Roxy Music is an art-rock or Glam Rock music group out of England, that was formed in 1970, principally by its leader and songwriter, Bryan Ferry. The other main group members were Graham Simpson (bass guitar), Phil Manzanera (guitar), Andy Mackay (oboe and saxophone), and Paul Thompson (drums and percussion). One also cannot forget the essential contribution of Brian Eno on synthesizer. Roxy Music’s recordings have been cited as being influential to both glamour rock and punk rock, as well as to electronic and New Wave music. Roxy Music’s first success began with the critically-acclaimed album Roxy Music, which is also on the list of the top 10 greatest Glam Rock albums of all time. It reached #10 in the U.K. charts in 1972; the initial single off of the album was “Virginia Plain.”During this time, Roxy Music had a debut performance on the British television program “Top of the Pops“, which became a cornerstone of the burgeoning Glitter Rock trend. The next three albums, For Your Pleasure, Stranded, and Country Life, all met with great success, even though it was after the release of For Your Pleasure that Brian Eno left the group, citing differences with Ferry about the direction of the group. Eno went on to have a substantial, prolific solo career. Eno was replaced by Eddie Jacobs, who played keyboards and electric violin. The Roxy Music albums epitomized the merging of Avant Garde, fashion chic, Glam, and New Age all in one; with the addition of Bryan Ferry’s edgy, at times discordant, almost atonal vocalizations, the result is music that sounds more alive in the 21st century, than in the 20th! Bryan Ferry himself, being the working class miner’s son from Northern England, embraced the jet set lifestyle of the Art Performance world, dating lots of beautiful women such as model Marilyn Cole, Amanda Lear (who later dated David Bowie), and Jerry Hall (later became the common-law wife of Mick Jagger).
The group was formed from inauspicious beginnings, and like many of the great rock and roll bands of all time, started with many of the band members’ art school connections. In 1970, after Bryan Ferry lost his job teaching ceramics, he advertised for a keyboard player in one of the influential music magazines at the time The Melody Maker. Andy Mackay responded; not as a keyboard player, but as saxophonist and oboe player. Additionally, Bryan Ferry already knew Graham Simpson from an art college band called “The Gas Board.” Mackay knew Brian Eno from university days and convinced him to sign onto the band. Bryan Ferry initially wanted to name the band Roxy, but hearing that there was already a band with that name in the United States, changed it to Roxy Music. Bryan Ferry advertised as well in The Melody Maker for additional band members, and recruited Phil Manzanera and Paul Thompson that way. The rest is Glam Rock history. Give it a listen!