Thrill of It All: The Story of Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music

Overview

Roxy Music, one of the first and best art-rock bands of the 1970s, is chronicled in this account of decadent glam-rock excess.

Included are accounts of Ferry's affair with supermodel Jerry Hall and its public end when she left him for Mick Jagger, the band's various splits and regroupings, and the recent reunion in 2001 for a sold-out ...
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Overview

Roxy Music, one of the first and best art-rock bands of the 1970s, is chronicled in this account of decadent glam-rock excess.

Included are accounts of Ferry's affair with supermodel Jerry Hall and its public end when she left him for Mick Jagger, the band's various splits and regroupings, and the recent reunion in 2001 for a sold-out greatest hits tour.

Years of research and interviews with all the major participants, including Ferry himself, have resulted in a definitive history of a band that changed popular music forever.
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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Sun-Times
[Buckley] draws on his own interviews and an impressive amount of research to paint vivid portraits of the key players.
Dave Itzkoff
… Buckley succeeds in painting a remarkably sympathetic portrait of a decadent musician with an eight-figure net worth. \
— The New York Times
New York Times Book Review
Buckley succeeds in painting a remarkably sympathetic portrait of a decadent musician.
Publishers Weekly
The history of Ferry and the influential English glam rock group Roxy Music, like that of many innovative rock bands, is one of charismatic musical exploration fraught with problems: revolving-door musicians, financial arguments and futile attempts to break into the American market. (Roxy Music had only one major U.S. hit, 1975's "Love Is the Drug.") At the center of both the iconoclasm and conflict stands Ferry, the group's founder, lead singer, primary songwriter and image dictator. While Buckley (David Bowie) clearly loves the music and admires Ferry's creative skill, he also points out the musician's flaws: an inability to deal with direct confrontations, micromanaging recording sessions, and being less than generous with the press. This book isn't just for hard-core Ferry fans-Buckley explores the history of 1970s British rock using Roxy Music as a core, explaining how innovative original Roxy member Brian Eno's sound-altering experiments were; how Ferry chose to market the group like a product, rather than depend on concert touring; and how infatuated British youth became with Roxy's nouveau glam rock concept that image/style was just as important as the music. This is a thorough if unevenly presented history alternately page-turning, tedious and gossipy. Photos. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Buckley's latest book (after David Bowie: The Complete Guide to His Music) should be a triumphant hagiography: working-class lad forms band, makes brilliant music, joins high society, and courts beautiful women. But it isn't, because singer Bryan Ferry won't let it. Informed by original interviews with Ferry, his bandmates, and their associates, this biography of Roxy Music recounts the band's arrival on the British glam scene of the 1970s as outrageous and thrillingly weird style- and musicmakers. The world was theirs for the taking-until Ferry sabotaged his career with self-doubt. He became a prisoner to his exacting ideals of beauty; nothing ever measured up. Despite Buckley's efforts to spin the 21st-century Roxy reunion as Ferry's vindication, readers are left hoping Ferry doesn't end up the Charles Foster Kane of glam. Fortunately, this sour puss doesn't deter Buckley, who analyzes music, performance, and image changes and doesn't skimp on the personal turmoil; his interviewee choices are beyond comprehensive. This is the best Ferry/Roxy read yet, supplanting Paul Stump's Unknown Pleasures. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.-Matthew Moyer, Jacksonville P.L., FL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Glam-rock pacesetters and their angst-racked vocalist receive a thoughtful consideration. This time out, Buckley, who has surveyed David Bowie in two books, takes on the legacy of the electrifying '70s U.K. act Roxy Music. His focus is on front man Bryan Ferry, a working-class provincial who carried cool from Newcastle after an art school education. In 1970, he founded Roxy Music in London with Brian Eno-a nonmusician committed to flamboyant style, sonic extremism and arty theatrics-and a group of mainly unknown collaborators. With the release of its first album in 1972, the band became an instant sensation; its vital fusion of lyrical irony, campy visual style and envelope-pushing experimentalism led to a popularity rivaling that accorded Bowie and T. Rex's Marc Bolan at the apex of rock's glitter era. But Buckley, who considers the untutored group a harbinger of punk rock, maintains that Ferry's early expulsion of chief provocateur Eno, along with the singer's increasingly conservative and fussy approach in the studio, spelled the end of the group's importance. The writer also notes that social striver Ferry's metamorphosis into the kind of suave, moneyed toff he had initially mocked hastened a descent into virtual self-parody in a series of labored and hermetic group projects and solo albums. Ferry's latter-day irrelevance is telegraphed by the fact that Buckley spends a mere 58 pages on the 23 years between the release of Roxy's lustrous 1981 album Avalon and the present day. The Thrill of It All lacks much primary sourcing: the ever-wary Ferry sat for just one interview in 1999, and Buckley couldn't corral Eno or such founding Roxy members as guitarist Phil Manzanera or saxophonistAndy McKay, who both played in the reunited 2001 touring lineup. But testimony from a chorus of sidemen and independent observers plus well-selected secondary material adds up to a compelling assessment of a prophetic and influential band. Return with us now to rock's thrilling days of eye shadow and ostrich feathers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556525742
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/10/2005
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David Buckley is the author of The Complete Guide to the Music of David Bowie, R.E.M. Fiction, Strange Fascination, and The Stranglers: No Mercy.
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