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


Here Come the Warm Jets – Part 1: Blowtorch and Needles

Here Come the Warm Jets, Brian Eno (1973)

‘Needles In The Camel’s Eye’ (Eno, Manzanera)
Bass Guitar – Bill MacCormick
Guitar – Chris Spedding, Phil Manzanera
Percussion – Simon King

‘The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch’ (Eno)
Bass Guitar – Busta Cherry Jones
Bass [Extra Bass] – Chris Thomas
Guitar – Chris Spedding, Phil Manzanera
Percussion – Marty Simon

Roxy Music were loved by the punks – Steve Jones, John Lydon, Siouxsie and the Banshees – but it was Brian Eno’s Here Come the Warm Jets LP that was allowed to stand proudly on record store shelves beside Never Mind the Bollocks, Spiral Scratch, The Clash. Released at the beginning of 1974 while ex-band members Roxy Music were peaking with new album Stranded, there was something subversive and slightly menacing about the Warm Jets package, with its dirty pics, dead flowers, and Captain Eno staring out of the sleeve like a demented glam drill instructor.

For the man the press were calling “the major visual phenomenon of ’73” (The Guardian), 1973-74 was a time of self-examination, off finding a way to move forward in music and the music biz. Eno‘s time with Roxy had come to its natural conclusion (see: For Your Pleasure – Part 2) and, responding to Roxy management’s advice (“We feel you’re ready for a solo career…”) Eno recognized that his options were split into two distinct categories: experimental or avante-garde activities (“I need insanity”), or rock music, that 20th century cultural phenomenon that provided the bread-and-butter of most working musicians. Having been released from his Roxy contract $30,000 in debt (Sheppard), Eno faced the harsh reality of how to make a living – good press was one thing, but how exactly did it translate into paying the bills. The truth was that by late 1973 – three months after leaving RoxyBrian Eno was not living a glamorous life – interviewers showed up at his London apartment to find a gregarious intellectual surrounded by cockroaches and hampered by poor diet (on the floor and walls were porn polaroids, letters from fans, and girlfriend Cassandra simulating S&M poses for visiting journalists).

There was pressure, then, from managers and audiences for Eno to define his post-Roxy persona and set up a musical image the record industry come to grips with (Create. Market. Sell. Repeat). The immediate result was the cheaply made but well-supported first solo recording Here Come the Warm Jets, recorded in September 1973 (made in parallel with Roxy Music’s Stranded. See: ‘Amazona’) and released January 1974. The period was a difficult one for Eno as he tried to satisfy the demands of making a hit record and touring, only to fall flat on his face – they way we all do when we try to apply ourselves to tasks or careers we don’t believe in. But more of that later: for the moment Eno had bills to pay and an album to record, so he called in Roxy associates Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay, Phil Thompson, John Wetton, and Chris Thomas while neglecting, presumably, to inform Bryan Ferry he was picking up the slack, creating a new ‘cinema music’ for bedrooms, airports and bondage enthusiasts.

We saw that Brian Eno could have been as big a solo star as Brian Ferry if he wanted to be, but that wasn’t what he wanted to do musically…He simply wasn’t interested in the great flog of being on the road all the time.

David Enthoven, E.G. Records and Management

Legend has it that Brian Eno started writing Here Come the Warm Jets the day he left Roxy Music.”I remember the day of the final showdown in the E.G. offices in the Kings Road” Eno recalls in David Sheppard’s biography, On Some Faraway Beach: The Life and Times of Brian Eno:

I left feeling totally liberated. I was in debt, and had no sure future, and felt as free as a bird. I ran down the road, jumping for joy. I think it was good for everybody that I went my own way: the band went on to make several great records, and I went on happily to pursue my own path(s). 


I. Blastoff

For twelve days in September 1973, Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera and saxophonist Andy Mackay would complete their Roxy Music Stranded recording duties at AIR Studios, Oxford Street London, and take the twenty minute drive across town (over the Thames) to the cheapest 24-track studio in London at the time, Majestic Studios, 146 Clapham Street London, to assist with the guitar duties on Brian Eno‘s first solo album Here Come the Warm Jets, an influential and much-loved LP cut in twelve days for a reported 5,000 pounds (approx $10,000).

The opening to Warm Jets – and the first cut of Eno‘s solo rock career – is the bubbly and catchy ‘Needles In The Camel’s Eye‘ – a tune co-written with friend and ex-Roxy Music band-mate Phil Manzanera. It’s easy to hear why Manzanera got the co-credit, as the song gets its legs from an energetic run through the every guitarist’s favorite key of E major (E/A/B), with a few tweaks to D/A to resolve the verse.

Re-visiting the spirited yet amateurish first Roxy album Roxy Music, Eno has Manzenera creating riffs that sound fresh and a bit bonkers, as the guitarist cuts free from the more concise lines of Roxy Music and enjoys being a kid again. This giddy optimism is likely the reason that Todd Haynes used ‘Camel’s Eye‘ to open up his much-aligned glam film Velvet Goldmine. (A series of fun shots shows a line of teenagers trying to run in their glam boots).

This idea of ‘inspired amateur’ is certainly true of ‘Camel’s Eye‘ as the barrage of guitars are tweaked and modulated to sound de-tuned or slightly drunk – the opposite of the cool professionalism as demonstrated par excellence on Roxy’s Stranded. This approach is due no doubt to the parcity of the recording budget, but also for Eno’s liking for spontaneity and “insanity” (Melody Maker). That spontaneity is reflected in the balance between punkish immediacy and harmonic awareness. Presenting a gorgeous top-line melody against the thrash of Manzanera‘s garage rock, Eno conceives a fantastic hook and won’t let go: “And you go” he sings, like he didn’t have a care in the world, “and you go oh, oh, oh, oh!” This is joyous stuff – the first sign of Eno’s commercial potential (either as composer or producer). Example in point – I’ve been humming the damn tune all week: “Naaa-na-na-aaaa. Naaa-na-na-aaaa. Do-do-doo do do do do do doooo-oo-ooo-ooo-ohh-ohh. Naaa-na-na-aaaa“. Repeat. Repeat again. And then again. Until your loved ones disown you.

II. Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire

Wholly lacking prejudice in its intent and approach, ‘Camel’s Eye sounds like just one of the twelve possible futures Eno could now take as a solo artist – let’s call this one Happy Eno. In contrast, next cut ‘The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch‘ is an introduction to Weird Eno – a fan favorite for those that like their pop music with a liberal dose of send-up and piss-take. This is Eno out-camping even Bowie at his most over-the-top, hamming it up while telling the strange tale of a Mr. A. William Underwood, a late 19th century African American from Paw Paw, Michigan who was able to produce fire from his mouth without the aid of artificial accelerants  “He will take anybody’s handkerchief, hold it to his mouth [and] immediately it bursts into flames.” (Wiki). Unsurprisingly, this did not help Mr. Underwood on kissing dates.

Written in the same key as ‘Camel’s Eye‘ and with the same chords E-A-B swapped around (E-B-E-A) the first songs of ‘Here Come the Warm Jets’ feel like a freak show circus, with those weird bibical camel’s eyes and Paw Paw’s fire-breathing protagonists – like something Captain Beefheart might conjure up, or Frank Zappa with his Cruising with Ruben & the Jets idea: a 50s doo-wop parody-slash-concept album, constructed from an original idea called No Commercial Potential. This sounds decidedly Eno-like, ramping up the satire and entertainment while torturing his management company with little chance of making any real money. (Eno’s pre- ‘Warm Jets‘ idea for bringing in some cash – as writer David Sheppard delightfully describes – was to create “a bizarre, fetishistic fantasy” pop group called Luana and The Lizard Girls. “The Girls would consist of an assortment of musical eccentrics and dancers… Luana lifts the whip …” And so on. (“The dancers in the Lizard Girls could also be wired up to my new instrument…”).

The first minute of ‘Paw Paw’ starts as a direct offshoot of the mocking comedy of Zappa and Robert Calvert‘s Captain Lougheed and the Starfighters (a record Eno contributed synthesizer effects to in early 1974), but begins to change shape and mood as it moves along. First up is the instrumental break as delivered by Eno’s trademark burp and fart synthesizer, originally heard on Roxy Music‘s ‘Virginia Plain‘ and ‘Editions of You‘ (the break is genuinely funny, capturing the speech of two nattering robots while taking morning tea). The electronic chatter gives way to Manzanera‘s guitar rattling across the speakers @1:32, while Chris Spedding is added to the sonic mix, trading lines and fret-board effects. If you haven’t heard ‘Paw Paw‘ in a while, it is striking to hear how well arranged this song actually is. Moving towards his preferred mode of insanity, Eno increases the tempo and tension:

Send for an ambulance or an
Accident investigator
He’s breathing like a furnace …

Guitars and synths replicate the sounds of ambulances and sirens while flaming hyperboles are piled on (He’ll set the sheets on fire/Mmm, quite a burning lover/Now he’ll barbecue your kitten). Suddenly Mr. A. William Underwood’s unfortunate fire-breathing condition becomes a metaphor for failed romance or performance anxiety – most likely the latter, given Eno’s pornographic imagination.

Writing on an Eno web discussion (, one fan remarks “Every time I hear this song, it always sounds to me that it starts like a Steely Dan-ish tune and then melts down and rocks out into that wonderfully noisy conclusion that segues into ‘Baby’s on Fire'”.

Indeed the agitated ‘Baby on Fire‘ synth riff appears on ‘Paw Paw‘ @ 2:55 (just after “Now you’ll have to make the choice between the Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch and meeee…”) and if you turn up the volume you hear the hammer run of notes in their unadorned state: both songs bleed effortlessly into each other, and we recognize that ‘Paw Paw‘ has been laying the sonic foundation for the best cut on the album and one of the great classics of Eno’s rock career: ‘Baby’s on Fire

Baby’s on fire
Better throw her in the water
Look at her laughing
Like a heifer to the slaughter
Baby’s on fire
And all the laughing boys are bitching
Waiting for photos
Oh the plot is so bewitching

Next: the classic ‘Baby’s on Fire’!

Credits: Here Come the Warm Jets sleeve (ILPS 9268) November 1973; Eno publicity photo (uncredited) circa early ’74; Todd Haynes used ‘Camel’s Eye‘ to open up his much-aligned glam film Velvet Goldmine; published score ‘Camel‘; Frank Zappa and Eno go 50s (separate photo shoots) Cruising with Ruben & the Jets sleeve shots; a threaded Camel (doncha know); Eno, same session uncredited publicity photo circa early 74.



(No Pussyfooting)

(No Pussyfooting), Fripp & Eno, 1973

‘The Heavenly Music Corporation’
Recorded at Eno’s Studio September, 1972

‘Swastika Girls’
Recorded at Command Studios August, 1973

The parenthesis in the title are significant, as (No Pussyfooting) was the first solo (collaborative) recording by ex-Roxy Music synthesizer player Brian Eno, the music an interlude or afterthought (take your pick) before the first proper solo release Here Come the Warm Jets (1973)In typical fashion, the title is a play on words, suggesting both “get on with it” and temporary hiatus. Thanks Brian, we anticipate much fun as we review your 1970s post-Roxy solo career (As if Bryan Ferry wasn’t handfull enough). 

Record label & management companions – E.G. Records had both Roxy Music and King Crimson on their roster – Brian Eno and Robert Fripp met professionally while Fripp was producing a record by Robert Wyatt‘s post-Soft Machine band Matching Mole – a group who would would play a future role in Roxy guitarist Phil Manzanera‘s stellar 801 band. Little Red Record was recorded in the Fall of 1972 while Eno was still with Roxy Music, but had been given a weekend pass due to Bryan Ferry taking ill with tonsillitis, leaving the calendar free to contribute to other recording sessions. Eno played synthesizer on the track ‘Gloria Gloom‘ – a freaky hodgepodge of early 70s musical experimentation – while striking up a friendship with band leader Robert Wyatt (“playing scrabble … It’s always fun with Brian”) and flirting with actress Julie Christie – fresh from Venice shooting Nicolas Roeg’s ‘Don’t Look Now’ – who, somehow, had been talked into providing voice-overs for the album. As all this was going on, according to Brian Eno biographer David Sheppard, Eno spent much of his time “observing Fripp at the mixing desk” (Sheppard, 103). 

Eno signed copy (No Pussyfooting)

Brian Eno’s departure from Roxy Music was as certain (and required) as a recurring sunset, a dog hankering for a bone, the Queen’s speech at Christmas. A brilliant theoretician and musical originator, Eno could never be bound by the (often tedious) set-ups and formulas of rock music, no matter how well defined and delivered by the likes of Bowie or Roxy. While Roxy managers David Enthoven and John Gaydon, critics and fans, and even Bryan Ferry himself, have since indulged in the “what if” scenario of Eno remaining a member of the band –  what glories! what masterpieces! – the thinking is simply incorrect, for it situates Brian Eno within the rock music continuum – a medium that relies on consistency, formula and repetition for success and revenue generation – and that was never going to be adequate payback for an artist who craved original experiences and outcomes. Eno enjoyed the rock n’ roll lifestyle for about a year and a-half with Roxy Music (1972 to mid 1973), quickly got bored with girls, glam, glitter (well, maybe not the girls) and started recording (No Pussyfooting) in his spare time, for fun and pleasure and no foreseeable financial return, while Roxy Music were enjoying their peak Top of the Pops moment with Virginia Plain’ climbing the UK singles charts in September 1972.

For fans of Roxy Music, Brian Eno, and Phil Manzanera‘s solo and 801 projects – and for admirers of Robert Fripp and King Crimson(No Pussyfooting) is an essential record – raw, experimental, pioneering, often beautiful, always surprising. The album was delivered incredibly cheap: the cost of recording was twelve quid ($24CDN, $19USD) and sold 100,000 copies (Burning Shed). While never selling records in the Rod Stewart or even Roxy Music category – no one has ever identified a period of “Eno-mania” in the 70s – Eno has always had the good business sense to keep costs down while providing a decent return on record label investment. The outcome has been a long and “interesting” (a favourite Eno word) career comprised of absolute freedom and unshackled artistic expression, resulting in collaborative, gorgeous music. One of the great myths of Eno’s career is that he is a “non-musician”, record producer, systems strategist, faker – but this non-musician has made some of the most beautiful music many of us have heard: tender, emotional, haunting. You can’t fake that.

(No Pussyfooting) is comprised of two tracks spread over one side each of the original LP release. The 2019 re-release split the first side ‘Heavenly Music Corporation’ into five parts and second side ‘Swastika Girls’ into two parts – and they needn’t have bothered. For many younger listeners NP sounds like it was made in the glacial age. One modern Prog fan has offered the unflattering view that “I cannot help to think of a mid-80’s hamburger fast food chain commercial campaign with little old ladies yelling: Where’s the beef?” “Yes, this album is historical,” says another – “inventive, progressive, but not very good.” (Prog Archives).

True, a record that is taped in someone’s bedroom for twelve quid may not stand the test of time – sonically at least – but (No Pussyfooting) is at least half-brilliant – ‘Heavenly Music Corporation’ is the standout –  and also extremely important to the collection of artists covered in this blog: this is the clear start of Eno‘s fabulous solo career – from ambient, Bowie, Lanois, Cluster, 801, ‘Another Green World‘, Talking Heads, Fripptronics, John Cale, (Devo!) and so much more. And that’s just the musical side..

Beginning with the beautiful tone of unspooling electronic music, ‘Heavenly Music Corporation’ is the clear winner of the two pieces – a dream-filled auditory introduction to a  ‘method’ created with very little equipment: Fripp’s Gibson Les Paul, The “Fripp Pedalboard”, and two of Eno’s modified Revox A77 tape recorders (see lead picture, above).

In a system later to be dubbed Frippertronics, Eno and Fripp set up two reel-to-reel tape decks that would allow audio elements to be added to a continuing tape loop, building up a dense layer of sound that slowly decayed as it turned around and around the deck’s playback head

Ted Mills (Allmusic)

In keeping with his original role in Roxy Music, Eno plays the sound engineer on this session, mixing the performance live, playing with tape, changing volume levels, producing delay and distortion. As early as 1968 – in the Clare Market Review (the official journal of the London School of Economics’ Student Union!) – Eno was already describing the process as “a noise made at a given time” recorded “on both tracks of the tape… to be played back at C after a delay.” The degree of delay produced the sonic tone, and the sonic tone was influenced by the distances between tape machines (“Speed of tape affects accuracy of recording”).

With as little as 0:37 seconds into the piece, you can actually hear Eno playing with the sound controls – volume levels fade in and out – and by 2:53 the effect is wide-screen, panning out beyond the speaker’s circle, until we hit the 3:09 mark and Fripp enters with his Gibson and pedal-board. ‘Heavenly Music Corporation’ is the precursor to the most pleasing moments of the more highly regarded ‘Evening Star‘ (Fripp & Eno, 1975), as the sound builds into increasingly layered and overlapping sound. By ‘Heavenly Part III’ we have Jimi Hendrix-style dive-bombing effects (in 1975 Eno called Hendrix “probably still the greatest guitar player of all time” (Tamm).  And Pink Floyd based an entire career on the close-out rumblings laid down effortlessly for  ‘Heavenly Part V’.

(No Pussyfooting) may have been cheap to record, but the cover was conceived as a top shelf package (spare no expense). Reviewing the making of the sleeve, writer and curator Paul Gorman provides detail on Eno’s vision:

All of a piece with the music it packages – prismatic, playful, calm, cerebral, oblique – the four-part composition was photographed and designed at Eno’s behest by photographer/ filmmaker Willie Christie.

At the time of the shoot in 1972, Gorman continues, “Christie was an established fashion photographer and husband of the Vogue creative editor Grace Coddington” Christie’s roster included wife Coddington, Roxy alumni Amanda Lear and Bryan Ferry, rock star Mick Jagger, and King Crimson band members Bill Bruford and Robert Fripp himself.

“We hired the mirror from Chelsea Glassware and the zinc ‘floor’ came from a session I’d just done for (fashion publication) Over 21,” says Christie, who won an award from industry magazine Music Week for the design. “I’ve always felt badly for Brian that he didn’t share the credit, since it was his idea and we worked on it together.”

Quoted in Gorman, “Photography: Willie Christie on the (No Pussyfooting) cover.”

The effect of multilayered and repeatable sound is represented on the front cover by a  hall-of-mirrors photograph of Fripp and Eno seated, looking purposely staged and pragmatic. Signifiers are placed everywhere: books, trinklets, and of course, much punning pornography – no ‘pussy foot’ refers to Eno’s position in the frame (say no more) and the whole piece reads like a next-step first take of an ambient classic – designed to take us on journeys of the mind and heart. The recording is magnificent and important, and just like those mirrors, the effects continue to reflect and influence across the ages. Eno, for one, would never look back.

Credits: Kobe Van Cauwenberghe is a German guitarist who has produced ‘No (More) Pussyfooting’ for recorded and live performances – the title shot comes from him; back cover NP’ Willie Christie; Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Rooms exhibition at Tate Modern Spring 2021; 1968 Eno paper, Clare Market Review, more Willie Christie, see

Next Month: Phew – that was a change of pace – no lyrics! Let’s keep up with Eno theme next month. And why not – Here Comes The Warm Jets has 4/5ths of Roxy Music playing on it. Be kind, be good – til next time!