We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you a very special performance by Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music of Neil Young’s iconic American Stars ‘n Bars classic. ‘Like A Hurricane’.
When Roxy Music first burst on to the music scene in a flurry of carefully curated glitter blizzards they quickly became one of the faces of the glam rock generation. By the 1980s however, things had changed for the group.
Bryan Ferry had since broken away from the group as a solo star in his own right and after Brian Eno left the group, the make-up of the band had changed forever. It had suddenly become the session band for Ferry’s new expanding vision. Looking back, it wasn’t a bad place to be.
Instead of their spangle-eyed swagger of the early seventies, by 1982 the band were a far more accomplished outfit. No longer relying on costume gimmicks or the genius of Brian Eno had seen the band grow as musicians. It couldn’t be more perfectly displayed than in their 1982 cover of Neil Young’s ‘Like A Hurricane’.
Ferry and co. were no strangers to a cover or two, Ferry’s album These Foolish Things may well be the finest covers album of all time, but even they may have felt Young’s classic was a little out of reach. Young has always maintained his legend as having one of the keenest ears in the business and the thought of him pawing over any cover is enough to worry any singer or musician.
Yet, as you might imagine, Ferry, along with the special support of Andy Mackay on saxophone and Phil Nazanara on guitar, deliver a quite sumptuous rendition of the song. Ripping the bulb of the song from its roots they use a fuller sound and a pumped-up rhythm to turn the track into something the Talking Heads would be proud of.
The group transform this otherwise straight-forward rocker into something far juicier and with a heap more tang. They enjoyed performing it so much on the tour that it would feature in two live album releases and be a part of their live set some years later.
If the way you judge a great cover song is by being fooled into believing it’s not a cover at all, then Roxy Music has taken the crown for the greatest cover of all time.