For Your Pleasure

A song-by-song analysis of the lyrics and music of Roxy Music and the solo work of Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno, Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera in the 1970s


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Bitters End

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The hybrid of styles and musical backgrounds of the band members created a blend of music that was like nothing that had gone before in music. This made a huge impact on the music scene in 1972 and is seen as one of the most exciting and innovative debut albums ever.
– John O’Brien, archivist/author (vivaroxymusic)

Roxy Music was recorded at Command Studios, a refurbished studio formerly owned by the BBC (Piccadilly 1) in central London. Command lasted for only a few years and was beset by management rows and technical troubles (the train noise from the Piccadilly tube would spill into recordings). Nevertheless even though the studio didn’t last long, in its short span it was responsible for capturing some killer sessions: Brian Eno’s  No Pussyfooting; King Crimson’s Lark’s Tongue in Aspic; and Slade Alive! (don’t laugh, Jimi Hendrix manager Chas Chandler set up a Slade fan club concert in Command’s large studio that by all accounts was riotous.  The subsequent album launched Slade’s commercial career – three singles went straight in at No 1, one of them selling half-a-million copies in its first week). Command Studios also gave us, of course, the debut Roxy Music album.

Roxy Music was recorded and mixed in less than a month for a modest sum (£5,000). Peter Sinfield’s production of the album has been criticized over the years, and while there is no doubt that the thin sound and high-pitch tremolo of Bryan Ferry’s vocals do take some getting used to, it is the context and circumstance that serves to define the sound of the first album. The producer and the studio were not a fault – Sinfield did record Virginia Plain a few months later at Command Studios, and no way can anyone say that classic single does not jump out of the speakers! The issue, if any, is the fact that the mandate for the first Roxy Music album was to be different, to try different styles and moods, to upset or stretch expectations about what pop could do. And this meant sounding different, and getting under the skin with something we hadn’t heard before.screen-shot-2016-05-08-at-7-39-02-pm
The first record was really exciting to make, because it had so many different flavours.
– Bryan Ferry, interview, Bracewell

Bitters End is the last cut on a musically diverse album. The lyrics are largely throwaway, though of course Pale fountains fizzing forth pink gin is a direct sign-post to the pink colour-assortment of the (soon-to-be) famous album cover. The image of decadent luxury, and old Brit cultural snobbery is embedded in the song, rife with doo-wop singers, a quivering Noel Coward vocal delivery, and some nifty sax. It’s a tuneful song, highly listenable with a subject matter and lightness close to The Beatles ‘Savoy Truffle (Creme tangerine and montelimar/A ginger sling with a pineapple heart). The party laughter and clinking of drink glasses that opens the album has its closer here, and with a wink and a nod Ferry summarizes the completion of the album – a celebration for the band – and its delivery, perhaps, to the unsuspecting record company:

Give now the host his claret cup
(the host of this party, Island Records owner Chris Blackwell)

And watch madeira’s farewell drink
(British cocktail: In a 2-oz. sherry glass, stir madeira with bitters and Campari. Serve)

Note his reaction acid sharp
(host’s unfavourable reaction to the album’s diverse contents)

Should make the cognoscenti think
(the intelligensia or ‘smart’ people to whom the record’s stylistic and lyrical pastiches and irony was aimed).

The record did appeal to the cognoscenti, and many more listeners besides: an immediate critical and commercial hit (16 weeks in the UK charts, with a high of #10). Roxy Music launched the careers of the band and its members, and influenced countless others, divided critics created who debated whether Roxy were a “real” band or just a bunch of art students taking the piss. The first single Virginia Plain would cement the band’s success and demonstrate that the group were more than just a gimmick. The following album, For Your Pleasure would deliver the first masterpiece.

Much happiness and health to you and yours – see you again in 2017!

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Recorded: Command Studios, London, March 1972
Pics: Roxy Music album art, John O’Brien (http://www.vivaroxymusic.com/albums_1.php); Roxy Music publicity shot (www.bryanferry.com/roxy-music-history-tab/#history); Command studios (www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/346235-1972-command-studios-piccadilly-england-what-gear.html); David Enthoven (www.theguardian.com/music/2016/aug/12/david-enthoven-obituary)

In Memory

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David Enthoven (1944 – 2016), former co-manager, Roxy Music

Roxy Music were not to everybody’s taste…they were taking good, straight forward songs and treating them, and doing something quite madly avant-garde with them…It was “fun” music…so fresh and new.

David, interview, Bracewell

Graham Simpson (1943-2012), Roxy Music co-founder and bass player

Roxy Music were not so much a hybrid of musicians with different influences but were independent musicians with their own individual voice that work well together

Graham, interview, bryanferry.com

Graham Simpson was a founding member of Roxy Music with Bryan Ferry, and was an excellent bass player and contributed much to the first Roxy album (listen particularly to the amazing bass work in Sea Breezes). In 1972, Graham lost his mother to cancer and he was depressed. The life-style and pressure of being a member of an up-and-coming band did not alleviate his increasing mental health problems, and unfortunately, Graham had to leave the band in April 1972, after the first album and his wonderful contributions were recorded.

The Bryan Ferry website has an excellent page dedicated to Graham. (http://www.bryanferry.com/graham-simpson-1943-2012).  Please visit as often as you can, and be sure to check out the excellent short film called Nothing But The Magnificent which explored the disappearance, re-emergence and ultimate path to redemption of Graham Simpson.

 


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Sea Breezes – Part 2

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so help me, so many questions? & are the answers naked to the eye – or ear? or are they undercover?
Simon Puxley, Roxy Music inner sleeve notes (72)

The first Roxy album asks questions, and offers answers grudgingly, undercover often, and for the ear mostly. The 2nd half of Sea Breezes makes an abrupt break with the tone and mood of the music that came before it. What is cool and interesting is that the objectivity of the piece shifts to a mind mediating on what that experience is. Breaking down the track we can read it as follows:

Waves (0.1-0.37)
Eno sets the scene with a mellotron seascape (It’s the first thing anyone does when they get a synthesizer, makes the sound of waves with it – BE). For him, the instrument is a pun, a fake form of emotional rendering. This is our first entry into the song.

Been Thinking (0.38-2.07)
We’ve been running round in our present state
Hoping help would come from above
But even angels there
Made the same mistakes in love
In love, in love, in love

The young Romantic poet takes to the beaches to console himself, offering up his suffering (his sensitivity) as a work of art in its own right. The North East England coast has never been so rain swept beautiful and, lest we forget, alone. This loss and loneliness is augmented by a stunning oboe accompaniment by Andy Mackay that later bleeds cross-purpose into Phil Manzanera’s guitar. Musically, the first verses are in the key of B minor, with shifts to A, G, and Em throughout. The harmonic characteristic of Bm is often expressed as one of patience, of calm awaiting ones’s fate and of submission to divine dispensation. There can be hardly a more accurate summary of the narrator’s stance in the first verses: terribly affected, awaiting divine judgement, the distant speaker eventually drifting away, drowned in love in love in love. 

Echoes (2.05 – 3.32)
A tiny chime bell at 2.05 signals the start of an understated instrumental section, the kind of unfolding that, like the Pink Floyd at their best (Meddle, 1971) allows the music to grow from minimal information, taking the time to explore little sonic clusters and ideas. Andy Mackay plays the verse melody with a gentle line as Bryan Ferry’s electric piano carefully plucks the verse notes. Phil Manzanera’s guitar lines provide a mournful counterpoint, a sadness washed up on the tide of Eno’s mellotron seascape. This is a Roxy moment of extreme beauty and sublime interaction between the musicians that, for many fans, has never been bettered. The instrumental dissolves at 2.49, and then re-starts, mocking the anticipation of an ending. This time Mackay contributes more complex and uplifting lines. Manzanera says goodbye on a sustained root note, and then there is an abrupt change – like a windy slap in the face.

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Sea Breezes (3.33-6.12)
With as little as a few piano notes to warn us, we are thrown into a very discordant, abrupt rhythm. In come two key musicians that have been waiting on the sidelines: drummer Paul Thompson and bassist Graham Simpson. Paul’s drumming is avant garde jazz splutter, and Graham’s hesitant halting bass is as discordant as Bryan Ferry’s choke-on-an-apple vocal delivery. What happened to the lush musical landscape? Now that we are lonely/Life seems to get hard. Indeed, the life message here is delivered like a bracing wind and, just as a sea breeze brings in cold air from the ocean, the impact on the music is unequivocal, like a Samuel Beckett play where language, pace, rhythm, and delivery turn into something colder and self-analyzing:

Thought-train set in motion
Wheels in and around
Express our emotion
Tracks up then it cracks down, down, down, down, down

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The internalization of thought is explicitly summoned here, tongue in cheek perhaps (motion is the key to this stanza: train/wheels/express/tracks) yet serious about what the experience of thought or thinking feels like. If the process of thought is captured as the movement of (fake) seashore waves, then a burst of cold insight comes like a punch to the gut: the narrator recognizes that to express our emotion with sensitivity and feeling is poetically admirable (Tracks up) but the down side is vulnerability and, in this case, depression or melancholia (Then it cracks down, down, down, down, down). The whole temper of the track shifts, and a gnarly solo from Phil confirms the bad tempered nature of this cold wind. We have moved, musically, from the divine calm waiting in the key of B minor to the sudden shift coming ashore in the form of D flat major. As musicologist Christian Schubart points out: [Db is] a leering key, degenerating into grief and rapture. It cannot laugh, but it can smile; it cannot howl, but it can at least grimace its crying. Consequently only unusual characters and feelings can be brought out in this key.

Help from Above (6.13-7.05)
This view offers up our narrator’s fate: from a patient, calm poet awaiting divine judgement (along with the angels, presumably), to a leering breakdown of a man degenerating into grief and rapture, marveling at his cleverness and way with language, exposed and raw, the endless torment of the suffering creative artist. Bryan Ferry and the band have fun with this one and the outcome is as hollow as Eno’s counterfeit mellotron waves: the singer re-states the original verses and theme (Hoping help would come from above), but no knowledge has been gained. This sea breeze has passed.

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Recorded: Command Studios, London, March 1972
Pics: Sea Breeze pinball,
homemade; Roxy Music (72)http://www.bryanferry.com/roxy-music-history-tab/#history; First Edition Waiting for Godot, Samuel Becket; all aboard for Whitley Bay, British Railways.

Titbits

banshees

Susan Janet Ballion (ne. Siouxsie Sioux) was such a fan of Roxy Music that she named her band Siouxsie and the Banshees after Bryan Ferry’s formative pre-Roxy group the Banshees. Siouxsie has always worn her influences on her sleeve and in 1987 recorded an album of covers that included the Roxy Music track Sea Breezes. Though the Looking Glass tackles an excellent set of artists (John Cale, Iggy Pop, Kraftwerk, the Beatles) with exciting and mixed results in equal measure (though a UK top 3 hit was enjoyed with “Dear Prudence”). Looking Glass came at the tail end of a remarkable set of post-punk albums (Juju in particular still sounding fresh and accomplished), and Siouxsie herself can be seen on the Roxy Music documentary More Than This espousing her hatred of the suburbs and her love of the glamour of Roxy. Yeah!

Her Dark Materials: great interview with Siouxsie chatting with Roxy Music biographer Michael Bracewell.

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Meddle, Pink Floyd (1971). While worlds apart, both Roxy Music and Pink Floyd were similar in that they never threw away a single idea, squeezing a piece of music until it spilled its truths and thrills. The instrumental at the heart of Sea Breezes has its antecedents in King Crimson and pre-Dark Side Floyd. Noticeably, Phil Manzanera and David Gilmour share common styles (clean tone and precise, bluesy lines). Manzanera has of course played a significant role in the latter day Floyd canon – co-producing several David Gilmour solo albums, and having significant input into the last (dreadful) Floyd album Endless River. Friends since pre-Roxy days, the pair have contributed some of the most tasteful guitar playing in rock. Echoes is essential, and never mind the stuff about the albatross.


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Sea Breezes – Part 1

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Sea Breezes
Sea Breezes (John Peel Session)

Coming quickly after the Rock n’ Roll genre piece Would You Believe? Roxy Music deliver one of the album’s stand-out tracks, Sea Breezes. Recorded mid-way through the 2nd and final week of recording at Command Studios, the track delivers as a real group effort, highlighting not only Bryan Ferry’s exquisite melody and lyrics, but also the genuine musical sophistication and interplay of Brian Eno, Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera as they shine in solo instrumentation passages, adding much-needed emotional texture to this unique and satisfying song.

I’ve been thinking now for a long time
How to go my own separate way
It’s a shame to think about yesterday
It’s a shame
A shame, a shame, a shame

We’ve been running round in our present state
Hoping help would come from above
But even angels there
Made the same mistakes in love
In love, in love, in love

Thematically, ‘Sea Breezes’ finds us on familiar ground as the narrator ponders the difficulties of love. The tone is lofty and elevated, the words used to express love are not spoken in a manner that would suggest maturity or emotional availability: for this chap, the end of love’s promise is merely a shame. In Roxy Music, love is always spelled with a capital L and is never mocked or undercut, unless purposely so (Would You Believe?). In this game the stakes are high, as love takes on a religious or artistic idealism which forms viewpoints, morals, and spiritual destinies. But what happens when love is not seen as a force of nature, a deep and lasting kinship with another person, but rather as a solipsistic way to marvel at your facility for cleverness and moral detachment? In lighter moments you might say, fine, I’ll take it, but in all likelihood that path is lonely and unsatisfying:

Now that we are lonely
Life seems to get hard
Alone what a word lonely
Alone it makes me cry

The focus on alone is so acute that the mere utterance of the word “lonely” wracks the narrator: Alone what a word lonely/Alone it makes me cry. What makes the narrator cry is not the prospect of lost love or companionship, but word choice. We’ve been here before on the album – the love object in Re-Make/Re-Model is a (witty) recollection of the license plate CPL593H, not the woman herself Throughout the ages it has been the job of the poet to discuss love, loss and loneliness with words that convey significant meaning, but that effort has meant different things over time, from Classicist ideals, to Romantic, Modernist, and Post-Modernist (and many more besides). In ‘Sea Breezes’ Bryan Ferry assumes the cloak of narratorial disguise enjoyed by the Romantic poets, in this case most associated with Lord Byron (George ‘Goodtime’ Gordon), a man who, in the words of one biographer, created an immensely popular Romantic hero — defiant, melancholy, haunted by secret guilt — for which, to many, he seemed the model. This is the narrator hero of ‘Sea Breezes’- defiant, melancholy, and guilty enough to blame everyone but himself for his predicament. This is Love as solipsistic self-analysis, and Ferry is fully aware of this narrative angle and, thankfully, plays it to the hilt.

Mad, bad and dangerous to know
Lady Caroline Lamb on Romantic poet Lord Byron

We’d often go to the seaside when I was a child…Whitley Bay or Marsden.
Bryan Ferry, before a 2016 festival gig in his hometown

Born in Washington, County Durham, England, Bryan Ferry knew the Tynemouth coastline and its windswept landscapes well. Schooled at Washington Grammar school and Newcastle University, the young man was rarely less than 25 minutes away from coastal shores and beaches. The landscape of his youth was the North England coast and weather-beaten seascapes, 7th Century monasteries, and fortified castles.

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This is Romantic territory, in landscape if not in social graces. Clearly the sea-swept ocean imagery was fertile ground for Ferry’s imagination (see the beached damsels of Stranded; the blue-stained mermaids of Siren). In lyric and in tone, ‘Sea Breezes’ revels in the Romance poet’s suffering as the heightened emotion crashes against the cold sandy Tynemouth surf. Alone! he cries – what a word lonely/ Alone it makes me cry/I’ll cry, I’ll cry, I’ll cry. The Smiths later adopted this pose too, as Morrissey held his weary hand to brow and begged to Please please please let me get what I want…/this time. Ferry is the early master of the idiom of self-obsessed or narcissistic narrator, and the real love-object of the first Roxy Music album is the self-love of the narrator as he marvels at his ability to, at any given time, associate himself with the love trials of the Epic Hero Odysseus (Ladytron);  or align himself with the Romantic poets Byron and Shelley by melancholic over-emoting (If There is Something); and even takes sides with a dangerous sociopath, seeing love first as possession and ownership (Chance Meeting).

Hardly about love at all, and ‘Sea Breezes’ is no different: if you look closely you notice that for a song that calls itself ‘Sea Breezes’ there is actually no water or sea imagery used in the lyric and certainly nothing even loosely resembling a beach, wind, salt, storm – not a word. Then there is the amazingly abrupt and odd-metered musical interruption half-way through the song. Out of nowhere the meter changes, and Ferry sounds like he has been kicked in the knees and told to keep singing  – gone is the gentle appeal to the angels, Romantic or otherwise. Why the change? Because the poet cannot help but present his greatest love: his genius. In keeping with first album’s gleeful subversion of expectation, the lyric and singer becomes increasingly self-absorbed,to the point where what we are seeing and hearing is the sound of meditation and composition, of a brain working, of the poem being written: a thought-train set in motion – words in fog being prepared for paper, hard and alone, before the crack down.

Sea Breezes – Part 2, next week.

Pics
The Rex Hotel where BF visited sea swept Whitley Bay with his parents; Lord Byron has his eye on a charming lady on beach, grabbed here; when you’re obsessed with music you Google Map your hero and the route he would have taken to the seaside as a boy  (Nabokov: be obsessed with scientific yet artistic appreciation of detail); before selfies you had to stare into the abyss for days to know your true self,  Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1818.

Titbits

The Smiths, bringing literary irony and anti-glamour to the 80s.

I can only think of one truly great British album: Roxy Music’s For Your Pleasure.
Morrissey

From left, clockwise:
Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now: Viv Nicholson, found fame in 1961 when she won £152,319 (roughly £3m/$6M today). She famously said she was going to “spend spend spend!” And she did, squandered it all and battled with alcoholism and 4 husbands. On the bright side, she is still with us today, 79 years old. Great Beehive Viv!

This Charming Man: Swashbuckling actor Jean-Alfred Villain-Marais, in a still from Jean Cocteau’s film Orpheus (lovers in real life, Jean Marais also starred in the Cocteau masterpiece Beauty and the Beast). Easily a contender for a never-produced picture cover of ‘Sea Breezes’.

The Queen Is Dead: Of course he isn’t – Morrissey lives on as petulant and litigious as ever. Here is another French actor, Alain Delon, taken from the 1964 noir film The Unvanquished on the cover of The Smiths masterpiece album.

It is true, Morrissey told The Observer that he could “only think of one truly great British album” and that was For Your Pleasure. He later took it back because he was pissed off at one of Bryan Ferry’s sons support fox-hunting, but nevertheless the reference does confirm Morrissey as serious contender as England’s hand-me-down rock poet laureate: ‘Cemetry Gates‘ is a re-take of Ferry’s ‘Sea Breezes’, portraying as it does the artist as young man, the self-absorbed aesthete impressed by his talent and lecturing on his art (If you must write poems/the words you use should be your own/There’s always someone, somewhere/With a big nose, who knows) and greeting the horrors of a rare sunny day in Manchester:  A dreaded sunny day/So I meet you at the cemetery gates/Keats and Yeats are on your side/While Wilde is on mine. There are no apologies for high-brow literary references or taking sides in this scenario: Keats the Romantic & Yeats the Modernist take on Morrissey & Oscar Wilde, the Comic Realists. May the best man(ic) poet win!

The record covers were stunning; this was anti-glamour. As much as Roxy Music had aimed glamour towards the seedy, The Smiths sold the forgotten sex objects of British tabloid and European film as presented them as projections of Morrissey’s fantasies. In the UK you spend a lot of time In Your Room with your posters, wet dreams and soundtracks. (Years before fame, Steven Morrissey stayed in His Room writing letters to the New Musical Express – and they got published). In the 70s Bryan Ferry projected male dissonance and sexuality with Humphrey Bogart. In the 80s Morrissey projected the same with gay French stars and kitchen sink drama queens. As in Roxy as is in The Smiths – who you watch, read and listen to is who you are.


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Would You Believe?

Little Richard

When Roxy Music recorded their first album during 14th -29th March 1972, London and much of the world’s radio-listening public was in the grip of a Rock n’ Roll revival. The Beatles and pop/rock had kicked be-bop and jazz off the world’s charts during the mid-sixties, and as beards grew longer and more unruly there was a contrarian interest in dressing up and looking smart (a trend that Roxy/Bowie/Glam capitalized on). Nowhere was the signifier of fashion more clearly felt than in the drapes n’ duds of what was to become known as the Teddy Boy style, a play on the “Edwardian” style enjoyed years before by the wealthy young men of the Brit establishment.  The younger generations of the 50s adopted the Edwardian long jackets, but added the striking tapered trousers and fancy waist coats. By the early 70s a Rock n’ Roll revival was in full swing and the Teds kept upping the ante by wearing more outlandish versions of the old idea, culminating perhaps with the addition of the most extreme shoes anyone could ever be expected to wear outside of a fancy dress ball.

teddy-boy-shoes

A month or so after Roxy released their first album in June 1972, The London Rock and Roll Show was held at Wembley Stadium on August 5. Bo DiddleyJerry Lee LewisLittle RichardBill Haley and His CometsChuck Berry, and others were flown in to perform an exelerating show in front of the Greasers, Teds and future punks of Londo5108g7n7k0ln. (Malcolm McLaren is shown in the concert film selling t-shirts and ‘Let it Rock’ gear five years before his own fifteen minutes of fame). Excellent performances are given, particularly by Jerry Lee and Chuck Berry, with Jerry hammering his piano keys with drop kicks and heel jabs. Watching the film gives the viewer a keen sense of London’s grit and style in the early 70’s, and reminds us of the impact Glam must have had on the collective psyche: stealing the best moves from its Rock n’ Roll masters, Glam (just rock n’ roll with lipstick! said John Lennon) was colourful, exciting, danceable and great back-drop for drinking, fighting and sex. (One supposes).

For Roxy, recording the rock n’ roll pastiche Would You Believe? and including it on the first album was just another one of their “12 different possibilities” of musical adventure. Unfortunately, doo-wop as a form is slight and repetitive and can be bit tedious after a few listens, and this track is no exception. Bryan Ferry himself did not find the rock n’ roll or vaudville styles the band were offering had much sticking power beyond the flash modernism of the first album: “What we’ll probably do is start making the changes fewer, because some people in the audience can’t really take sudden changes every 30 seconds or so. I quite like confusing people, but there are limits I suppose.”(Sounds,  July 1, 1972).

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Shackled by the form, the lyrics in Would You Believe? were intentionally written tongue-in-cheek, the rhyming scheme the poetic outcome of twelve year old girls in love:

Would you believe in what I do
When the things that I make are all for you?
Oh honey say you do
And in a while I’ll come to you
Showing showing why
What I think will all come true

And so on. Ferry is on the joke, of course, but it is clear why he and his listeners opted for the lyrical and musical possibilities of the more interesting album cuts  (Ladytron/If There is Something/Chance Meeting) to go on their journey further into the seventies. Would You Believe? was scrapped as a live staple, not performed by the band after early 1973.

Pics: Little Richard at Wembley Stadium, The London Rock and Roll Show, August 1972;  a Teddy Boy creeper shoe, courtesy EBay; film poster London and Rock and Roll Show; Andy Mackay, geezer style, cover of Best magazine, issue #65.

Titbits

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Live Peace in Toronto, Plastic Ono Band. A few years before the London Rock and Roll Show, a hastily assembled Plastic Ono band (John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman, Yoko Ono, and Alan White) played at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival in September 1969. 50s standards were played (nervous, drug-fuelled and scrappy), and the subsequent live album sold well, ensuring the street cred of the rock n’ roll revival into the early 70s.

Never Mind the Bollocks: Malcolm McLaren poses outside his shop on the King’s Road early 70s; by chance, London and Rock and Roll Show film still captures Malcolm and Vivienne Westwood selling Let it Rock gear at the Wembley Show August 1972; five years later Mr. J Rotten (John Lydon) proves that good duds never go out of style.

 


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Chance Meeting

tube_mapChance Meeting is one of the more disquieting songs in the Roxy lexicon (pre-dating the Bogus Man by eight months), Bryan Ferry creates a narrator that is at once sinister and seductive. If there is a truism that the Devil gets all the best lines, then there is indeed menace in these words, a portrayal of looming violence set against Haiku-style imagery (red dress mine) that is delivered with conviction by Ferry. The performance marries unemotional detachment with a haunting melody line, creating an incongruity of meaning and intent: is this a song of lost love, or are we witnessing something more sinister – a chance meeting of integrative menace and/or murderous intent?  Whatever the case,  you can almost see the fingers on the victim’s throat as the narrator utters “time spent well is so … rare.”

I never thought I’d see you again
Where have you been until now?
Well how are you?
How have you been?
It’s a long time since we last met

A short song (10 lines), ‘Chance Meeting’ has been seen by many observers as melodic, romantic, a gentle ballad, emotional (or “emotionally inarticulate”, p39 Rigby). For critic Paul Stump the piece is a re-visioning of the 1945 romantic David Lean film Brief Encounter. This was a view that Ferry himself held and was outlined in his working notebooks, but without sounding presumptuous, there is the sneaking suspicion that name-checking Lean’s classic film may have provided an over-simplification and a pat way into the song. Certainly, Brian Eno’s sonic treatments of ‘Chance Meeting’ was as far from classic romantic as can be imagined. And the song is based on a film alright, but Bryan Ferry’s cinematic influence is altogether more complex and sinister.

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Trevor Howard, Celia Johnson//Brief Encounter

Bryan’s Chance Meeting
David Lean’s 1945 classic film Brief Encounter was voted by a leading UK magazine as the most-romantic film ever made (despite the lack of sex or happy ending). The film is  an insightful, moving interrogation of marriage, sexual repression and self-sacrifice. The pedigree behind the production is impeccable, a masterpiece of writer-producer Noël Coward (based on his one-act stage-play Still Life) and a jewel in the filmography of director David Lean, who is no slouch when it comes to canonized classics (Lawrence of Arabia anyone?).  The film has it all: heroism, stoicism, unrequited lust, regret, sacrifice – a must-see melodrama for a 1945 war-time Britain where the guilt of living in the moment for the past six years (who can blame them) had sunk in once the Allies accepted Germany’s surrender. As we have seen here, Bryan Ferry’s key influences of cinematic romance and reverence – 2HB and its smoky nightclub situations – is highlighted in spades in Michael Bracewell’s masterwork on Roxy Music, “Re-Make/Re-Model: Becoming Roxy Music“, and here we are fortunate enough to be presented with Ferry’s working notes on ‘Chance Meeting’:

‘Chance Meeting’ (Quiet delicate simple plaintive)
voice & drama classical lovers chance meeting [inspired by the film Brief Encounter]

While Brief Encounter’s star-crossed lovers do happen to meet at a shadowy British railway station, and the unfolding events do have a classical doomed sensibility, the sensibility is nevertheless neither dark nor creepy, or even a tad bit dangerous: this is in stark contrast to the actual song we hear on the record – with its disassociated vocal and vacant lack of romance or emotion. In this case, the emotion isn’t inarticulate, it just isn’t there at all. By the time we get to Manzanera’s dissonant haunted-house feedback we are under the covers praying for daylight. Clearly, the execution of this “quiet delicate simple” piece is at cross-purposes with the romantic image that has been applied to it over the decades. It might be more useful to suggest that Ferry and Eno have been pulling the wool over our eyes, for there is a film that speaks more directly to the paranoia in the song, a film that was to introduce us to that girl in the red dress, and provide us no less with the actual title for the track,  ‘Chance Meeting’.
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Hardy Krüger, Micheline Presle// Chance Meeting (US)

Chance Meeting is a 1959 British murder mystery film by Joseph Losey, the famous political noir film-maker. Ben Barzman and Millard Lampell were nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay and it shows: the plot is layered and nuanced and pulls few punches.  Jan (Hardy Kruger) is an artist who has recently met a high society woman. (If this isn’t a Bryan Ferry reference, I don’t know what is). When he arrives at her apartment for an afternoon tryst (as one does), he calls out to his lover but gets no answer.  Two cops show up and question him. Jan is an uncomfortable position since he doesn’t want to give away the details of his affair. 1504efe10cd815cc392f5a671aae2bc8The situation worsens as he realizes his lover lies dead under the blankets on a couch: she has been murdered, and the police think it is him. The film unfolds in flashback, and we see the complications of characters who meet but barely know one another. The high-society lover turns out to be a prostitute; the artist, honest, but naive. The working class detective, noble, but ineffective.  The killer, a high-level politician, getting away with murder.  There is a relentlessness to the film that underlines the loneliness of the main characters; their disassociation from love and their desire for sex – chance meetings and encounters and secrets that lead to grim outcomes. It is to this that we should recall the tone and distance of Ferry’s vocal decision and performance; the careful enunciation and lack of emotion in the delivery; the oppressive guitar feedback 38 seconds in, relentless as it rides over top of the melody crashing down with oppressive weight.  This is different social worlds colliding, relentless chance meetings spinning out of control, while the killer remains disassociated, untouchable. In ‘Chance Meeting’ the man happens upon the woman he eventually kills. Sentence fragments are highlighted to emphasize the unnatural pacing of intonation and expression:

I ne/ver thought I’d see you/again
[relationship over] 
Where have you been /
[she: avoiding him]screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-7-48-45-pm

until now?
[he: chance meeting]
Well / how are you?
[she: good, until I bumped into you]
How have you been?/
[he: interrogation]

It’s a long time since we last met/
[he: counting the hours, days]
It seems like yes/ter/day
[she: so fresh in your memory??]
When I /first saw you
[he: obsessing]
In your red dress mine
[red: symbol of sex, lust, blood – the single use of colour imagery in the song.]
How could/ I forget that day?
[he: remembering, in great detail]
I know that time well spent is so rare
(obviously the time wasn’t well spent at all – run lady, while you still can!)

It took a while for Ferry to get the song right, but he never stopped championing the piece. A definitive live version was recorded in 1973 on Viva! (released 76); this version has a chillier delivery which emphasizes the hint of menace in the song, coupled with a sublime oboe accompaniment by Andy Mackay. Then in 1976 Ferry re-recorded ‘Chance Meeting’ (as he did with many of Roxy’s 1st album choice cuts): the sound is richer and better recorded, and has its supporters. Count me as one of them.

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Brian Eno, AIR Studios//1972

Eno’s Chance Meeting
Andy Mackay and myself may have written to one another a couple of times, but the next time we met was one of those moments in life when things could have turned out completely different than the way they did. I was waiting on Maida Vale tube station [Mackay recalls that it was Earls Court] when the train came in. I was equidistant between two carriages. But in the one I chose was Andy, and we recognized each other. He asked what I was doing and I told him that I was playing around with tape recorders.  – Eno, 2007

As a result of going into a subway station and meeting saxophonist Andy Mackay, I joined Roxy Music, and, as a result of that, I have a career in music. If I’d walked ten yards further on the platform, or missed that train, or been in the next carriage, I probably would have been an art teacher now. – Eno, 1992

Eno’s working methods, even as early as 1972, demanded a sonic aesthetic built around chance meetings. It is one of the great outcomes of this brilliant artist – clearly his legacy and influence will outlive us all – that his approach was so non-musical and so relying on “intentional” accidents, that in doing so he created some of the most pristine, beautiful and emotional music ever put to tape. What a charge!

In January, 1975, two and a half years after his split from Roxy,  Brian and his painter friend Peter Schmidt released a set of flash cards called Oblique Strategies. The Strategies were a lesson in chance meetings, as they were contradictory declarations intended to be applied to a problem, context, atmosphere, or whatever issue or item the artist wanted to address. Card descriptions included “Put in Earplugs”, “Use Filters”, “What Wouldn’t You Do?” and, famously, “Honour thy error as a hidden intention.” Eno utilized these strategies to some famous recording sessions – David Bowie’s seasoned musicians, put through the classroom broiler of pointers, white chalkboards and oblique card games almost walked out during the making of Lodger (but not before recording ‘Boys Keep Swinging’); forced to do the same, Phil Collins chucked cans of beer at the producer during the recording of Another Green World; Coldplay liked the cards (without any discernible musical advance) and R.E.M name-checked the cards on the track ‘Diminished’. And of course Oblique Strategies have informed a majority of Eno’s solo albums – masterpieces many of them – with one music production house even going as far as to promote the use of the deck as the “Ultimate Recording Tool“. A few years before in 1972, during the recording  of ‘Chance Meeting’, Phil Manzanera was one of the first to be introduced to Eno’s unique way of working:

On ‘Chance Meeting’ they wanted me to play backwards, or rather play forwards while the tape went backwards. When that failed dismally I tried feedback which meant playing so loud I couldn’t hear Bryan singing, only the chord changes. Eno likes that a lot – randomness. Taping one track and then sticking another one over the top without listening to the first one. And with Chance Meeting it was singularly appropriate. – Phil Manzanera, NME 1972

The feedback on ‘Chance Meeting‘ is as chilling as anything Roxy Music ever recorded, virtually negating the interpretation of the song as a classic romantic piece (Brief Encounter, 1945) and placing it in the vanguard of discordant, murderous narratives (Chance Meeting, 1959). With Bryan Ferry’s penchant for supplying lyrics and vocals late in the recording process (much to the frustrations of other band members – but more of that for future posts) it is enticing to think that the track may have been named by Eno, or at the very least named as a result of Eno’s recording techniques, having Manzanera load his guitar feedback sight-unseen onto unheard music, ushering in the randomness, displacement and dislocated creepiness that haunts the track, and keeps us listening so many years later for hidden intent and meaning. Time spent well is so rare…

Titbits

David Bowie, Red Money. Bryan Ferry, Sign of the Times.  The line that plays its hand in ‘Chance Meeting’ is red dress mine. The colour red is a shock, but only in hindsight, and on a close reading. This is Bryan Ferry’s Haiku moment. Haiku is a poetic device that juxtaposes two images or ideas, one of which acts as a “cutting word” or verbal punctuation mark. Red is the cutting word in this song as it comes as us with its seductive connotations of red (sex), dress (flesh), mine (possession) against a backdrop of languid melody and expression. For a period in late 1979 Bowie was intrigued with the colour red and used it as a symbol that could evoke a particular emotion, bringing together thematic ideas that were subliminal instead of explicit. In Lodger, ‘Red Sails’ closes side 1 (red sail action: wakes up in wrong town). ‘Red Money’ closes side 2 (red money, project cancelled: good bye Eno, Iggy, Sister Midnight). Not to be left out, Ferry himself returned to explicit colour imagery in the late 70s: in Red is the bloody sign of the times, he sang as the end of the decade approached. Lipstick ‘n leather, wear ‘n tear…

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Talk Talk

‘Chance Meeting’ lead to After the Flood, the 10 minute epic track on Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock album. Miles and decades apart perhaps, but the kinship between the two bands is deep and the legacy strong. After hitting it big as new wave stars in the early and mid-80s,  Talk Talk abandoned synth-pop and went experimental. Their 1988 album Spirit of Eden and its follow-up, 1991’s Laughing Stock, are brilliant cult classics, steeped in the kinds of jazz-influenced sounds that would later be known as post-rock. Feedback has never sounded so good.

Oblique Strategies, Eno/Schmidt
My own copy (2nd edition), purchased on eBay eons ago. Card just pulled: “Do Nothing as Long as Possible.” Now they tell me.
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The Bob (Medley)

St Paul's in the Blitz

War is hell, and The Bob (Medley) isn’t much better. Of its time, The Bob is another in Bryan Ferry’s first album punning titles (The Battle of Britain) and the song delivers yet another dramatic vocal performance. This one is strained though, and for the first (and thankfully rare) time on a 70s Roxy Music album, the lyrics are trite and forgettable. A year after The Bob was recorded, the band mothballed the track and never performed it again.

For all its shortcomings, The Bob did mark an important plot point for the early Roxy line-up as it was one of the songs recorded for the demo tape sent to the talented Melody Maker writer Richard Williams in 1971:

People didn’t normally send out tapes out of the blue in those days…To this day I don’t know how Bryan found my home address. But there is a note in my diary for March 1971 which states, “Brian coming in to drop off tape” – and that was Bryan. 

So I played the tape, and thought it was pretty extraordinary.
Richard Williams

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 Promotional sticker for the original Roxy Music demo tape//Malcolm Bird

Ferry’s attention to detail was exemplary (“I was quite obsessive“) as he composed the songs, compiled the tapes, ensured the artwork was striking and new, and worked the phones to get the songs in front of the right people – all this 4 months before Roxy had even played their first gig. The Bob’s heritage is marked by its inclusion as part of the early John Peel BBC sessions, first recorded in January 1972, in which the track opens with the sound of air raid sirens and Eno’s sinister pulsing VCS3. The version recorded nine months later for Peel demonstrates a tighter approach, highlighting the increasing musical confidence of the band. The music was exciting art-collage for the cognoscenti:

We’d start off with ‘Memphis Soul’ Stew, and then we’d go into ‘The Bob (Medley)’, this heavy bizarre thing about the Battle Of Britain with synths and sirens. We had everything in there from King Curtis to The Velvet Underground to systems music to ’50s rock ‘n’ roll. At the time we said this was ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and’80s rock’n’roll!
Phil Manzanera

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Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?//Richard Hamilton

The Bob (Medley) is perhaps the most succinct realization of the band’s early avant garde playbook: the track’s modernist mash-up  was central to the early Roxy sound and approach. With his principal passions in music and fine art, Bryan Ferry, post-war coal-steward’s son, 3rd in a line of 4 children, left the Northern grey skies for a study of Fine Art at the University of Newcastle. Here Ferry would study under artist guru and founder of British Pop Art, Richard Hamilton, an extraordinary and key influence on Ferry and Roxy both visually and conceptually, almost to the point where the band can be seen as an actualization and output of an art work – as banal as The Monkees, yet as deep as Marcel Duchamp, Jasper Johns, Warhol’s Factory. Hamilton predicted what Pop Art (Roxy Music) should be: Popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, and Big Business!

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Richard Hamilton//1970

“Bryan Ferry – my greatest creation.” (Hamilton quoted in Buckley, 24).

Ferry would come to say that his earliest writings and recordings with the band were a direct attempt to combine his love of music with the creative possibilities and ideas that he had learned from fine art and the teachings of Richard Hamilton. Hamilton’s visual juxtapositions from the 1950s were at the forefront of Ferry’s mind while he composed the music for Roxy Music, with the lyrical and musical collages and collisions of If There is Something and Re-Make/Re-Model in the can, The Bob (Medley) is as arty, funny, indulgent, worthy in subject matter and approach, but not aging very well, much like early Pink Floyd epics Ummagumma (patchy) and Atom Heart Mother (wretched). The track starts with an eerie synth drone, early “madcap technophile” Eno at the helm, before crashing into Bryan Ferry’s hysterical shrill:

I dreamed last night about your face
Your star shone all night
Over the moon it shone brighter
Star shining so bright

The problem with the track is also echoed in the lyric: the ironic stance trips over itself, meta-awareness in spades from a group of art students hip to the Velvet Underground and John Cage. It was in the air: Monty Python was launched on staid BBC 2, and only co-opted in later years by BBC 1 and Hollywood. Three channels (BBC 1, BBC 2, and ITV) held a captive audience of 17-20M viewers from a population of 56M. The Blitz was common currency, Ireland was at War (Bloody Sunday, Jan 1972), the Miners were cutting off the lights, and it was all a bit cold and drab. Why not then deliver an anti-BBC version of The Battle of Britain and revel in the antiquated poetry (Over the moon it shone brighter/Star shining so bright) and chop it all up into a 6 part play. This got up a lot of people’s noses, of course, as spoofing World War 2 was seen as an easy shot, and even though Manzanera and Thompson let rip on some good rock n’ roll power chords, musically the montage just didn’t have anywhere to go.

Recorded: 22 March 1972 at Command Studios, London

Titbits
British Tommy
Trauma is passed from generation to generation. I’ve unwittingly inherited what my father experienced – Pete Townshend, 2012

war kids 2

The effect of World War 2 on a generation is expressed, in part, in those searing and best-selling double albums of the 70s – Tommy (69) and The Wall (79).  In both, murdered Fathers are the source of anger and experience is gained within an often cruel and ignorant society moving through reconstruction, suppressing emotion, engendering guilt (it’s a boy Mrs. Walker). The anger and violence is real in both: Roger Waters has recorded for you the sound of his father being killed in the first wave of fighting as the Allies attempted to secure the beach head at Anzio, south of Rome. And Tommy is rendered mute by the shock of seeing his father murdered (again) as his mother and her killer lover yell at him:

You didn’t hear it, you didn’t see it!
You never heard it, not a word of it!
You won’t say nothin’ to no one,
Never tell a soul what you know is the truth!

The war delivers a wounded legacy to its children. And be careful who you leave your kids with – teachers, bullies, uncles, aunts, cousins – it is chilling to consider that both these records have sold a combined total of 43 million copies.

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Malcolm Bird//Biba
In addition to doing early design work for Roxy Music, Malcolm Bird’s illustrations also have appeared in magazines and newspapers,  greeting cards, comic strips, and books.

//This is Tomorrow //Art exhibition, August 1956
This Is Tomorrow was a seminal art exhibition in August 1956 at the Whitechapel Art Gallery on High Street in London, UK, facilitated by curator Bryan Robertson. The show is now considered a watershed in post-war British Art and in some respects kick-started the development of the British arm of Pop Art. Richard Hamilton was part of the most remembered portion of the exhibit, Group 2, with its Op Art dazzle panels. Bryan Ferry took notes and name-checked the show twenty one years later in his single “This is Tomorrow” from the In Your Mind album.

Dad’s Army was a top show in 1972, further reducing WW2 to even greater depths of  cliche. Series 5, Ep 30, A Solidier’s Farewell: Mainwaring, unhappy because his men are not living up to his expectations and believing his leadership to be unappreciated, dreams he is Napoleon after eating too much toasted cheese. 

Above, Blitz Cinema: Daltrey, Waters, and Pink contemplate their next move.


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2HB

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//Words Don’t Express My Meaning //2HB

BF: I told Mark [Lancaster] I was writing some songs, and he said, “what are they called?” So I said that there was one called ‘2HB’, and he said “Oh that’s so great – writing a song about a pencil.” Which is a very Pop art concept really. Except that I was writing a song about Humphrey Bogart.

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//White jacket black tie wings too//Bogart//Anniversary Poster, Casablanca

Before Nothing Compares 2 U, there was 2HB, Bryan Ferry’s homage to Humphrey Bogart and Casablanca. The song is a declaration of stylistic and thematic intent and there was no pulling punches on the subject and context of his art: the 4th cut on Roxy Music was important enough to Ferry in future years that he resurrected 2HB for the B-side of his first solo single, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (1973) and on his solo album Let’s Stick Together in 1976. Stylistically,  the influence of the white dinner-jacketed Rick Blaine inspired Ferry to transpose Bogart’s Hollywood pose on the cover of his solo album Another Time, Another Place  (the title itself taken from a 1958 movie melodrama); Ferry also released the single Tokyo Joe  based on Bogart’s 1949 movie of the same name. The Bogart/cinema style obsession continued in 1999 with Ferry recording an album with the prime cut from Casablanca, As Time Goes By, of which key lines had already been taken and injected into Roxy’s masterpiece ‘Mother of Pearl’  (It’s still the same old story/Fight for love and glory).  A key influence indeed, with the white tux remaining one of Ferry’s stylistic conceits for much of mid-seventies,  the singer himself looking every inch the 40s film star. The white tuxedo eventually became a cliche, of course, trapping Ferry as much as it probably did Bogart, and later Sean Connery as an increasingly weary James Bond. But at this moment in June 1972 there was something saintly about the white dinner jacket, with the dickey bow black tie wings hinting at danger, without the bother of ever necessarily having to deliver on it. Poster - Casablanca_13
More corn than in the states of Kansas and Iowa combined. But when corn works, there’s nothing better.
– Casablanca
script writer Julius Epstein  

The plot and characterization in Casablanca is of course, sheer hokum. Shot in 1942, right in the middle of World War II,  with millions dead and no end in sight, the Allies grouped and planned Operation Torch – an invasion of North Africa to seize the key ports and airports of  Casablanca, Oran and Algiers. As a result, Casablanca was both entertainment and pure propaganda: the outcome of the war was not assured in 1942, and the melt-down showed no signs of letting up. The film put its nervous audiences in the position of making moral decisions in doomed or difficult circumstances: lust in Paris, love in Morocco, despair and fear everywhere – the film’s characters are painted on a broad moral canvas: the heroine Ilsa is horny but virtuous – she sleeps with equally horny night-club owner Rick Blaine only because she believes that her husband, a renowned fugitive Czech Resistance leader, has been killed during an escape from a concentration camp (she is mistaken). Rick on the other hand is ambivalent, content to drink heavily and run the Café Américain for the loose entertainment of others, as he tries to erase the bitter memories and feelings of his love for Ilsa. By film’s end however, Rick’s ambiguity is quashed by the heroic act of putting the needs of others before his own – guaranteeing safe passage, he saves Ilsa’s husband from certain horrific death, and in doing so provides Ilsa with the insight necessary to move on and live her life heroically, not today or tomorrow, but for the rest of her life (“Was that canon fire or is it my heart pounding?”). Rick is left behind (again) but his sacrifice changes who he is and who he has been. He moves towards a new relationship with the forces that inhabit Casablanca (“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”). 

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//Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine//

I started going to the pictures early on — even when I was at junior school. My dad had an allotment where he grew his vegetables, and that was right next door to the cinema — the Carlton. It was a local fleapit really; but it was my Cinema Paradiso from a very early age, because my mother used to make tea for the projectionist — cakes and scones and sandwiches. So he got these free teas, and we got free tickets. There were wooden benches that you sat on … I saw Gone With the Wind there and all sorts.
BF as told to Michael Bracewell.

Along with the Carlton, Renalto, Regal, Odeon, and Roxy, all were typical names for 20th century British cinema houses. In this regard, Roxy Music is synonymous with ‘Cinema’ Music, and throughout the band’s career the lyrical heft of Ferry’s cinematic, self-aware writing is a consistent triumph. The declaration of love for art, Bogart and cinema is unequivocal:

Oh I was moved by your screen dream
Celluloid pictures are living
Your death could not kill our love for you

It is funny that many reprinted 2HB lyrics have that line as “scream dream” which makes no sense at all given that this is Casablanca and not the Bride of Frankenstein. In any case, the stanza makes some interesting statements about the power of art to move and create an emotional connection; as is typical with Byron Ferry the Romantic, we have art as the “real thing” (Celluloid pictures are living) and the belief that art will triumph death every time (Your death could not kill our love for you).

Art, death, cinema is the subject of 2HB, and the motifs stack up like picture frames: late-night detail (Two people, romantic/Smoky nightclub situation/ your cigarette traces a ladder/white jacket black tie wings too). The imagery is straight out of a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. And direct references to the film populate the lyric:  Here’s looking at you, kid/Ideal love flies away now/You gave her away to the hero all beautifully represent the film and its final scene, the foggy airport runway denouement.

It can be argued that Roxy Music song would be complete without self-referential consideration, and 2HB is no exception: here Ferry identifies a deeper idea and encodes his own (increasing) fame and that uneasy sense a famous person must have – and maybe we all share now in this age of digital film and Facebook – that the captured moment will be seen in the future without our influence or even our actual presence. This is why David Bowie’s last album Blackstar is so spooky and unsettling: it’s not an easy subject, and Ferry admits that words don’t express his meaning: 

Here’s looking at you kid celebrate years
Here’s looking at you kid wipe away tears
Long time since we’re together
Now I hope it’s forever

The subject or character reference is ambiguous (as was also seen in the last verse in If There is Something): it can be taken as a direct reference to Rick and Ilsa in the film, their circumstances of parting and never seeing one another again. Sad, to be sure, but so is the idea that Ferry is singing his dedication to Bogart (looking at you/celebrate years); mourning his death (wipe away tears); mourning his Cinema Paradisio Bogart-watching youth (Long time since we’re together); and encoding his own death in the song towards the time when only the art will remain (Now I hope it’s forever).

Heady stuff indeed, and Ferry seems aware of the conundrum of trying to articulate this uncomfortable idea and recognizes that in a film where music is a key narrative driver – ‘As Time Goes By’ tells the story, holds the memory, divides and unites the protagonists – Ferry admits that notes could not spell out the score: neither words or music by themselves will express the meaning, but all songs can be seen as a declaration of love between composer and reader, for art is life-affirming (it lingers ever) and Ferry’s hero in 2HB is hard to forget, until, that is until his own death (at least not yet).

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2DB
2DB (1947 – 2016)

Titbits

original play w song as time goes byferry time
As Time Goes By is an incredible song, much loved and covered. Melodies like this are indeed forever. The song was written and published by Herman Hupfeld in 1931 for the Broadway musical “Everybody’s Welcome“. Bryan Ferry recorded As Time Goes By (of course he did) for his solo album of the same name.

PlayItAgainSam-Poster
Woody Allen’s Play it Again Sam was released one month before Roxy Music in May 1972. The iconography of Bogart was stronger in the early 70s than it had been at the time of his death in 1957.
Allan: If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not on it, you’ll regret it; maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.
Linda: That is beautiful!
Allan: It’s from Casablanca. … I’ve waited my whole life to say it!

His journey is complete.