Flesh and Blood (Roxy Music album)

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Flesh + Blood
Studio album by Roxy Music
Released 23 May 1980
Recorded 1980, Basing Street Studios, Gallery Studios
Genre Pop rock, new wave
Length 41:56
Label E.G.
Atco/Reprise (US)
Producer Rhett Davies and Roxy Music
Roxy Music chronology
Manifesto
(1979)
Flesh + Blood
(1980)
Avalon
(1982)
Singles from Flesh + Blood
  1. "Over You"
    Released: May 1980
  2. "Oh Yeah"
    Released: July 1980
  3. "Same Old Scene"
    Released: November 1980
  4. "In the Midnight Hour"
    Released: December 1980 (December 1980)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau (B)[3]
Pitchfork Media (6.6/10)[4]
Smash Hits 6½/10[5]

Flesh + Blood is the seventh studio album by by the English art rock band Roxy Music. Released in late May 1980, it was an immediate commercial success peaking at No. 1 in the UK for one week in June and then returned to the summit in August for another three weeks, in total spending 60 weeks on the albums chart in the United Kingdom. The album also peaked at No. 35 in the United States and No. 10 in Australia.

The album was preceded by the single "Over You", a No. 5 UK hit that also provided the band with a rare US chart entry at No. 80. Two more hit singles followed: "Oh Yeah" (UK #5) and "Same Old Scene" (UK No. 12, AUS #35). Flesh + Blood also included two cover versions: The Byrds' "Eight Miles High" and Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour". The latter was released as a single in some territories. In addition, the album's title track along with the aforementioned "Over You" and "Eight Miles High" peaked at number forty-six on the Billboard dance charts.[6]

The album was made after their drummer Paul Thompson had left the band, essentially making Roxy Music a three-piece band consisting of Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera.

Cover artwork[edit]

The album cover features three models holding spears (The third model is featured on the back cover), whom were hired by the photographer (their identities remain unknown), the cover artwork was designed by Peter Saville with no input from Ferry, continuing the tradition for Roxy Music albums to feature images of women on the cover artwork.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Roxy Music's seventh studio album has received mixed reviews from rock critics. Ken Tucker panned it in his Rolling Stone review, "Flesh + Blood is such a shockingly bad Roxy Music record that it provokes a certain fascination. The line on early Roxy (when Eno was a member) was that the band radiated high-tech decadence, and Flesh + Blood connects with this historical interpretation by confirming the decadent part: e.g., what could be more outré right now than an art-rock disco album?.[8] The New Rolling Stone Record Guide gave it three stars and said "Manifesto and Flesh and Blood, released after the band split up between 1976 and 1978, were good of their kind, but they lacked the spark that made some of the earlier albums so grand."[9] Stephen Thomas Erlewine states "even the handful of undeniably strong moments can't erase the feeling that Roxy Music were beginning to run out of ideas."[10] Pitchfork rated the record a 6.6 (the lowest of any of the studio Roxy Music albums) complaining "But the later material isn't always worthwhile. There are moments on 1980's Flesh and Blood, in particular, where the band stop sounding tired and start sounding bored, a fatal difference."[11] David Hepworth, writing in Smash Hits, said, "Original followers [of the band] may find it low on character and surprise while lovers of the mighty "Over You" should be suckers for its mature, silky charms."[5]

The singles released from the album have garnered more critical acclaim. The first single "Over You" is the only Roxy Music single included in Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. "Over You" is ranked at #511 in the book. Marsh writes "Roxy Music from time to time produced slices of music that were compulsively listenable, adding a dangerous groove to a fantasy Top 40 (since none of them actually reached it, in the States at least) in which such ironic distance might have actually communicated something other than the performers' feelings of inherent superiority to the genres in which they trafficked. Invariably, these pieces presented themselves as singles. Among the more memorable were "Do the Strand," and "Love is the Drug," a trenchant satire (I think) of love songs and romantic love per se. Best of all, though, was "Over You," its title a multilayered pun (which was perhaps even scatological in some dimensions), its topic an essence of banality, but its groove irresistible. Ferry's singing succumbs to the seductions of the beat and actually shows some life, so that even though the lyrics are actually quite as predictable as they want to be, their juxtaposition with heavily romantic piano chords, synth riffs, and Andy Mackay's soprano sax solo lends them a lush romanticism, as if the love song overlay were genuinely felt by all concerned."[12] Rob Sheffield writes "Ferry had always founded his most arcane art notions on an unshakeable passion for pop. Roxy's quintessential song from this era is 1980's "Over You." Ferry glides through the trance-like groove with the mantra "Wish I was somewhere/Over You." until he starts ascending into the ether, leaving his fickle lover behind, soaring higher through glaze and gloss. Then the song fades out and Ferry starts the act again. This approach can get wearing, especially if you don't believe that tears-in-my-caviar heartbreak is a spiritual quest. But when Bryan's on, as in Manifesto's Dance Away or Flesh + Blood's Oh Yeah, its impossible not to fall for him."[13] Allmusic.com in a review of the single: "Over You" represents one of the crowning achievements of Roxy Music's last years, a hauntingly hypnotic love song which spirals along on a warm bed of rhythm and guitar, interspersed with a few slabs of classic Roxy dissonance, and interrupted by some classic Beatles-ish guitar from Phil Manzanera."[14]

Jonathan Rigby praised the second single from the album, writing "If Dance Away achieved Ferry's long-held ambition and became accepted as a modern standard, it's hard to see why the same accolade has yet to be bestowed on Oh Yeah, which is perhaps the most limpidly beautiful ballad in his portfolio."[15] Allmusic.com in its review states "The sequence of exquisite singles that Roxy Music rattled off as the late '70s became the early '80s was highlighted by any number of songs which, dispassionately, could be ranked among Bryan Ferry's purest pop visions yet. "Oh Yeah" surely edges them all, however, not only for its own understanding of the genre's traditions (an everyday story of boy meets girl, in car with radio), but also via its reinvention over a decade later, when London Suede (surely the most convincing of all Roxy's stylistic heirs) borrowed both a lyric and the mood for their own The Wild Ones."[16]

David Buckley writes, "The third single, Same Old Scene, was the best of the three. Roxy's most perfect dance record, its unstoppable groove, funky, Chic-like bass and blasts of Sax made it another sizeable hit ... That single, more than any other from the Roxy oeuvre, appeared to have been internalized by the incipient London club scene at the time. By 1981, the charts would be full of songs with a similarly musical trajectory: rumbling disco bass, clipped, riffy guitar and a smooth vocal over the top."[17] Paul Stump in Unknown Pleasures says the song "was imprinted upon every new popster's eardrum almost immediately, most notably upon Duran Duran who first built a debut single (Planet Earth) and then a career upon this one brief moment of Roxy Music studio harmonization."[18]

Live performances and Tour[edit]

Just over half of this album has been played live over the course of the band's career, most of the performances coming from the then "Roxy Music Flesh + Blood" tour in 1980-81 supporting the album. The tour had to have some dates cancelled to Bryan Ferry having a kidney infection. The band performed "Jealous Guy", for the first time at a show in Germany at the time when John Lennon was murdered. This tribute performance was the inspiration for the band to record the song and release it as a single.[19]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Bryan Ferry except as noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "In the Midnight Hour" (Wilson Pickett, Steve Cropper) 3:09
2. "Oh Yeah"   4:51
3. "Same Old Scene"   3:57
4. "Flesh and Blood"   3:08
5. "My Only Love"   5:16
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Over You" (Ferry, Phil Manzanera) 3:27
2. "Eight Miles High" (Gene Clark, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn) 4:55
3. "Rain, Rain, Rain"   3:20
4. "No Strange Delight" (Ferry, Manzanera) 4:44
5. "Running Wild" (Ferry, Manzanera) 5:03

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Position
1980 UK Albums Chart 1[20]
US Billboard Pop Albums 35

Singles

Year Single Chart Position
1980 "Over You" UK Singles Chart 5
Billboard Pop Singles 80
"Oh Yeah" UK Singles Chart 5
"The Same Old Scene" UK Singles Chart 12
Australia 35

Certifications[edit]

Organization Level Date
BPI – UK Gold 19 June 1980
Platinum 30 October 1980
Preceded by
Peter Gabriel by Peter Gabriel
Back in Black by AC/DC
UK Albums Chart number one album
28 June 1980 – 4 July 1980
23 August 1980 – 12 September 1980
Succeeded by
Emotional Rescue
by The Rolling Stones
Telekon by Gary Numan

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "allMusic ((( Flesh + Blood > Review )))". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  2. ^ Brackett, Nathan. "Roxy Music". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. November 2004. pg. 705, cited 17 March 2010
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Roxy Music". robertchristgau.com, Retrieved on 17 March 2010.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b Hepworth, David. "Albums". Smash Hits (June 12–25 1980): 31. 
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974–2003. Record Research. p. 223. 
  7. ^ http://debris-slide.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/roxy-music-album-covers-as-ranked-in.html
  8. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/flesh-blood-19800904
  9. ^ Marsh, David. "Roxy Music". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. October 1983. pg. 437
  10. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/flesh-blood-mw0000202230
  11. ^ http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/16810-roxy-music-the-complete-studio-recordings-1972-1982/
  12. ^ Marsh, David. "The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. 1999. pg. 338–339
  13. ^ Weisbard, Eric. "Roxy Music". Spin Alternative Record Guide. October 1995. pg. 337
  14. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/song/over-you-mt0039842822
  15. ^ Rigby, Jonathan. Roxy Music: Both Ends Burning. 2008. pg 226.
  16. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/song/oh-yeah-mt0008255731
  17. ^ Buckley, David. The Thrill of It All: The Story of Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music. 2004. pg 379–380
  18. ^ quoted in Rigby, Jonathan. Roxy Music: Both Ends Burning. 2008. pg. 227
  19. ^ http://www.vivaroxymusic.com/tours_9.php
  20. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1980s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2011.