Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Get Your Roxy On

Ahhh, Roxy Music. Their very name reminds me of my youth. Long, carefree afternoons spent drivin' around in the car with my pot-smoking buddies Jeff and Lane, sunroof open, wind blowing through our hair, stereo pumping those wonderful sounds that were so exotic and liberating to us -- three young men in rural Alabama surrounded by the deadening conformity of hordes of Hank Jr. fans.

But there's more to it than nostalgic remembrance; way more. Roxy Music pushed the envelope of what a rock band could do, could be, could sound like, could look like.

From singer Bryan Ferry's over-the-top lounge-lizard-on-acid persona, to (for their first two albums) Brian Eno's spacy synthesizer textures, to Phil Manzanera's masterful psychedelic guitar, to Andy Mackay's bleating, squawking saxophone, Roxy Music sounded like nobody else.

They were considered part of the glam-rock scene when they came along in 1972, but they evolved so fast and furiously, any label you tried to pin on them was soon left in the dust. One part art rock, one part experimental prog, one part psychedelia, all with a healthy dash of Ferry's angst, emotion and ennui, Roxy Music blazed a trail that influenced countless bands that came after.

One of my latest discoveries in exploring a pile of VHS Hi-Fi videotapes I made in the late 1980s is a special marking the 25th anniversary of Chris Blackwell's Island Records label. Included in the special is a three-minute(!) summary of Roxy Music's remarkable career (I know, I know... there is no way to do Roxy justice in three minutes.)

And yet, and yet... It must be granted that the three minutes they were given is three minutes of musical heaven.

Grace Jones hosted the special and introduces the segment; her comments don't properly acknowledge the breadth of Roxy's musical genius. (The "he" to which she refers is Island honcho Blackwell.)

Featured are short clips of "Virginia Plain," "Let's Stick Together" (with a notable cameo by model/rock star girlfriend Jerry Hall, then involved with Ferry and later with Mick Jagger), and "Love Is The Drug."

To rate or comment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fzEvl8kGQ8


BJaxon said...

That's great dude! That's for putting this one out.
One thing though, it doesn't matter if it's Jerry Hall, Yoko, Linda McCartney, Tawny Kitaen, etc. Girlfriends & wives don't belong in band affairs (my opinion). :) I can't wait to see more treasures you find in those old tapes.

~~alapoet~~ said...

True enough, but if I get to choose who interferes in a video, I'll take Jerry Hall over Yoko... ha ha! ;-)