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The Greatness of Brian Eno
04:50 pm

Pop Culture

Brian Eno
Bryan Ferry
Roxy Music

The term “genius” has been so devalued by its inanely ubiquitous overuse by the media one can no longer be certain what it means. Read any music review, film critique or general piece of hagiography typed by some blogger and you’ll stumble over the word “genius” as frequently as a drunk stubs a toe against furniture in the dark.

For example, Kim Kardashian apparently has “a genius” for clothes. Her husband Kanye West is, of course, a self-confessed genius. What the word genius means in these two examples I’m not really sure. Unless, of course, it means “tasteless” and “delusional.”

Genius once meant something exceptional. It was the laurel crowned on the head of only the greatest talents. A friend once suggested there was greatness and then there was genius. His example went something like this:

Genius pervades all aspects of an individual’s life. The talent, the taste, the originality of thought. For example, David Bowie was once asked by Coldplay to collaborate on a song. He declined claiming the song on offer wasn’t very good. David Bowie had genius.

Brian Eno produced Coldplay’s fourth album. Brian Eno has greatness.

Whether this is a fair or even correct assumption to make—docking Eno for deigning to associate with that lot—who am I to say?

When I first heard of the multi-talented polymath Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno—the man with a name for every day of the working week—he was being hailed as “the genius” behind Roxy Music. I demurred. It was always Bryan Ferry the chief singer and songwriter who I thought of as “the genius” of that band. When Eno left Roxy—the cry went up that they were not the same without their impish knob twiddler. I couldn’t see it and wondered what the fuss was all about. Then came Eno’s first solo album Here Comes the Warm Jets and I began to appreciate what some of that fuss had been about.

By the end of the seventies as Roxy became less pop art and more soulful tunesmiths, Eno was still seeking out new projects—moving on, discovering, producing, creating, testing the parameters of music. He seemed unstoppable.

In all respects, Eno is more than the sum of his parts. He sets an example as a creator, an artist, a musician—of what it means to be alive and to do as much as possible. As he suggested in the profile of his life and career Another Green World:

All of the encouragement from modern life is to tell you to pay attention to yourself and take control of things.

Whether Eno’s merely great or a genius is immaterial. He’s a concept, an exemplar to do things better, to try them differently, to learn more, to do more.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Amanda Lear: 70s disco diva, fashion model, TV star and Salvador Dali’s transsexual muse

Model, painter, disco diva, TV personality and the absolute fiercest of the pioneering transsexuals (along with Candy Darling), Amanda Lear was born Alain Maurice Louis René Tap in Saigon, 1939. Or it could have been Paris. Or Hong Kong. The year might have been 1941, 1945 or as she now claims 1950. There is much competing information about her parents, none of it conclusive. In general, not much is known for sure about the early life of Amanda Lear and she would very much like to keep it that way. She claims to have been educated in Switzerland and she eventually made her way to Paris in 1959, taking the stage name “Peki d’Oslo,” performing as a stripper at the notorious drag bar, Le Carrousel.

Amanda Lear’s mid-60s model card.
The story goes that the gangly, yet exotic Eurasian beauty Peki had a nose job and sex change in Casablanca paid for by none other than the Surrealist master Salvador Dali, who frequented Le Carrousel, in 1963. Amanda, as she is now known, then makes her way to London to become a part of the swinging Chelsea set where she is rumored to have had a relationship with Rolling Stone Brian Jones. She models for Yves St. Laurent and Paco Rabanne and is a constant muse for the Divine Dali, but her career is held back by rumors that she was born a man or was a hermaphrodite.

‘For Your Pleasure’ cover
Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry saw Lear on the runway during an Ossie Clark fashion show and invited her to be the model for Roxy’s For Your Pleasure album cover, walking a black panther on a leash. They were briefly engaged and that image has become iconic. Lear also had a yearlong affair with David Bowie who serenaded her with “Sorrow” in his “1980 Floor Show” (broadcast on The Midnight Special in 1974). Bowie helped Lear launch her musical career and by the late 1970s she had become a bestselling disco singer and television personality in Europe with hits like “Follow Me,” “Queen of Chinatown” and “I Am a Photograph.”

The David Bailey photograph of Lear that appeared in the infamous 1971 Dali-edited issue of French Vogue
Amanda Lear’s autobiography, My Life With Dali came out in 1985 and it begins when she would have been approximately 24 or 25 years of age. Almost no mention whatsoever is made of her life before arriving in London in 1965. When Dali biographer Ian Gibson confronted her on camera about the gender of her birth in his The Fame and Shame of Salvador Dali TV documentary, Lear angrily—and not at all convincingly—stonewalled him. She has always vehemently denied that she was a transsexual despite it being a well-established fact. She even posed nude for Playboy and several other men’s magazines and often sunbathed naked on beaches to dispel the rumors. All this really proved was that she had a kickin’ bod, but if you ask me, I think it’s sad that she choses to keep up this pretense. She should be rightfully celebrated for her biggest accomplishment in life—ironically, being true to herself—but apparently Amanda Lear just doesn’t see it that way.

Amanda Lear vehemently denies having had a sex change on German television 1977.
Today Amanda Lear still looks amazing—she’s practically ageless no matter what her real biological age might be—and continues to perform all over Europe. She’s sold somewhere in the vicinity of fifteen million albums and 25 million singles. She also has a thriving career as a painter and an original painting of hers can sell for $10,000 or more. She’s done stage acting and was the voice of Edna ‘E’ Mode in the Italian-dubbed version of The Incredibles. Lear was a judge on the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars.
“The Stud” from 1979’s ‘Sweet Revenge’ album

Much more of Amanda Lear, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Hey Good Looking Boy’: Roxy Music in the 1970s
11:51 am


Bryan Ferry
Roxy Music

Even after all these years, listening to those early albums produced by Roxy Music is like hearing music from an as yet to be imagined future. The shocking originality of their debut single “Virginia Plain” through to “Pyjamarama,” “Street Life,” “Do the Strand,” “In Every Dream Home a Heartache,” and “Mother of Pearl” are fresher and better than nearly everything pumped out today.

At the heart of Roxy Music is Bryan Ferry, the chief song-writer and lead singer, a working class lad, born in Washington, Tyne and Wear in the north of England. His father was from a farm and his mother from the town, and as he once explained in an interview with the Nottingham Post, his father:

“...used to court [his mother] on a plough horse for ten years before they got married. It was very old-fashioned.”

Music was just a noise to his father, but to his mother it was a passion. She had her favorites and a liking for some rock ‘n’ roll, even taking her young son to see Bill Haley and The Comets in the 1950s. But Ferry preferred jazz and soul, and after hitch-hiking from his home town in 1967 to see Otis Redding perform in London, he decided that he had to become a singer.

At school Ferry had felt that he was “an oddity” but wasn’t until he started studying Fine Art at Newcastle University that his creative ambitions came into focus. Under the tutelage of noted British Pop artist Richard Hamilton, Ferry became more confident in his own talents and began writing songs. These were at first influenced by Hamilton’s pop aesthetic, best heard in songs like “Virginia Plain” which was inspired by a painting Ferry had made of a packet of cigarettes (Virginia Plain was a brand of cigarette).

After a few false starts with The Banshees and then Gasboard, Ferry formed Roxy Music with friend Graham Simpson in 1970, being quickly joined by saxophonist/oboist Andy Mackay and Brian Eno on tapes and synthesiser. By the summer of 1972, Roxy Music had their first top five single, and Ferry’s teenage hopes of pop success were sealed,

This compilation of concerts from German TV’s Beat Club and Musicladen captures Roxy Music at their height of their powers in the mid-1970s, with the suave tuxedoed Bryan Ferry leading the band through hits like “Street Life,” “Virginia Plain” and “Mother of Pearl.” Close you eyes and you’ll think this is tomorrow calling…


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Stay cool is still the main rule’: Bryan Ferry 1983 interview on Japanese TV
04:49 pm


Bryan Ferry

007, the glam years.
This 1983 interview with Bryan Ferry from Japanese TV is rather beguiling, in a weird way, for several reasons: the placid cluelessness of the interviewer (Tokyo’s Andy Warhol?), Ferry’s ability to keep the conversation moving, despite talking to a blank stare, and his ultra-cool movie star style. Ferry would have made a terrific James Bond.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Bryan Ferry has something he wants to sell you: Japanese commercials from the ‘80s
03:36 pm


Bryan Ferry

Seems like a good choice to have Bryan Ferry shilling for Japanese clothing line Jun.

These commercials were directed by the renowned Japanese photographer Kazumi Kurigami.


Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Roxy Music: Live in Concert, Stockholm 1976

Packaged highlights of Roxy Music in concert at Konserthuset, Stockholm, as recorded by Swedish Television on January 27th, 1976.

Track Listing:

01. “The Thrill Of It All”
02 “Mother Of Pearl”
03. “Nightingale”
04. “Out Of The Blue”
05. “Street Life”
06. “Diamond Head”
07. “Wild Weekend”
08. Band Introduction
09. “The In Crowd”
10. “Virginia Plain”
11. “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”

This concert was available as a bootleg within days of its performance, and has been a staple of the unauthorized Roxy catalog ever since. The concert was considered solid and workman-like at the time, but now it looks bloody marvelous.

Bonus…Bryan Ferry on his latest album ‘The Jazz Age’, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday Bryan Ferry

Happy Birthday to Bryan Ferry, who was born today in 1945.

Ferry may have looked the epitome of the suave, sophisticated nightclub singer, sipping cocktails in evening suit and slick-backed hair, but he was one of the most revolutionary and original musicians and song-writers of past 4 decades.

Take a look at his song book and you will realize Ferry has written some of the most breath-taking, beautiful and exciting songs of the seventies and eighties, both with Roxy Music and as a solo artist.

Add to this Ferry’s uncanny ability to produce seemingly timeless tracks that are as startling today as when first heard. You can hear this in songs as diverse as “Virginia Plain”, “The Thrill of It All”, “All I Want”, “Out of the Blue” “Mother of Pearl”, “A Song for Europe”, and “In Every Dream Home a Heartache”, through to the series of solo albums he produced, in particular In Your Mind and The Bride Stripped Bare.

Here is Mr Ferry at his best on a Japanese TV show, The Young Music Show, recorded at NHK 101 Studio in June 9th, 1977.

The band consisted of Paul Thompson (Drums ); John Wetton (Bass); Chris Mercer, Martin Drover, Mel Collins (Horn Section ); Ann Odell (Keyboards); Chris Spedding, Phil Manzanera (Guitars); and Bryan Ferry.

Track Listing

01. “Let’s Stick Together”
02. “Shame, Shame, Shame”
03. “In Your Mind”
04. “Casanova”
05. “Love Me Madly Again”
06. “Love is the Drug”
07. “Tokyo Joe”
08. “This Is Tomorrow”
09. “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”
10. “The Price of Love”

Happy Birthday Bryan Ferry!


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Roxy Music own ‘Musikladen’: 20 minutes of pure exhilaration from 1973


Roxy Music own the stage at the Musikladen studios, as they showcase 3 songs from For Your Pleasure, and one from their self-titled first album.

There is a book to be written on how Roxy Music are a key component to so many teenage evolutions (my own included), and the touchstone for so many bands, from Chic to Siouxsie and the Banshees. There’s also a major tome to be written on Bryan Ferry, that suave, sophisticated, cool-as-fuck genius who progressed through so many musical styles yet always maintained essentially true to his own vision.

Add to that the fact Roxy’s music is a fresh and as vital today, as it was forty years ago.

Track listing:

01. “Do the Strand”
02. “Editions of You”
03. “In Every Dream Home A Heartache”
04. “Re-Make/Re-Model”

Previously on Dangerous Minds

‘The Thrill of It All’: The Roxy Music Story


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Thrill of It All: The Roxy Music Story

Hard to believe but it’s forty years since Roxy Music released their debut single “Virginia Plain” and made an unforgettable appearance on Top of the Pops. It was a moment that influenced a generation, the same way David Bowie had earlier the same year, when he seductively draped his arm over Mick Ronson’s shoulder as they sang “Starman” together. It was a moment of initiation, when millions of British youth had shared a seminal cultural experience by watching television.

Of all the programs on air in 1972, by far the most influential was Top of the Pops., and Roxy Music’s arrival on the show was like time travelers bringing us the future sound of music. 

Listening to “Virginia Plain” today, it hard to believe that it wasn’t record last week and has just been released.

This documentary on Roxy Music has all the band members (Ferry, Manzanera, MacKay, Eno, etc) and a who’s who of musicians (Siouxsie Sioux, Steve Jones, and Roxy biographer, Michael Bracewell), who explain the band’s importance and cultural relevance. Roxy Music have just released The Complete Studio Recordings 1972-1982 available here.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Roxy Music live in 1972, the full radio broadcast

Bonus clip of ‘Virginia Plain’, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Brian Eno Frisbee vs. Bryan Ferry kite

Last night we (finally) watched the seventh episode of Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy. Some of the trippiest television I’ve seen in some time. I mean, a Brian Eno Frisbee!? A Bryan Ferry kite!? How creative! Just watch.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Roxy Music’s album covers

Above, Brian Ferry’s then-girlfriend, transsexual model/pop star Amanda Lear poses for the second Roxy Music album cover with a panther.

Short documentary film about the making of those iconic and sexy Roxy Music album covers. This was made for a recent event honoring Bryan Ferry in France.

Via Exile on Moan Street

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Bryan Ferry sings nursery rhymes
03:17 am


Bryan Ferry
Stevie Riks

Stevie Riks is a British comedian who does remarkable impressions/parodies of pop stars that are affectionate, smart and often brutally funny. His take on Bryan Ferry is so good it’s scary.

In this video, Riks does Ferry doing nursery rhymes while Freddie Mercury adds a bit of color.

Riks as Ray Davies is some brilliant silliness. He really nails the subtleties of Ray’s voice and that is no easy task. This had me laughing to the point of tears. Maybe it’s the face.

Stevie has almost 400 videos uploaded to his Youtube channel. It’s all him doing his impressions and they run the gamut from the ridiculous to the sublime. A few cut to the bone. Check them out here. He does a killer Lemmy.
Riks does Lemmy after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Bryan Ferry sings the theme song from ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’

His name is Stevie Riks. He’s a comedian from England and he’s very funny. This impression of Bryan Ferry doing a medley of the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies, Benny Hill’s ‘Ernie’, ‘Pop Musik’, The Wurzels’ ‘I Am A Cider Drinker’ and ‘Two Little Boys’ by Rolf Harris is absolutely inspired.

Riks has a Youtube channel where he does spot on impressions of dozens of rock and rollers and some of them are gutbustingly funny. Check em out here.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Roxy Music Live On British TV, July 16 : ‘Virginia Plain’ And ‘Love Is The Drug’

Roxy Music performing Virginia Plain and Love is The Drug on the last edition of British television’s Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, which aired on July 16. Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera, and Paul Thompson all sound terrific. But, where’s Eno? 

Roxy is touring Europe, but no US dates are currently scheduled.

Bryan Ferry/Jonathan Ross, separated at birth.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment