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

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

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

Ferry’s mocking baritone and slick pop/trash culture lyrics simply flew when combined with Phil Manzanera’s guitar brawn and Andy Mackay’s processed sax, but the band was grounded superbly by the fiery drumming of Paul Thompson.

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

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 songwriter, producer and innovator, that status comes almost entirely from his post-Roxy Music accomplishments than from his role as a non-writing “synthesizer and tapes” on the band’s first set of albums.

After Eno left to go solo, he was replaced by multi-instrumentalist and former Curved Air violinist Eddie Jobson, who proved to be a better foil for the increasingly focused but always extravagant from Ferry and co. Eno had been a big part of the overall vibe of all things Roxy Music, but Jobson tended to work more at the heart of the music as an instrumentalist and writer, rather than adding a layer of synth noises. complementary atmospherics/creaks.

It’s Roxy’s albums from the mid-’70s – the era of Jobson and superlative bassist John Gustafson (both of whom were, apparently, “renters” rather than full band members) – that remain the pinnacle. of their musical success.

The band finally broke up in ’83 (after which only Ferry enjoyed significant solo success) and returned for a surprisingly excellent world tour in 2001. They were back for some festival highlights in 2010 and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.

George L. Hernandez