Lyrics by Bryan Ferry
Bryan Ferry’s work as a singer and songwriter, both as a solo artist and with Roxy Music, is legendary.
Lyrics collects the words written for music across seventeen albums, from the first iconic Roxy album of 1972 via the masterpiece of Avalon to 2014’s reflective Avonmore, introduced by the author, and with an insightful essay by James Truman.
All the classic Roxy anthems are here – ‘Virginia Plain’, ‘Do the Strand’, ‘Love is the Drug’ – songs in which the real and the make-believe blend in a kaleidoscopic mix, shot through with cinematic allure.
Also included are the evocative lyrics of romantic longing and lost illusions for which Ferry is rightly revered: ‘Slave to Love’, ‘Mother of Pearl’, ‘More Than This’. As he writes in his preface, ‘The low points in life so often produce the most keenly felt and best-loved songs.’ And, it might be added, some of the best poetry.
It was the 16th of June 1972 when a band called Roxy Music released their first studio album called Roxy Music. Here we are now celebrating one of the most iconic bands in popular music. Now their lead singer and the bands main song writer Bryan Ferry has just released Lyrics (Chatto & Windus) to coincide with the bands 50th anniversary. Lyrics is a collection of the songs and the words from the bands most successful albums. I can still remember seeing the band late one night on the BBC with Bryan Ferry standing at the keyboard. From that moment on, I was hooked.
Their first single was a song called Virginia Plain, which was written just after the first album was released and was a huge hit, it subsequently included on later editions of their first album. All the great songs from Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry himself are here, from ‘Virginia Plain’, to ‘Pyjamarama’, ‘Do the Strand’, ‘Love is the Drug’, and through the latter years and one of my favourite albums by Roxy Music was Manifesto released in 1979. With tracks such as ‘Angel Eyes’ and ‘Dance Away’. Just read the words to that powerful song. Then the album Avalon released in 1982 with songs such ‘More Than This’ and the beautifully written ‘Avalon’ and then more closely up to date is ‘Avonmore’ the title track of the album released in 2014.
Each chapter begins with the cover photograph of the album with the year it was released. As you read the lyrics to each song, you really do get an incredible sense of what a brilliant songwriter Bryan Ferry really is. There are words to some of the songs that really do pull on your heart strings. At the very beginning of the book James Truman, gives his thoughts on the band and the poetic song writing of Bryan Ferry. Bryan himself then introduces the book and tells the reader about how he loves poetry and how a Humphrey Bogart film inspired one of his songs.
There are some songs that through our lives when you hear them playing on the radio or via your own playlist, they will take you back to those moments in your life for reasons of real happiness or moments of deep sadness. There are many songs written by Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music that are key in my own life and some will always make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up with ‘Angel Eyes’ and ‘Dance Away’ being just two.
My thanks to Laura Creyke from Mark Hutchinson Management and Chatto & Windus for the review copy of Lyrics by Bryan Ferry, which is now available in Hardback through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org