Roxy Music

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About Roxy Music

While their ‘70s glam-rock peers slathered on the lipstick and glitter as an act of gender-bending provocation, Roxy Music reminded us that glam was short for “glamour” by updating 1940s Hollywood matinee-idol archetypes for the space age. And true to their outlandish image, the London group spent their first two albums—1972’s self-titled debut and 1973’s For Your Pleasure—rendering old-school rock ‘n’ roll as future-shocked noise, with alien-Elvis frontman Bryan Ferry coolly singing about Humphrey Bogart and sexy robots over Phil Manzanera’s short-wave frequency guitars, Paul Thompson’s primal proto-punk stomping, Andy MacKay’s saxophonic cacophony and Brian Eno’s buzzing electronic gadgetry. But after Eno left the band to pursue his own trailblazing solo career, Roxy Music evolved into an increasingly debonair art-rock outfit, with Ferry alternately leading the group to the outer cosmos (the two-part epic “Mother of Pearl”) and onto the dance floor (1975’s proto-disco crossover hit “Love Is the Drug”). That refinement process reached its apotheosis on 1982’s Avalon, whose misty soft-rock melodies and lush new-age ambiance heralded the new generation of artful UK synth-pop acts that would dominate the ’80s; three decades later, it became a lodestar for adventurous indie-rock acts (like Destroyer and The War on Drugs) seeking to explore Zen states. Avalon was both Roxy Music’s platinum-selling commercial peak and their swan song: The group disbanded in 1983, while Ferry resumed the solo career he had established concurrent to Roxy’s rise in the mid-’70s, yielding lite-FM staples—like 1985’s “Slave to Love”— that positioned him as the world’s suavest adult-contemporary crooner. After some of their canonical early-’70s tracks were revived on the soundtrack to Todd Haynes’ 1998 glam-rock flick Velvet Goldmine, Roxy Music reunited (sans Eno) for intermittent tours in the 2000s, sounding as on-trend and out of time as ever.

London, England
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