by Steev Riccardo
Hello Rock Fans! There is long list of great rock bands that fall into the under-appreciated and practically-forgotten category and this week we recognize a band that is near the top of that list.
England’s Roxy Music was a highly influential band that was not only miles ahead of everyone musically but visually as well. When they came on the scene in the early seventies, they were part of a blossoming glam movement that included the likes of David Bowie, T Rex, and The Sweet.
These were artists who played rock but pushed the androgynous button and dressed flashier than most.
Roxy Music not only had the outrageous look, but musically were very different from everyone else as well. They weren’t exactly a commercial sounding band when they first arrived, but instead made complex recordings showcasing the unique vocal stylings of Bryan Ferry, while at the same time using their unique looks and fashion to further their mystique.
Joining Ferry as part of the legendary original lineup were Phil Manzanera on guitar, the incredible Brian Eno on synthesizer, Andy Mackay saxophone and oboe, Graham Simpson on bass, and Paul Thompson drums and percussion.
The wild card of course was Eno, who was a musical genius who later went on to become a legendary solo recording artist and producer (Talking Heads, U2). It was Eno’s sound and look on the first two Roxy Music albums that was one of the catalysts that helped lay down the original groundwork for their place in history.
The band recorded eighth albums, all brilliant in their own beautiful way. 1972’s self-titled debut didn’t really have a single but did have the classic “Ladytron,” which was, if anything, so different that it successfully drew you in.
In 1973, the band released two albums: “For Your Pleasure,” which was Eno’s last with the band, and “Stranded,” with Eddie Jobson taking over on keyboards and synthesizer.
The band released their fourth album “Country Life” in 1974 but had to change its cover in several countries, including the United States where it was banned. It didn’t really deter the band’s direction; in fact, it added to their mystery.
In 1975 Roxy Music released “Siren,” which included its largest hit in America, the incredible “Love Is The Drug,” which became an instant radio classic.
The follow-up to “Siren,” “Manifesto,” was an excellent record but didn’t have another hit song on it so was viewed as a disappointment in some ways. Once again the local Roxy fans didn’t care and supported their heroes.
Only three original members - Ferry, Manzanera, Mackay - took part in 1980’s “Flesh And Blood” which included covers of Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour” and The Byrd’s “Eight Miles High” and when it looked the end was nearing for the band something magical happened.
In 1981 Roxy Music released a single of the John Lennon song “Jealous Guy” as a tribute to the fallen warrior. It became a big hit and the band's only number one song in the United Kingdom and they once again lived another day and even ruled England for a few months.
Roxy Music went out with a bang in 1982, recording their final and perhaps greatest album yet, “Avalon,” which is nothing short of a masterpiece. Two of the album's tracks, “More Than This” and the title track, are still regarded as some of the best songs Ferry ever wrote.
Ferry went on to have a decent solo career but never really achieved the commercial success of Roxy Music, but in his true fashion remained iconic to his adoring fans.
Kathleen Hanna and her Beastie Boy husband Adam Horowitz
Kathleen Hanna “The Punk Singer”: The documentary “The Punk Singer” is a new film that documents the life of Kathleen Hanna. The original riot girl, who’s feminist punk rock outfit Bikini Kill took the indie world by storm, is one of the single most important characters in the American indie rock movement. She proved that you could make it happen without a machine behind you in a DIY (Do It Yourself) manner and succeeded.
The film documents Hanna’s career (so far) with emphasis on Bikini Kill, and her other bands The Julie Ruin, and the very popular dance indie band Le Tigre.