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Roxy Music
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Roxy Music

Roxy Music was a British rock group founded in the early 1970s as a collaborative project between art school graduate Bryan Ferry (vocals, keyboards) and electronic music wizard Brian Eno. The group's name was partly a homage to the titles of old cinemas and dance halls, and partly a pun on the word 'rock'. This juxtaposition of nostalgic and contemporary, even futuristic-sounding themes, was a distinctive feature of the band's style of music and general appearance.

Their first single "Virginia Plain", which reached the top three in the British charts, was typical of the band's blend of highly literate lyrics and musical inventiveness, combined with a powerhouse glam rock backbone. During that decade, they emerged as one of the foremost bands of the time. Their influence was significant upon the early British punk movement, as well as the New Romantic and experimental electronic groups of the early 1980s, and is still felt today to some degree.

Eno left after the group's second album - For Your Pleasure - amidst some differences of opinion with Ferry. The main element in the dispute concerned the amount of control that Ferry exercised over the band. Eno's concerns were shared by other key members such as the classically trained Andy Mackay (saxophone and oboe) and the experienced progressive rock guitarist Phil Manzanera. These other members elected to remain, however, and gradually their songwriting was allowed by Ferry to become more integral to the band's direction. In spite of this, though, right up until their final split in 1982 all of Roxy's singles were written either wholly or jointly by Ferry, with the exception of their only number one hit, "Jealous Guy", which they recorded as a tribute to John Lennon shortly after his death.

Eno was replaced on keyboards by Eddie Jobson.

Bryan Ferry is also noted as a solo performer, usually of lounge-lizard style ballads, an art form which he seems to have made his own in recent times. However, his solo career began in 1973, when still very much a member of the band, and solo albums alternated with Roxy's releases. The band also fostered the early solo careers of Manzanera and Mackay.

Following their fifth album, Siren, Roxy Music disbanded temporarily, to come back together with the Manifesto album (minus Jobson) which marked a return to their roots whilst ringing the changes with musical arrangements that predicted their future direction. Generally, their later music is slicker and musically less adventurous than that of the earlier albums; however, Ferry's apparently effortless elegance and the musical abilities of Mackay and Manzanera, are always much in evidence. This culminated in the sombre perfectionism and beautifully sculpted soundscapes of their final album Avalon.

The band reformed in the early 2000s and toured extensively; notably, the only significant one-time member missing was Brian Eno.

Discography