his last one, Bittersweet, two years back, being credited to Bryan Ferry & his Orchestra, consisting of reworkings of old Roxy and solo songs done in a Big Band/Jazz style. Fittingly, he’s appeared of late as a cabaret singer in the German TV show Babylon Berlin. And on top of that, he’s contributed to a bevy of soundtracks including Bright Lights, Big City, Phenomenon and Legend.

He was expecting to tour extensively this year, but you know the rest…Covid caused that to be postponed indefinitely. Instead he’s put out a live album from 1974 from his first solo tour. By the way, if you think he has the looks of a model, you’re right. Marks & Spencer used him as a fashion model for menswear in 2006!