There’s a new sensation
A fabulous creation
In 1973 Roxy Music released no less than two albums. The first one was For Your Pleasure. The promising debut received its perfect sequel.
Two sub articles are connected to this story:
This article contains references to both sub articles.
Following the release of the fantastic debut album Roxy Music in June 1972, Roxy Music was a band to watch. The special mix between art and rock got noticed and was valued. The band’s experimentation was lauded, and primarily accredited to Brian Eno. Remarkable as Bryan Ferry was the band’s major composer. After a tour geared towards the debut album, time had come to start on the next album.
January 1973 started with a new episode of the ‘never ending saga’ with Roxy Music bass players. Rik Kenton left and was replaced by John Porter.
As a direct result of Roxy Music‘s success, the band had more time to spend in the studio, leading to a (far more) better production. The band even used two producers for the album, Chris Thomas and John Anthony. In February 1973 the band checked into George Martin’s AIR Studios in London.
The songs Roxy Music leader Bryan Ferry had written were (once again) of the highest level. The songs that ended up on the second side of the vinyl album were primarily composed during rehearsals (and some concerts). The remaining songs were completely new, written (by Bryan Ferry) in a cottage in Derbyshire.
For Your Pleasure
On March 23, 1973, For Your Pleasure was released. The album’s subtitle was The second Roxy Music Album.
The new album represented a deepening and refinement of the fantastic debut album Roxy Music. Roxy Music sounded more confident, in control, mature, dark and outright exciting.
The individual musicians of the band seem to have a more personal connection to the music, even though Bryan Ferry is the undisputed leader of the band. Not only is he responsible for the all the songs, he also played a big part in the album’s production and instinctively knew when it was time for others to shine. Guitar player Manzanera, saxophone player Mackay and drummer Thompson really shine through their contributions, which always propel the music even further. The tension between Ferry and Eno works quite well on the album, but would soon cause serious problems.
The contrast between the album covers of the debut and the second album, can’t possibly be any greater. Where the first model Kari-Ann Muller innocently stares into the camera, the model on the second album is a sensual, decadent femme fatale that oozes both elegance and unease (just look at her unnatural pose on the front cover).
The story goes that Bryan Ferry was romantically linked to the model, Amanda Lear, at the time. Ferry would often use his girlfriends for inclusion on the album covers in the years to come.
The cover photo was made by Karl Stoecker. The picture shows Amanda Lear at night wearing a tight black dress while on her way to her (?) limousine with a (according to legend heavily sedated) black panther on a leash. The limousine driver is Bryan Ferry, who watches on with a big smile.
The inner gatefold contained pictures of the Roxy Music members (with the exception of bass player John Porter). Photos from that particular photoshoot were used for all kinds of ads and single covers.
As was the case with the debut album Roxy Music, a non-album single was released. Exactly one month prior to the album’s release the single Pyjamarama was released. A phenomenal song, the first song Ferry ever composed while playing the guitar.
Just how cocky can a band be if a song like that isn’t even considered for a place on the new album? In 1976 the song debuted on an original Roxy Music album: Viva! Roxy Music, the first Roxy Music live album.
Just like on debut single Virginia Plain, the Pyjamarama single contained an instrumental song on its B-side, again written by Andy Mackay, which wasn’t released on a regular album.
Roxy Music was welcomed a year earlier, but it was just foreplay when compared to the reception For Your Pleasure received. The attention bestowed upon Roxy Music was fitting for an established band, but seemed disproportionate for a band that had just released their second album. And, this time, the American press was aware of the album from the start.
Below the most important remarks from the English, American and Dutch reviews. For those who want to read the full reviews, see the sub article Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure – The reviews.
And what a fabulous new Roxy this is!
(Roy Hollingsworth, Melody Maker, March 17, 1973)
A huge and lovely improvement on their first album, Roxy Music have in the intervening year, strengthened their strong points, weeded out their weaknesses and come up with what is, on the whole, an outstandingly good album.
(Caroline Boucher, Disc, March 24, 1973)
The point is that here is another Roxy Music album, and it’s better than anybody could have dared hope.
(Charles Shaar Murray, New Musical Express, March 24, 1973)
For Your Pleasure is an album that I’ll rarely play all the way through, playing it more as a collection of singles – a track or two at a time.
(Steve Peacock, Sounds, March 24, 1973)
A successful coupe by the Avantgarde.
(Trouw (Dutch newspaper), April 13, 1973)
Great stuff from a band fast becoming a cult.
Val Mabbs, Record Mirror, April 14, 1973
At times immersive music containing avant-garde tendencies.
(Jim van Alphen, Het Parool (Dutch newspaper), May 5, 1973)
But the bulk of For Your Pleasure is either above us, beneath us, or on another plane altogether.
(Paul Gambaccini, Rolling Stone, July 5, 1973)
Give this album two months, and I betcha you’ll be able to find it for ninety-nine cents at your local K-Mart.
(Robot A. Hull, Creem, September 1973)
Verdict: almost not not bad.
(Robert Christgau, 1973
Initially, the Roxy Music album was the ‘hardest’ album for me personally, where For Your Pleasure had some great assets from the get-go: Do The Strand, Editions Of You and The Bogus Man are superb. But everything paled in comparison to the magnum opus In Every Dream Home A Heartache, a remarkable story of spiritual poverty and repulsion.
Is the rest less interesting in comparison then? Well, no. It’s only their second album and the band, and composer Bryan Ferry in particular, show that art and rock can achieve a perfect symbiosis: a truly impressive feat.
The album opens beautifully with There’s a new sensation / A fabulous creation / A danceable solution / To teenage revolution. The listener is called to Do The Strand, a dance that isn’t explained any further. An up-tempo, busy song which was released as a single in July 1973. Beauty Queen is next, a great love song. Strictly Confidential is the first quiet moment, before the energy of Editions Of You, a typical Roxy Music up-tempo song fitting the Virginia Plain/Do The Strand tradition, blows the listener out of their seat once more. The song contains great solos by all of the Roxy Music members.
In Every Dream Home A Heartache
The last song on the first side of the vinyl is one of the highlights in Roxy Music’s entire career. Set to dissonant keyboards and some musical embellishments, Ferry paints a modern world, which feels empty and fake:
Standards of living
They’re rising daily
But home, oh sweet home
It’s only a saying
Open plan living
Bungalow, ranch style
All of its comforts
Seem so essential
But, love does exist in some kind of form?
I bought you mail order
My plain wrapper baby
Your skin is like vinyl
The perfect companion
You float in my new pool
Deluxe and delightful
My role is to serve you
Can’t throw you away now
Immortal and life size
My breath is inside you
The subdued tension the song triggers finally erupts: I blew up your body / But you blew my mind. Next, the song explodes, giving the Roxy musicians ample room to go wild. Some productional tricks are deployed. The song fades out and slowly fades in again, but now the sound is sent through a phaser. Different and innovative.
Side 2 opens with The Bogus Man, which lasts no less than 9 minute and 20 seconds. The rhythm is extremely simple and the lyrics only contain three 4-line verses. The musical outro is long, yet highly addictive. Another highlight for this album.
For me, Grey Lagoons is the lesser song on the album. The closing For Your Pleasure immediately redeems the album again. A great example of the melting pot of the worlds of Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno. It often worked extremely well.
A mere 9 months after Roxy Music’s debut album and the single Virginia Plain, the band introduces Pyjamarama and this album. A giant leap forward. It’s almost inconceivable that the band would release their best album Stranded in the very same year.
For Your Pleasure is an album that’s experimental and accessible, combines rock and art and represents the last time Ferry and Eno would work together on new music. The band was way ahead of its time with the album, which would grow out to be a musical and lyrical blueprint for multiple followers.
The album grew out to be a favorite, within the band a s well. The live album Viva! Roxy Music contains no less than 3 songs originally released on For Your Pleasure and it also contains Pyjamarama.
All songs written by Bryan Ferry.
- Do The Strand
- Beauty Queen
- Strictly Confidential
- Editions Of You
- In Every Dream Home A Heartache
- The Bogus Man
- Grey Lagoons
- For Your Pleasure
- Bryan Ferry – vocals, keyboards
- Brian Eno – VCS3 synthesizer and tapes
- Andy Mackay – oboe, saxophone
- Phil Manzanera – guitar
- Paul Thompson – drums
- John Porter – bass (credited as “Guest artiste”)
What came next
From the very start of Roxy Music Brian (Eno) and Bryan (Ferry) fought for their spot in the limelight. Even though Roxy Music was clearly Ferry’s band (as Eno himself acknowledged several times), oftentimes Eno took center stage. The press did help, as they worshipped Eno. He looked different, provided the avant-garde in Roxy Music, was very popular with women and presented himself as an amiable, smooth talking man, who provided great photos as well. Ferry wasn’t like that, at all. Ferry in the Roxy Music biography The Thrill of it All: The Story of Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music (David Buckley, 2004): “I didn’t really like the interview process, I used to be really tongue-tied. Brian, of course, had confidence in spades”.
The audience revered Eno as well. So much so that they yelled for him at shows. On July 2, 1973, in York they yelled so loud that Ferry’s vocals were drowned out. Eno left the stage in an attempt to diffuse the situation, but Ferry was furious and vowed to never share a stage with Eno ever again.
What happened next isn’t entirely clear. It is said that Ferry fired Eno with the words “There’s only room for one non-musician in a band”. Eno would have wanted that, because he states that Ferry’s silence on the matter is what drove him to say “OK fuck it, I’m leaving”.
Anyway, ego tripping of the Br(y)(i)ans in Roxy Music led to an official announcement in English music magazine Melody Maker on July 21, 1973: Eno Quits Roxy.
One week later an interview with Brian Eno was published in English music magazine New Musical Express, entitled Of Launderettes and Lizard Girls, in which Eno addresses his departure from Roxy and the reasoning behind it, as well as his plans for the future. Read the July 21 announcement and the July 28 interview in their entirety in the sub article Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure – Eno Quits Roxy.
Eno was replaced by Eddie Jobson, a multi-instrumentalist who would fit in very well within Roxy Music. Eno soon recorded his first solo album, the classic Here Come The Warm Jets, which signaled the start of a successful and artistic fulfilling career.
Roxy Music was en route to album number three, Stranded, which Brian Eno considers to be the finest Roxy Music album.
What’s your opinion on For Your Pleasure? Let me know!
This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: Roxy Music also convinces with the second album: For Your Pleasure. The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated as well.
Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure – Poster image: recordmecca.com
Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure – Front & back gatefold image: boredanddangerousblog.wordpress.com
Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure image: spotify.com
Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure – Bryan Ferry and Amanda Lear & outtakes album cover photoshoot image: bryanferry.com/pinterest.com
Roxy Music – Pyjamarama & Roxy Music – Do The Strand images: dutchcharts.nl
Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure – US Poster image: madelinex.com
Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure – The Bogus Man typed lyrics & Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure – Bryan Ferry playing piano in the studio images: bryanferry.com
Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure – Inner gatefold & Roxy Music – Brian Eno live 03/17/1973 images: twitter.com
Roxy Music – Live 1973 image: theguardian.com