Roxy Music was formed in 1971 by vocalist Bryan Ferry and a friend named Graham Simpson, whom Ferry had played with in an R&B group called the Gas Board. Ferry and Simpson brought saxophonist Andy Mackay, who had formerly played oboe in the London Symphony Orchestra, into the band. Mackay recruited Brian Eno, and a succession of guitarists and drummers played with the fledgling band, until Graham Simpson's departure and the arrival of drummer Paul Thompson and former Quiet Sun guitarist Phil Manzanera formed what would be the core of Roxy Music's lineup, for a time: Ferry, Eno, Manzanera, Mackay, and Thompson. The band never had a permanent bassist, hiring a new one for each album and tour.
The turnover of musicians in Roxy Music reaches Spinal Tap-esque proportions, with Eno departing after the band's second album, For Your Pleasure, and Thompson leaving just before Flesh + Blood because he broke his thumb in a motorcycle accident. Eno's replacement was Eddie Jobson1, who played violin and keyboards until leaving to play with Frank Zappa during the time between 1975's Siren and 1979's Manifesto. The band's cyclical membership, coupled with the amazingly prolific nature of musicians like Eno and Manzanera, makes ascertaining the exact lineup of the band at any discrete time quite difficult. Despite the amazing talent of artists like Eno and Manzanera, Bryan Ferry was always the core of Roxy Music, so I won't attempt to follow the band's lineup exactly.
At first driven by the creative tension between Ferry's love of pop and soul and Eno's daring experimentalism, the band merged stylish rock and roll hooks and avant-garde electronics and art-rock. Their sound was mirrored onstage by bizzare and super-stylish costumes and theatrics that contributed immeasurably to the glam rock movement of the 70's. Roxy Music released their eponymous debut album in 1972, and followed it with For Your Pleasure in 1973 before Ferry's refusal to record Eno's more experimental compositions led Eno to leave the band. Roxy Music released seven more albums in the next nine years, moving towards a more soul and disco influenced sound. Though many of their albums did well in the U.K., only their final album, Avalon, was commercially successful in the U.S. Since the band had become a vehicle for Bryan Ferry by this time, he disbanded the group to pursue a solo career in 1983.
Roxy Music's made significant contributions to the glam and art-rock scenes, and Eno and Manzanera's connections and collaborations with an extrememly diverse and prolific group of musicians include King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp, David Bowie, and others. Playing "Six Degrees of Separation" with any of these artists will lead you everywhere, musically- I strongly suggest checking out all the work Eno and Manzanera have done.
Roxy Music Discography
Roxy Music (1972)
For Your Pleasure
Flesh + Blood
Roxy Music, the Album
- If There Is Something
- Virginia Plain (debut single included on later releases)
- The Bob (Medley)
- Chance Meeting
- Would You Believe?
- Sea Breezes
- Bitters End
Probably the most experimental of Roxy Music's albums, featuring atonal saxaphone work by Andrew Mackay, electronic flourishes by Eno, Manzanera's amazing guitar playing, and Bryan Ferry's "vampiric croon," as All Music Guide reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine so succinctly puts it. Roxy Music will rock your house with its weirdo, avant-garde soul/rock anyday.
Thanks to the All Music Guide! http://www.allmusic.com
1sighmoan says .. you can't very well node Roxy Music without mentioning Eno's replacement, Eddie Jobson (violin and keyboards). He departed (for Frank Zappa's band)during the long layoff between Siren and Manifesto (Viva! being merely a money-generating live release). And in case you're wondering: no, I can't name all the bass players off the top of my head.