Bryan Ferry is one of the most iconic and innovative singers and lyricists in popular music, with an original vocal brilliance of breathtaking elegance.
While studying Fine Art at the end of the 1960s he met the founder of British Pop Art, Richard Hamilton, whose influence and inspiration would inform Ferry’s artistic vision.
“My earliest writings and recordings with Roxy Music,” he explains, “were a direct attempt to combine my love of music with the creative possibilities and ideas that I had learned from Fine Art.”
Awarded a travelling scholarship by the Royal College of Art, Ferry moved to London and wrote the songs, which became the first Roxy Music album. He recruited the other members of the group and put together every detail of their image, from stage clothes to record sleeves.
Appearing on ‘Top of The Pops’ in 1972, performing their debut single, ‘Virginia Plain’, their impact was instantaneous. They took the history of popular music, from Elvis to progressive rock by way of soul and the avant-garde, and fused it into a seamless, glittering pure pop moment, a flawless display of musical virtuosity, lyrical brilliance and style.
The first ‘Roxy Music’ album has been acclaimed by successive generations of critics as one of the most important records in the history of pop and rock.
Ferry recorded his first solo album, ‘These Foolish Things’, in 1973, showcasing his love of classic rhythm & blues and rock & roll in a style entirely his own. The emotional intensity of his vocals can be heard on his epic interpretation of the Bob Dylan classic, ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’, one of many of his cover versions of recordings by artists he admires, interpreted in his own way, merging musical styles – from French chanson, through classic crooner to hard edged rock – creating a sheen of pure drama which would become his artistic signature.
The cover photograph on his second solo album, ‘Another Time, Another Place’, of Ferry dressed in a classic white tuxedo for the early evening cocktail hour, became one of the defining images in the history of popular culture and his interpretation of ‘The In Crowd’ has become the mythic soundtrack to the legend of the “Jet Set”. Ferry and Roxy Music transcended fashion, setting trends rather than following them.
Ferry makes every song entirely his own. His vocal style brings a whole world to life, making each song a dramatic performance, achieving a perfect tension between languor and melodrama to create high romance.
In October 1975, one of Roxy’s best loved tracks, ‘Love Is The Drug’ – the opening track on ‘Siren’ – described romantic and sexual obsession and further explored the urban underworld of dark bars and addictive predatory romance.
Roxy Music produced their final studio album in 1983 – the triple platinum ‘Avalon’, which sealed their reputation as musical pioneers and as a global super-group.
Throughout the 1990s to the present day, Ferry has continued his work on covers that he has made entirely his own. He endlessly refines his work, through recording and performance, often describing the emotional theatre of romance from the perspective of a loner and an outsider, describing love and loneliness, luxury and isolation. He is the great anatomist of glamour.
In 2002 he released ‘Frantic’, an album put together with a mixture of original material and interpretations of other artists’ songs, some of which were written with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, and one song, (“I Thought”), composed with former Roxy colleague, Brian Eno.
In September 2006 Ferry returned to the studio to record ‘Dylanesque’ – an artistic tribute to the songs of the American singer songwriter he always loved and respected.
He celebrated the 40th year anniversary of his career by rearranging his own compositions and recording them in a 1920's style with his Jazz Orchestra, The Bryan Ferry Orchestra, for an instrumental album. After hearing ‘The Jazz Age’ Baz Luhrmann asked Ferry to record the 20's music for his version of the movie 'The Great Gatsby'.
In 2014, Ferry launched his fourteenth solo album, the edgy, brooding, cinematic ‘Avonmore’ containing a mix of original compositions such as ‘Soldier of Fortune’ (co-written with Johnny Marr), ‘Lost’ and ‘Loop de Li’ as well as interpretations of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Send in the Clowns’ and ‘Johnny and Mary’ by Robert Palmer. ‘Avonmore’ demonstrated all of the qualities that have made Bryan Ferry’s writing, arranging and vocal genius so iconic, innovative and enthralling.
2016 has been a busy year for Ferry so far with a world wide tour and release of his first solo live album. Recorded during the 2015 Avonmore Tour, ‘Bryan Ferry Live 2015’ which features the full set played across world-wide live dates, at multiple shows on tour. The album features songs from his highly acclaimed latest album, Avonmore, and classic hits from the Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music back catalogue.
The 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Fan Vote is now open, and Roxy Music are on the short list https://t.co/73XUDCINkK