Bryan Ferry is one of the most iconic musicians of the past 50 years. Yes, he’s a rockstar, but he’s also one of the most humble artists on the planet, which is perhaps why his pioneering career isn’t viewed quite as celestially as some of his contemporaries.
Hailing from Newcastle in the northeast of England, Ferry went from a reasonably normal childhood to being at the tip of the art-music scene, helping to influence an entire generation, not just musically but with his dashingly elegant style too. In fact, the author Peter York even went as far as to say that the latter is an “art object that should hang in the Tate”.
While the phrasing of that hopefully doesn’t mean that York hopes to curtail the precious addition to the mundanity of our daily lives that Ferry represents, in a symbolic way, he has remained a cutting-edge canvas, up there with the likes of David Bowie and Marc Bolan. And as a former student of fine art, this makes sense a lot of sense. Bryan Ferry oozes ingenuity and class, which you could perhaps attribute to his roots.
Without Bryan Ferry, Roxy music would not have been the same glittering animal that we’ve loved since they first broke through with 1972’s Roxy Music. Whether it be ‘Ladytron’, ‘Do the Strand’ or even ‘Love is the Drug’, Ferry’s charismatic vocals carried the futurism of their swirling music and capped it off with real panache.
With the help of Brian Eno, Ferry and Roxy Music helped to release the shackles beginning to form on turgid rock ’n’ roll at just the right time. After that, Ferry journeyed through various genres in a diverse career that has never seen him lose his style or authenticity.
Fittingly, in an interview with The Guardian in April 2022, when Ferry was asked about what Roxy Music means to him 50 years later, he responded lucidly. Ferry said: “A lot. Roxy Music were the first 10 years of my career, so it’s a huge part of my life. Some of my best work was done on those albums and I was lucky to be part of such a unique group. Andy Mackay had a classical background, Brian Eno electronic music, Phil Manzanera a guitarist with Latin American roots, Paul Thompson a great drummer, and Graham Simpson [bass] was a jazz aficionado. They all brought something special and there was a great sense of camaraderie – you get very close to people, making music – and lots of laughs.”
He concluded: “The early period, especially, was very exciting, but we were always rushing to finish songs or albums and we crammed a lot into 10 years. Antony Price, who was from Yorkshire, helped me with the album covers and designed some very interesting clothes for us, very ahead of his time. I’ve recently been working on my book of lyrics, and the Roxy songs brought back great memories. I’m looking forward to touring with the band later in the year.”