My first sighting of Roxy Music was on Top Of The Pops in Autumn 1972. I recall being impressed with Paul Thompson’s beefy muscles, Bryan Ferry’s small microphone and unusually perfect teeth and Andy MacKay’s oboe. What a glorious noise they made! They didn’t look like normal human beings and they didn’t make normal human sounds. I didn’t buy the single because I bought the LP. Virginia Plain wasn’t even on it. It marked my final purchase of 1972, following on from Electric Warrior, Telegram Sam, Metal Guru, Slade Alive!!, Rock And Roll Parts 1 & 2, Sylvia’s Mother, School’s Out, Hunky Dory and All The Young Dudes, most of which were acquired second-hand from deals with friends or acquaintances. I felt I was becoming sophisticated.
Roxy Music, simply, got better. Over the years, they released sixteen singles in the UK, every one of which is pearl, all very different, yet recognisably Roxy Music. The quality never wavers below superb. Even the cover version, Jealous Guy, their only number one, exudes class, a fitting tribute to a fallen hero, with amazing whistling.
All I Want You
Love Is The Drug
Both Ends Burning
Oh Yeah (On The Radio)
Same Old Scene
More Than This
Take A Chance With Me
Their least successful single was Trash. It was a heart-stopping moment, a reunion after an impossibly long four years away. In 1979, the UK wasn’t ready for such perfect, icy, art-rock. It reached number forty. The follow up, Dance Away, fared much better and convinced Ferry to pursue a smoother sound. Nevertheless, they never lost a certain frisson, usually mediated through guitar or sax. Try Same Old Scene.
Has any other act released a comparable string of singles, all pearls?