10 Best Roxy Music Songs
It’s not a stretch to state that Roxy Music were one of the most unique and incredible rock and roll bands to roam the earth. From the moment they arrived in 1972, just one look at them and it was obvious something special was happening. Once the music hit your ears, it was confirmed. As they took elements of music’s past and channeled it into the future, Roxy sounded like no one else.
From the cool class of leader Bryan Ferry to the other worldly Eno, this was a unique trip. Add in the amazing guitar work of Phil Manzanera, the sax and woodwinds of Andy Mackay and the powerhouse drumming of Paul Thompson, and well, you can’t lose! We give you a mere 10 of Roxy Music’s coolest.
‘The Bogus Man’
The nine and a half minute voyage of ‘The Bogus Man’ finds Roxy Music stretching out and letting the colors of their art bleed and run as they travel along. The drumming of Paul Thompson sets the tone, as the whole song takes on a hypnotic vibe. Andy Mackay truly shines here, as does Manzanera. The mood created is inner planetary, but with all eyes peering further into the galaxies as it builds and builds skyward.
With their debut single, Roxy Music announced themselves to the world. A fully formed art/pop explosion in under three minutes, ‘Virginia Plain’ is a near perfect single, yet it avoids convention at every turn. There is no chorus, conventional solo break or any of the cliche rock band posturing going on here. At the same time, it glistens with an almost pure pop sheen that masques the odd nature of the track. The record became a hit, checking into the UK Top 10 in the summer of 1972. Incredible stuff, and this was only the beginning!
‘Both Ends Burning’
With the fifth Roxy Music album, ‘Siren,’ they finally made it onto US radio with the song ‘Love Is The Drug,’ and while there is no denying the greatness of that song, we have opted for the flipside of that single to adorn our 10 Best list. ‘Both Ends Burning’ is a shimmering rocker with all the essential Roxy trademarks in play. From the opening guitar hiccup to the final chorus, it’s irresistible.
‘The Thrill Of It All’
The opening track from the 1974 album ‘Country Life’ remains one of Roxy Music’s most brilliant efforts, and an obvious choice for this 10 Best list. The band conjure up a haunting mood without losing one ounce of power. Ferry delivers one of his finest vocals as the band settle in around him. By this point they could have easily become formulaic about their style, but instead, they push it into different directions proving they were far from one trick magicians or mere rock and roll stylists. The money where the mouth is, with the results leaving nay-saying with nothing to say.
‘Editions Of You’
One of the many high points of the ‘For Your Pleasure’ album, ‘Editions Of You’ is Roxy at their most urgent and snotty. A good four years before there was a thing called ‘punk rock,’ Ferry and company lurch into this attitude filled blast of energy as if their life depended on it. Has any band ever sounded this confident and powerful?! Once again, all members get a taste of the spotlight here as we, the listener, bask in the glories.
‘Out Of The Blue’
While many prefer the Enosification of the first two albums, and others groove to the later, more ‘mellow’ sounds, it’s impossible to deny the splendor of that bridge between. The band’s fourth album, ‘Country Life,’ is memorable for more than it’s racy sleeve. It also contains many of Roxy’s finest songs, including this tour de force. ‘Out Of The Blue’ has some of Phil Manzanera’s most dynamic guitar work, while Mackay whips out the oboe to glorious results. New member Eddie Jobson seals the deal with his sparkling electric violin work.
‘In Every Dream Home A Heartache’
Possibly the most striking Roxy Music song of all. Scratch that, possibly the most striking song by anyone. The mood created by minimal instrumentation still sends chills, and Ferry’s vocal is an other worldly thing unto itself.The lyrics, of course, an another matter entirely. The idea of a love song to a blow up doll was certainly not standard fare. There are elements of a David Lynch movie at play, before there was such a thing as a David Lynch movie! The musical mayhem that breaks lose after the mortal line I blew up your body, but you blew my mind’ is stunning, with Manzanera simply on fire!
‘Mother Of Pearl’
By the time of Roxy’s third album changes had taken hold. Eno was long gone and Ferry was firmly in command. The album’s centerpiece is this barn burner. The song kicks in from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye as the band rock harder than ever for the minute and a half. From that point on, it’s a different ride as the song takes on a Dylan-esque narrative quality with verse after verse of brilliant lyrics from Mr. Ferry. A suitably lovely melody lights the path for the remaining six minutes. Certainly one of their finest creations.
The background ambiance is broken by the staccato piano riff, and we’re off! The opening track to the debut Roxy Music LP still surges on like nothing else before it. The song unfolds like some invitation to a party you’ve never imagined. Each band member shines here, especially as the guitar and sax battle it out, only to be submerged by Eno and his special brand of mayhem. Pure brilliance!
‘Do The Strand’
‘There’s a new sensation, a fabulous creation / A danceable solution to teenage revolution.’ The opening lyric of the classic ‘Do The Strand’ could also be the tale of Roxy themselves. The urgency and power of the song is undeniable, and perfect to top our list. ‘Do The Strand’ has everything in it that made Roxy so incredible. The rhythm section pushes hard while the guitars, sax and keyboards sail. 40 years on has done nothing to extinguish the excitement of this track, in fact, if anything, it sounds more vital in these drab days of 2013. Turn it up LOUD!