Posted by: docdenbow | April 21, 2013

Music Provides A Soundtrack To Our Lives


As long as I can remember music has been important to me. Music provides a soundtrack to our lives, certainly my life, and makes it all the more profound as a result. Like all of us I have my favourite bands, singers, songs and albums. Some seem to flit in out of my life musically speaking. A few endure untouched by time and my very faddish nature. Anyone who knows me will be aware that I am a huge fan of Glenn Hughes’ music and that his music is important to me. I bought Trapeze’s “You’re The Music….” album shortly after release back in 1972. Trapeze represented the side of my fledgling taste that you could, I suppose, call *hard rock.* I felt Trapeze were better than Led Zep, Sabbath and Deep Purple (oh the irony) Yet on the music front I did have another band that I loved and that band truly did have a unique sound and style.

Ladies and gentleman let me introduce Roxy Music.

I first heard Roxy on the radio very late at night (possibly John Peel) and immediately I became a little fan, rushing off to get the debut album and subsequently *Virginia Plain.* As you may imagine, a thirteen year old had never heard anything that even came close to the other wordly weirdness of Roxy. To my ears Bryan Ferry had a strange voice and the rest of the band, the great Paul Thompson aside, played in a way that I found both nuts and fantastic. I can tell you know that many hours were spent pretending to be Phil Manzanera, Andy MacKay, Eno or Bryan Ferry.

In many ways Roxy’s albums acted as markers and signposts through my adolescent years. *Roxy Music* and *For Your Pleasure* let me know that there was a great big wide world out there that I didn’t understand, but I knew I would get the chance to experience it. *Stranded,* and especially “Just Like You” kept me company as I wished I could be as cool as Bryan Ferry so that I could get to go out with a girl that I had a crush on. When *Country Life* was released I felt that my best friend had deserted me. I felt that this album was the worst by miles and I wondered whether the band would ever recover. Yet a year later Roxy returned with *Siren,* an album that for me at the time had absolutely everything, and to an extent still does. This album coincided with an exciting time for the young me. Queen’s *A Night At The Opera* followed a month later and I had my first girlfriend. We loved both of these albums, with *Siren* just edging it (although she fancied Roger Taylor and thought I looked like him.) She taught me to dance to “Love Is The Drug” and “Both Ends Burning,” and we had a ball as two young kids loving each other and the music.

*Viva,* a live album and *Greatest Hits* followed and Roxy Music was seemingly was gone for good, as was my first girlfriend, just after Glenn Hughes’ *Play Me Out* record which had “our song” on it “Your Love Is Like A Fire.” God, the tears I cried to that song. Broken hearted because of both splits I was drifting a little and getting pissed far too often and was lost without my girlfriend.

Then came 1978 and news that Roxy Music was back, recording. The result was *Manifesto* which I felt was an album of real power – a statement of intent. Of course it features “Dance Away,” a kind of wistful follow up to “Love Is The Drug.” By then I had a new girl and the songs, and especially the disco style remixes got our dancing shoes on. Life, for me, was looking up again. Shame it wasn’t the same for my Roxy Music, *Flesh and Blood* was released in 1980 and for me only had/has a couple of good tracks on it. 1982 saw the end in the form of *Avalon,* an album I loathed at the time – citing Bryan Ferry’s megalomania for ruining my band, and that was it Roxy was gone.

*Avalon* really did serve as a coda to my teenage years (although I was twenty one when it came out) and it was time to grow up. These days I have begun playing that album again and, do you know what? I have come to the conclusion that it’s a fine piece of work. Like me it was Roxy Music grown up and ready to move on.

As a footnote Bryan Ferry has had a parallel solo career from his debut album in 1973 *These Foolish Things* that continues to this day. His version of “These Foolish Things” is one of my favourite recordings and takes me back to various points of my life down the years.

I guess I’m just a sentimental fool………….

Ciao for Now

Denbow

 

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