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Fans Choice: 20 Favorite Songs of Roxy Music

The Roxy Music songs the fans love!!!

By Rick Henry Christopher Published 2 years ago 16 min read
Top Story - July 2022

Fan's Choice: 20 Favorite Songs of Roxy Music

I caught on to Roxy Music a little late in the game. It was in the summer of 1979. I was at my local Licorice Pizza music store browsing through the records and I came across Roxy Music's Manifesto. The album cover itself was enough to sell me, so I bought it on faith without sampling the tracks. When I got home I immediately tore that shrink wrap off and played the album. Home run!!! The album was a hit with me. I loved it upon the first listen. The album became one of my favorites of the summer of '79 along with Supertramp's Breakfast in America and Blondie's Parallel Lines. Within the next six months I bought the entire catalog of Roxy Music albums. I was a bonafide fan.

There's a certain mystique that follows Roxy Music!!!

Roxy Music had three phases in their life as a band. The first was their Eno era which was their most eclectic and creative. This phase lasted from 1972 to 1973 and includes the albums; Roxy Music and For Your Pleasure. The second phase was their post-Eno period in which the sound was highly creative featuring diverse styles of music including alternative type ballads such as "A Song For Europe" and "Mother of Pearl." This phase spanned 1973 to 1975 and includes the albums Stranded, Country Life, and Siren. Finally the third phase was the new wave/new romantic era from 1979 to 1982 and includes the albums; Manifesto, Flesh and Blood, and Avalon.

Although Roxy Music released only eight studio albums, their lasting legacy has continued to expand.

Why Bryan Ferry is rarely listed as one of the world's greatest vocal stylists is a mystery to me!!! He is very underrated!!!

This list is 100% the choice of the fans. I polled more than 300 diehard Roxy Music fans and the results are as follows in this article.

But before we get to the Fans 20 Favorite Songs let's take a look at some of the other metrics from the poll.

Let's start with my favorite Roxy Music songs - which were entered for part of this poll: "Love Is The Drug," "Same Old Scene," "2 HB," "In Every Dream Home A Heartache," "Ladytron."

There were five Roxy Music songs, from the eight main studio albums, which did not receive a vote from the fans : The Bob (Medley) / Three and Nine / If It Takes All Night / Nightingale / My Little Girl

During the late 1970s several rock and pop groups did extended dance remixes of their songs. The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, KISS, Barbra Streisand, and Cher all released successful dance remixes. Roxy Music also gave it a try with their singles "Dance Away" and "Angel Eyes." Two Roxy Music fans listed the extended 12" dance mix of "Angel Eyes" as one of their favorite Roxy Music songs. As a side note another fan listed the 7" single remix of "Angel Eyes" among his favorites. The "Dance Away" remixes were not mentioned by any of the fans.

Two live tracks received votes from fans. The most popular is "If There Is Something" from the live album Viva Roxy Music. "Like A Hurricane" from the live EP, The High Road, also received a few votes.

Three instrumentals each received one vote: "Hula Kula" (the flip side of "Street Life"), "India," and "Tara."

Two 7" single (non-LP) B-sides each received one vote: "Hula Kula" (the flip side of "Street Life") and "Always Unknowing"(the flip side of "Avalon").

The most popular non-LP song is "Pyjamarama" which finished at #23. This song was recorded for their second album "For Your Pleasure" but ultimately was not included on the album.

Three tie-breakers were conducted for six songs. Approximately 75 fans voted in the tie-breaker. The following are the results: "Virginia Plain" vs "More Than This" the winner was "Virginia Plain" with 61.5% of the vote. "In Every Dream Home A Heartache" vs "Out of the Blue" the narrow win went to "Out of the Blue" with 51% of the vote. At one point it looked as if "Dream Home" was going to win but "Out of the Blue" clinched it at the end. "If There Is Something" vs "Both Ends Burning" surprisingly "Both Ends Burning" won with 54% of the vote.

Bryan Ferry Solo

Although this was a Roxy Music fan choice, several of Bryan Ferry's solo songs received votes. The following received the most votes: 5. "Kiss and Tell" / 4. "Tokyo Joe" / 3. "Let's Stick Together" / 2. "Don't Stop The Dance" / 1. "Slave To Love"

I wish to present you with the Bubbling Under list.

30. Over You (1980) / 29. Jealous Guy (1981) / 28. Sentimental Fool (1975) / 27. Take A Chance With Me (1982) / 26. Angel Eyes (1979) / 25. All I Want Is You (1974) / 24. Prairie Rose (1974) / 23. Pyjamarama (1973) / 22. The Thrill of it All (1974) / 21. My Only Love (1980)

At last… Here we are The Top 20 Roxy Music Songs as voted on by 300+ die-hard Roxy Music fans!!!

20. 2HB (1972)

Parent Album: Roxy Music / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: N/A

Notes: This song was dedicated to Humphrey Bogart. 2HB = To Humphrey Bogart. The song includes the line "Here's looking at you, kid" made famous by Bogart in the 1942 film Casablanca. Andy Mackay's sax solo is based on the melody of "As Time Goes By," a song featured prominently in Casablanca.

19. Beauty Queen (1973)

Parent Album: For Your Pleasure / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: N/A

Notes: One of Roxy Music's most beautiful songs. Bryan Ferry makes good use of his natural vibrato adding tone and emotion to the song. With lyrics such as: "Your swimming-pool eyes / In sea breezes they flutter / The coconut tears" the song is one of Bryan Ferry's most creative compositions of his entire career.

18. Oh Yeah (1980)

Parent Album: Flesh and Blood / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: UK #5, US #102

Notes: "Oh Yeah" was the second of four single releases from the album Flesh and Blood. Bryan Ferry has said this song "is wistful and nostalgic, rather like a country record." The song was also known as "On The Radio" or "Oh Yeah (On The Radio).

17. Same Old Scene (1980)

Parent Album: Flesh and Blood / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: UK #12, Netherlands #29, Australia #35

Notes: "Same Old Scene" received an extra boost when it was used in the 1980 teen/punk rock film Times Square.

16. Remake/Remodel (1972)

Parent Album: Roxy Music / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: N/A

Notes: The opening track on Roxy Music's debut album titled Roxy Music. The song begins with the background sound of a cocktail party. The party scene was created by using sound effects tapes and the band added their own voices to give it an authentic personal touch. Throughout the song Brian Eno and Andy MacKay sing CPL 593H which is the license plate on the car of a lady Bryan Ferry was attracted to.

15. Street Life (1973)

Parent Album: Stranded / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: UK #9, Germany #40

Notes: Bryan Ferry wanted to write a vibrant upbeat song which he hoped would display a sense of joy and fun. Producer Chris Thomas provided the bass parts when regular bassist John Gustafson was unable to come up with a satisfactory bass line. Ray Manzanera commented that Thomas's bass line transformed the song. Bryan Ferry's vocal on this one is both punk and chilling.

14. Dance Away (1979)

Parent Album: Manifesto / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: UK #2, US #44, Ireland #1, Netherlands #8, New Zealand #10, Sweden #20, Germany #30

Notes: "Dance Away" is one of Roxy Music's biggest hits in the UK as well as worldwide. The song signifies a change in sound going from art-rock/glam rock to new wave/new romantic. Again Bryan Ferry gives a stellar vocal performance - haunting, eerie, and oh so captivating!!!

13. Love Is The Drug (1975)

Parent Album: Siren / Written by: Bryan Ferry and Andy Mackay / Chart Positions: UK #2, US #30, Canada #3, Netherlands #9, Belgium #15, Australia #18, New Zealand #24, Germany #39

Notes: I honestly thought this song would chart higher than #13 on this poll. I was convinced it would end up in the top three seeing this is the song that catapulted Roxy Music to worldwide fame. This upbeat dance friendly song gives the story of a man out on the town looking for some action. "Late that night I parked my car. Staked my place in the singles bar. Face to face, toe to toe, heart to heart as we hit the floor." "Love is the Drug" has been acknowledged as an early influence on new wave music. Grace Jones covered the song in 1980 receiving a good amount of airplay in dance clubs around the world.

12. Ladytron (1972)

Parent Album: Roxy Music / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: N/A

Notes: In 2006, the British newspaper, The Times described "Ladytron" as one of Roxy Music's best loved songs. The fans that voted in this poll confirmed that status by placing this song at #12. Bryan Ferry asked Brian Eno to produce an opening that would give the feeling of the 1969 moon landing. Through carefully honed tape effects and synthesized sound processing on his VCS3 synthesizer Eno successfully created a dark and eerie lunar experience. One take on this song is that the Ladytron is a female robot with which Bryan Ferry was enamored and took to seducing her.

11. A Song For Europe (1973)

Parent Album: Stranded / Written by: Bryan Ferry and Andy Mackay / Chart Positions: N/A

Notes: Bryan Ferry wrote this as a 'final closure' in coming to terms with European glamor model Amanda Lear 'breaking up' with him. She was a fashion model at the peak of her career in 1973. She was the cover model for Roxy Music's second album For Your Pleasure. Toward the later part of the 1970s Lear became a multi-million selling disco queen and reached the Top Ten throughout Europe with several of her songs.

10. Do The Strand (1973)

Parent Album: For Your Pleasure / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: Germany #41, Netherlands #23

Notes: Bryan Ferry commented: "I had long been a fan of Cole Porter and other songwriters from his era. Do The Strand was an attempt to emulate that style of writing, with a lot of cultural references that I found interesting." This was Ferry's answer to Fats Domino's "The Twist." The song was released as a single in 1978 to promote their Greatest Hits album. Despite the fact that the song did not chart in the UK or US the song is a fan favorite and has been performed at every Roxy Music concert since 1973.

9. More Than This (1982)

Parent Album: Avalon / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: US #103, UK #6, Norway #2, Luxembourg #3, Australia, Ireland and Switzerland #6, New Zealand #12, Belgium #14, Sweden #17, Netherlands and Germany #24

Notes: "More Than This" is one of Roxy Music's best known songs throughout the world and has been covered by many musicians. Notable covers are by Norah Jones, Robyn Hitchcock, and 10,000 Maniacs.

8. Virginia Plain (1972)

Parent Album: Roxy Music / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: UK #4, New Zealand #6, Austria #16, Netherlands #18, Germany #20, Belgium #25, Australia #99

Notes: "Virginia Plain" is a pivotal song in Roxy Music's catalog. Having been their debut single the song was especially strong reaching #4 in the UK. The song was not included on the band's original UK release of their debut album, Roxy Music, as it had not been recorded when the album was released. After the success of the album in the UK, it was included on later re-issues. The song is based on a painting of the same name which Ferry did in 1964, and which is itself a three-way pun. The name comes from a brand of American cigarettes - and the painting consists of a large cigarette pack, with the motif of a girl, placed at the end of a plain; so the cigarettes are Virginia Plain, the girl is Virginia Plain, and the plain is Virginia Plain.

7. Editions of You (1973)

Parent Album: For Your Pleasure / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: N/A

Notes: One of the highlights of Roxy Music was their live performances and television performances. Every move they made was well choreographed to fit the mood and changes of their songs as well as giving the band the look of a cohesive unit working together. They had the sound and the look perfected. I have always considered "Editions of You" to be a missed opportunity for a single release. It would have fit well in line with "Virginia Plain," "Pyjamarama," and "Do The Strand." The song starts out with a hot keyboard part by Bryan Ferry and features one of the best saxophone solos in all of rock music done by Andy Mackay. Brian Eno stands out with a wild synthesizer treatment. Phil Manzanera heats things up with one of his classic guitar solos.

6. If There Is Something (1972)

Parent Album: Roxy Music / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: N/A

Notes: This song begins with a countrified slide guitar and a twangy lead vocal by Bryan Ferry. What? Was Roxy Music going country? The first minute and forty seconds almost sound that way complete with Ferry's saloon style keyboards. But then Brian Eno enters the scene with his moog and mellotron wizardry and completely transforms the song into an alt-rock delicacy which rivals the best of electronic music at the time and off all-time. David Bowie's Tin Machine did a more than able cover of the song in 1991.

5. Both Ends Burning (1975)

Parent Album: Siren / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: UK #25

Notes: "Both Ends Burning" boasts a smooth soulful lead vocal by Bryan Ferry with a unique timing, and a European enunciation/pronunciation of his words which all combined make this one of his best vocal performances. Bryan Ferry is such an underrated singer and he should really be recognized more often for his unique and very recognizable voice. "Both Ends Burning" was the single that followed the classic "Love is the Drug." Bryan Ferry mentioned, "We were on a punishing world tour in 1975 and there were a lot of late nights to get the Siren album finished on time. I guess this was the inspiration behind this song."

4. In Every Dream Home A Heartache (1973)

Parent Album: For Your Pleasure / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: N/A

Notes: Bryan Ferry's lyrics have always been on the side of intellectual and creative visual imagery. With "In Every Dream Home A Heartache," Ferry exceeded all expectations and laid out a series of images to create one of his very best works. The song starts out with philosophical ponderings about Heaven and standards of living. Ferry is a man of comfort and luxury in a ranch home with a new pool. But… is this perfection? He has a companion. Yet she is a mail order inflatable doll. It seems kind of lonely… a heartache that his companion is made of vinyl and not silky smooth flesh. He has his dream home but not his dream girl. The song reaches its pinnacle when Ferry recites the line, "but you blew my mind." The song explodes into a colorful firework display of musical genius with the entire band contributing their parts - drums, bass, guitar, synthesizer and keyboards. This extended instrumental fadeout alone is worthy of classic status. But you put it all together and we have a standout song that was ahead of its time and to this day is still a cutting edge number.

3. Out of the Blue (1974)

Parent Album: Country Life / Written by: Bryan Ferry and Phil Manzanera / Chart Positions: N/A

Notes: almost every review I read about this song mentions Eddie Jobson's violin. Jobson's violin work on "Out of the Blue" could have easily been at home on experimental albums such as Laurie Anderson's Big Science. Jobson takes the electric violin into a stratosphere beyond the expected and gives the violin its home in rock music. Because of his proficiency as a synthesist Jobson was brought into Roxy Music at the age of 18 to replace Brian Eno. Jobson had a major role in re-sculpting and professionalizing Roxy Music's sound. The flanged production is one of which Phil Manzanera claims is something producer Chris Thomas learned while working with the Beatles. Parts of the flanged effects sound similar to effects used in The Beatles' White Album.

2. Avalon (1982)

Parent Album: Avalon / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: UK #13, Netherlands #3, Belgium #5, Ireland #9, Sweden #19, Australia #22, New Zealand #37, Germany #45

Notes: "Avalon" was a sizable hit throughout Europe and Australia and New Zealand but failed to chart in the US. The album Avalon however was certified Platinum in the US and is Roxy Music's best selling album throughout the world. Flesh and Blood was their second best selling globally. Bryan Ferry commented in an interview with L.A. Weekly, "Avalon is the Isle of Enchantment," this became the inspiration for the romantic dreamy music for Avalon, both the album and single.

1.Mother of Pearl (1973)

Parent Album: Stranded / Written by: Bryan Ferry / Chart Positions: N/A

Notes: "Mother of Pearl" is Bryan Ferry's most wordy lyric. Through the nearly seven minute long song Ferry does not repeat any line except for "Mother of Pearl I wouldn't trade you for another girl" which he repeats seven times through the last minute of the song. The song is basically two songs in one. The first minute and twenty seconds is a harder edged rock song with a post-punk sort of vocal from Bryan Ferry not unlike something you might hear from Howard Devoto with his band Magazine. The song then shifts to a pristine piano led ballad featuring the familiar vibrato filled lead vocal of Bryan Ferry. "Mother of Pearl" is a Roxy music gemfrom Magazine to David Bowie to Nine Inch Nails to a whole host of musicians over the past fifty years. "Mother of Pearl'' topped this list, no other song even came close to the love the fans have for this song. Right from the very beginning of this poll to the end it was evident that "Mother of Pearl" was the fan favorite.

Thank you friends for reading this list of fan favorites of Roxy Music. I plan on doing more Fan Favorites lists including David Bowie, Madonna, Pink Floyd, and Donna Summer.

In the meantime check out my list: 25 Greatest Songs of Pink Floyd

70s music

About the Creator

Rick Henry Christopher

Writing is a distraction to fulfill my need for intellectual stimulus, emotional release, and soothing the bruises of the day.

The shattered pieces of life will not discourage me.

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Comments (4)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran2 years ago

    Sadly, I was born wayyyy later and I'm not familiar with their work. But I had fun going through this list and listening to their songs!

  • Babs Iverson2 years ago


  • Irene Economou2 years ago

    Another great article, Rick! Your reviews are always insightful, especially for me, as I am unfamiliar with many of the songs and I appreciate the hearing experience.

  • Excellent post , a lot I agree with and a lot I don't but you nailed it with "Mother Of Pearl" , absolutely stunning

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