Rolling Stone APRIL 21, 2005 - by John Taylor


Roxy music were a huge influence on both punk and New Wave: They anticipated the restraint and the coolness of the '80s, but you wouldn't have had The Sex Pistols without them, either. They made playing music look really cool and sexy, and they did it without being elitist virtuosos. They were very fresh, very modern - especially the electronics in their sound - but at the same time, their music was evocative of a romantic past, which England was obsessed with. On their first album, you hear strains of World War II music, of swing and Glenn Miller. But it was all mixed up in a way that made the music seem terribly new.

Bryan Ferry was obviously the songwriter and frontman. His lyrics were very thoughtful and arty but also very warm and full of feeling. In the early days you had Brian Eno, who was the Jimi Hendrix of the synthesizer. There were tremendous musical personalities in the band: Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay, Paul Thompson. You could get your teeth into everybody, this is a band whose solo albums were worth getting. They all had quite interesting voices. And they were a band that you could argue about; Paul Thompson had a tremendous fan club, and he's the least-known of all of them.

Also, it has to be said: You could never separate them from their look. I think Roxy had a lot of conversations about what the band should wear. You expect that kind of thing to happen when Britney Spears is being launched, but you don't expect it to happen within a band: finding just the right pair of shades for the guitar player, finding these jumpsuits for the sax player. They had great, very sexy album covers, too. But it wasn't like their sound was lagging behind.

Their best song may be Virginia Plain. That's the manifesto. When I saw them play that song on Top Of The Pops, I had to have it - I had to get on my bicycle and ride to the nearest record store. Another one is In Every Dream Home A Heartache, from the second album, about a guy who has everything. He's got the beautiful house, he's got the car, all the modem comforts. But for love, he takes the inflatable doll out every night and makes out with it. "I blew up your body / But you blew my mind." Tim try and write a song about being in love with a blow-up doll and make it sound cool!

Imagine it's 1973, you're looking for something to do, and school isn't really working for you, and a band like Roxy Music comes along. You'd say, "That's what I want to do." What else could compare to making that kind of noise, wearing those kinds of clothes?