I have just discovered Roxy Music.
I am furious.
How is it that, in nearly 50 years, that not one of my friends or colleagues has seen fit to alert me to the inspirational greatness that is the first three Roxy Music albums? Is there some sort of secret music-lovers club that I have never been deemed cool enough to be a member of, some conspiracy wherein every few months or so elites of Roxy Music-loving people would gather and giggle and point in my direction and go, “look at him. He still hasn’t got it yet.” WAS IT ALL JUST AN EXCUSE TO MAKE FUN IN MY DIRECTION? I do not understand how this wonderment of riches, this delight of delights, this mad sprawl of art and artisan and piss-taking and squalling brass and demented vocals and random rhythmic breaks and sex and semen could have passed me by for FOUR DECADES.
I came to music in the late Seventies, Roxy Music were all about the crooning and smoothness, ‘Avalon’ and fucking ‘Jealous Guy’ with its fucking whistling, and while ‘Avalon’ was OK and all, hardly a reason to go back and check out what seemed to merely amount to art school preciousness and musicianly in-jokes, hardly a good advert for WHAT IS POSSIBLY THE GREATEST ROCK GROUP OF THE SEVENTIES. You bastard, laughing, elitist, music-loving fuckers. You never told me about the ferocity and squalor contained within Ferry’s vocals, the demented rhythms that keep going and going, the mistakes and jarring insertions. How dare you keep this from me!
Sure, I knew ‘Virginia Plain’ and sure I knew they were an influence on many I loved – Pere Ubu, Half-Japanese, Sonic Youth, anything from the early Eighties with pretensions of fun and deft illusion, most of everything I saw in the last Seventies that I loved now I come to realise it – but come on! Why didn’t you tell me? I’ve told you fuckers often enough. WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME??? I feel like Caitlin Moran, furious, calling me up at Melody Maker from NYC in the early 90s, drunk and out of breath.
“YOU NEVER TOLD ME…A…BOUT MARGARITAS!” she yelled furiously.
I feel the same way about Roxy Music.
“WHY DID NO ONE EVER TELL ME…A…BOUT ROXY MUSIC?!”
For fuck’s sake people. You have had 50 years.
*As Tim Footman says (only now, mind), (only now, that I have finally broken through the barriers of silence and grand conspiracy to keep me un-illuminated), “Everything that is right and good in music begins [in ‘Re-make’] at about 1:06”.