Thursday, 17 December 2015

Seven songs 4...

This could, maybe should have been David Bowie and just about any of his songs from Hunky Dory. But it isn't and that's because something happened in 1972 that set me off on yet another road again.

I think that sometimes we forget those fragile and fleeting moments that, in an instant, click us into a new person. It seems like I got stuck in the Seventies, although to be honest things were moving so fast it wasn’t really stuck at all. Perhaps that’s the way with your teenage years should be as you struggle to define who you are. Maybe you are meant to move on quickly, morphing and changing as the world around you changes which each new discovery and disappointment.

Anyway, after what seemed like years stuck in the doldrums with Yes, Dark Side of the Moon, Tubular Bells, Greenslade and Tangerine Dream I emerged into the light one evening when Roxy Music hit The Old Grey Whistle Test; much to Bob Harris’ discomfort. He hated them and I thought that they were great, a pastiche of everything I loved from science fiction to Humphrey Bogart. They were strange looking, their music sounded other worldly, the machine that Brian Eno fiddled with looked like it had come out of a Gemini space capsule, it was Telstar all over again but with a more stylistic commentary.

The first Roxy Music album was a revelation. It was such a blend of nuances and styles not least of all because of Eno's influence. Everything about the early Roxy, from the covers to their clothes, the music to the lyrics, meant that it shouldn’t have worked, but it did. There’s not a single track on their debut album that I don’t love. From the noisy cafeteria opening of Re-make Re-model through to 2 H.B., The Bob, Sea Breezes and Bitters End, there isn’t a boring moment on the album. For me though, the shiver down my spine track is Ladytron. The song’s distinctive instrumentation, including an oboe solo, liberal use of the mellotron, some heavy guitar breaks, a lot of processing of the other instruments by Brian Eno’s VCS3 and tape echo and a complete break down into chaos at the end of the track still has me hooked.

Perhaps it was that chaos that really attracted me because by the time Eno had left the band and Roxy had moved beyond their third album - Stranded - I’d lost interest and moved on again.


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