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Nov 23 2018

Without Eno Roxy Music makes the album Stranded: their best?

Roxy Music - Stranded - Gatefold (allmyrecords.com)

Roxy Music – Stranded – Gatefold (from left to right Phil Manzanera, Andrew McKay, Eddie Jobson, Paul Thompson, Bryan Ferry)

Introduction

Brian Eno left Roxy Music in 1973. How does the band cope with the loss of one of its main attractions and musical innovators? Pretty well, so it seems.

Roxy Music

In 1972 Roxy Music debuted with the release of the album Roxy Music, which was followed by For Your Pleasure in March of 1973. Their art-rock was very well received, both by the general public as by the press. The single Virginia Plain was a hit.

Brian Eno - Roxy Music - 1973 (twitter.com/eno)

Brian Eno – Roxy Music – 1973

The group’s presentation was glamorous and the band got noticed for their look and clothing. The band seemed to be led by Bryan Ferry, but on-stage Ferry was often out-classed by the eccentric Brian Eno, who re-established the term ‘to dress up’.

But, Eno was just as important musically. His synthesizer eruptions gave Roxy Music something that was experimental, unexpected and unpredictable.

Roxy Music’s fans were divided into two factions. To many, Eno was indispensable and had decisive impact on the success of the band. To others, Eno was the man who often paralyzed the rock-machine Roxy Music with his beeping and grinding sounds.

Anyway, Bryan Ferry wasn’t to keen on being trivialized by anybody else than Bryan Ferry. The relationship between Eno and Ferry quickly deteriorated and Ferry wanted to take control over, what he considered to be, ‘his’ band. So, exit Eno.

In the meantime Ferry had launched a solo-career.

Stranded

Roxy Music - Stranded (artrockstore.com)

Roxy Music – Stranded

After Eno’s departure, Roxy Music went to work to record the next album. The rest of the band found out about Eno’s leaving upon reconvening in the studio. Eddie Jobson was introduced as his replacement. Ferry was in full control this time, even though Stranded marked the first time others would (co-)write on a Roxy Music album.

Wish everybody would leave me alone, that’s the way Ferry opens the album Stranded which was released on November 23rd, 1973. The lines stem from the song Street Life, which was released as a single and is considered to be a classic song in Roxy Music’s body of work. Stranded is filled with classics. As if Eno never existed, Roxy Music delivered their masterpiece (Eno himself calls Stranded the best Roxy Music album).

Songs like Street Life, A Song For Europe and Mother Of Pearl posses a quality that is timeless and will surely contribute to the living memory of the name Roxy Music. Ferry’s vocals are stronger than before and the band sounds like a real tight band musically.

Cover

With just two albums under their belt, Roxy Music was already renowned for their album covers. These contained pictures of beautiful women or models. It was told that the models were Bryan Ferry’s girlfriend at the time. When it comes to Stranded, this is not the case.

The gatefold cover is a photo by Karl Stoecker, that shows the Playboy model Marilyn Cole (Playmate of the year 1973). Cole remembered in 2007:

Roxy Music - Stranded - Bryan Ferry with Marilyn Cole, cover-girl for Stranded (twitter.com/eno)

Bryan Ferry & Marilyn Cole

“It was at a tiny studio, somewhere off the Edgware Road in London. I’d never even heard of Roxy Music. I very soon understood that I was in safe hands, among some very talented people.

There was a red dress hanging up, and I thought, ‘Ooh, good, I’m going to get to wear a really nice dress’… whereupon, as I’m having my make-up done, Antony comes in and starts ripping the dress – a hole there, a slash there. I was thinking, ‘Oh no.’ They stuck me on this big log and explained I was supposed to be stranded in a jungle, and then they started spraying me; they sprayed my hair gold, and there was a whole mist coming over me and the dress was getting wet in all the right places.”.

Reception

Eno’s leaving was mentioned in almost every review, but not mourned. The album received lots of raving reviews and was very quickly considered to be a classic, and regarded as a logical development in the band’s career. In Europe Roxy Music did very well, but in the United States their success was considerably less. In a review for Rolling Stone Magazine attempts were made to get Americans get exited for the latest Roxy Music album. it didn’t work.

Roxy Music - Stranded - Ad (superseventies.com)

Roxy Music – Stranded – Ad

Review

My father admired Roxy Music greatly. He had every album up to and including Viva! Roxy Music. At the time I used to go over the album covers over and over again and stared for hours at the pictures. Eno fascinated me endlessly.

Of all the studio albums, Stranded was played the most frequent. If only for it contained the song Psalm, a classic within our household. It was the central theme song to my mother’s funeral, who was a big Bryan Ferry fan.

Besides the obvious nostalgia, Stranded is filled with beautiful music and highlight after highlight. Next to Psalm, Amazone and Mother Of Pearl are favorites also.

My favorite Roxy Music album is the live album Viva! Roxy Music, number 23 in my album top 50. Stranded is my favorite Roxy Music studio album, one of the few bands I own every album of.

After Stranded

Immediately following the recordings for the album, before the album’s release, the accompanying tour started in Bath, England on October 14th, 1973. Bryan Ferry moved away from his keyboard position and took the center stage position and focused on his vocals, giving less attention to keyboards. During the tour multiple concerts were recorded for inclusion on a possible live album. Chance Meeting and Pyjamarama recorded on November 2nd, 1973, in Glasgow finally appeared on the live album Viva! Roxy Music.

Roxy Music - Musikladen 1974 (youtube.com)

Roxy Music – Musikladen 1974

On January 23rd, 1974, Roxy Music performs on the German music program Musikladen and plays Street Life, Pyjamarama, Mother Of Pearl, Amazona and Psalm. This performance has been released numerous times on differrent bootlegs. And rightfully so, it’s a stunning performance.

Songs

All songs written by Bryan Ferry, unless stated otherwise.

  • Street Life
  • Just Like You
  • Amazona *
  • Psalm
  • Serenade
  • A Song for Europe
  • Mother of Pearl
  • Sunset
Written by
*   Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzanera
  Bryan Ferry, Andy MacKay

Musicians

Roxy Music - Street Life (single) (ultratop.be)

Roxy Music – Street Life (single)

Roxy Music:

  • Bryan Ferry – vocals, piano, electric piano, harmonica
  • John Gustafson – bass
  • Eddie Jobson – synthesizers, keyboards, electric violin
  • Andy Mackay (Andrew Mackay) – oboe, saxophone
  • Phil Manzanera – guitar
  • Paul Thompson – drums, timpani

Extra/guests:

  • Chris Laurence – bass on Sunset
  • The London Welsh Male Choir – choir on Psalm
  • Chris Thomas – bass on Street Life (uncredited)

In closing

What do you think of Stranded? Let me know!

 

Compliments/remarks? I´d love to hear them!