Virginia Plain

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"Virginia Plain"
Roxy music-virginia plain.jpg
Single by Roxy Music
B-side"The Numberer"
ReleasedAugust 1972
Recorded10–12 July 1972 at Command Studios, London
GenreGlam rock[1]
LabelE.G. WIP6144
Songwriter(s)Bryan Ferry
Producer(s)Peter Sinfield
Roxy Music singles chronology
"Virginia Plain"

"Virginia Plain" is a song by English rock band Roxy Music, released as their debut single in August 1972. Written by Roxy frontman Bryan Ferry, the song was recorded by the band in July 1972 at London's Command Studios. Backed with "The Numberer", an instrumental composed by Andy Mackay, as a single the song became a Top 10 hit in the UK, peaking at number four.

The song was not included on the band's original UK debut album, Roxy Music, having not even been recorded when the album was released. After the success of the album in the UK, it was included on later re-issues. In 1977, it was re-released as a single, together with "Pyjamarama", originally the second Roxy Music single, to promote the Greatest Hits album, and reached number 11. Both "Virginia Plain" and "The Numberer" can be found on the 1995 The Thrill of it All boxset.

"Virginia Plain" features bass guitarist Rik Kenton, who joined after Graham Simpson left the band. It begins with a deceptively quiet introduction, followed by an instant increase of volume as soon as the vocals come in on the first verse.

Former art student Ferry took the title "Virginia Plain" from one of his own paintings, featuring an image of cigarette packaging - "Virginia Plain" is a variety of cigarette tobacco. Ferry later said in an interview:

It was a watercolour or a painting on paper. It was just like a surreal drawing of a giant cigarette packet, with a pin-up girl on it. I liked that phrase Virginia Plain…so it later became the title of the first single I put out with Roxy Music – with a slightly imponderable lyric... [2]

The name "Robert E. Lee" refers to music industry lawyer Robert Lee, practising at London law firm Harbottle & Lewis at the time.[3] Warhol superstar Baby Jane Holzer is also referenced in the lyrics "Baby Jane's in Acapulco / We are flying down to Rio" and "can't you see that Holzer mane?".

Phil Manzanera's guitar solo was improvised. He later claimed he played the first thing that came into his head.[4]


In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Savage, Jon (1 February 2013). "The 20 best glam-rock songs of all time". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Virginia Plain – Part 2". 14 March 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  3. ^ "FIRM PROFILE: Lee & Thompson - The Lawyer | Legal News and Jobs | Advancing the business of law The Lawyer | Legal News and Jobs | Advancing the business of law". The Lawyer. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  4. ^ "Virginia Plain by Roxy Music Songfacts". 2009-06-28. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2008-06-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]