Bryan Ferry

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Bryan Ferry

Bryan Ferry (born September 26 1945 in Washington, Tyne and Wear) is a British singer, musician and songwriter, famed for his suave visual and vocal style, who came to public prominence in the 1970s as lead vocalist with Roxy Music. He is also noted for his alternative highly successful solo career.

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Born into a working-class family, Ferry studied fine art at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne before becoming a pottery teacher in London, all the while aiming for a career in music. He formed Roxy Music with a group of friends and acquaintances, initially just Graham Simpson who, like Ferry, had been part of a band called The Gas Board. The Roxy Music line-up expanded to include Andy MacKay and his acquaintance Brian Eno, who owned tape recorders and played Andy McKay's synthesiser. Other early members included a timpanist and ex-Nice guitarist David O'List, who were replaced respectively by Paul Thompson and Phil Manzanera before the band recorded its first album. (Early Peel sessions for UK radio station Radio 1 feature O'List's playing.)

Roxy Music's first hit, "Virginia Plain", just missed topping the charts, and they followed up with several hit singles and albums, with Ferry as vocalist and occasional instrumentalist (he taught himself piano in his mid-twenties) and Eno contributing synthesiser backing. Their sartorial style heralded the beginning of the glam rock phenomenon.

On a personal level, Bryan Ferry was known to date very beautiful women, who often appeared as cover models on the Roxy Music albums. Ferry dated Amanda Lear, who was photographed with a black jaguar on the cover of the "For Your Pleasure" album. She later went on to date and create music with David Bowie.

For many years, Bryan Ferry has collaborated with fashion designer Antony Price for clothing and image consultations. Price is famous for his London shop on King's Road. He created some of the best looking suits in world, and gained fame when celebrities and rock stars dressed in his designs.

By 1973 (see 1973 in music), Ferry had launched a parallel solo career, specialising in cover versions of old standards on albums such as These Foolish Things. Eno soon left Roxy Music, leaving Ferry its undisputed leader. Ferry then began a relationship with model Jerry Hall, and Roxy's success waned as his solo career took off. Hall appears in several of Ferry's music videos, including "Let's Stick Together" and "The Price of Love."

Ferry first met Hall when she posed for the Roxy Music album cover for "Siren," which was photographed in Wales during the Summer of 1975. Jerry Hall's autobiography ("Tall Tales") describes the photo session, and she elaborates on how the blue body paint she wore to look like a mythical siren would not wash off. Hall says that Ferry took her back to his house to help her remove the blue paint. Her stay at Ferry's Holland Park (London) home, following the album cover photo shoot, marks the start of their doomed affair.

Hall and Ferry eventually moved in together, sharing homes in London and in the ritzy Bel Air section of L.A. It was while Ferry was away on tour that Hall began a simultaneous affair with Mick Jagger. To this day, Ferry rarely speaks about Hall, but fans often speculate that his song "Kiss and Tell" from the Bete Noire album was Ferry's response to Hall's tell-all book about their relationship. Ferry often refuses to discuss his feelings about Hall or talk about their romantic history during interviews. Bryan Ferry's solo album The Bride Stripped Bare contains references to his break-up with Hall, who left him for Mick Jagger in late 1977. After this album fails to catapult his solo career, Ferry decides to reunite with Roxy Music to record new material.

Notably Ferry's Roxy Music bandmembers, particularly Paul Thompson, Phil Manzanera and Eddie Jobson took part in recording his subsequent solo material. After a couple of years as a solo artist, he re-formed the band and took them to new heights, the pinnacle of their success being their only UK number one hit, "Jealous Guy", released in tribute to John Lennon - ironically, the only one of their singles not written by Ferry.

Ferry eventually settled down to married life with Lucy Helmore, and they had four sons, including huntsman and political activist Otis Ferry. Bryan Ferry continued to record, and released albums that reached the UK top 10, such as Boys and Girls in 1985 (a number one album in Britain), Taxi in 1993, and As Time Goes By in 1999, a collection of 1930s standards. He even teamed up again with Brian Eno for Mamouna in 1994 (collaborating with Robin Trower on guitar and as producer), and its long-awaited follow-up Frantic in 2002, which mixed Ferry originals with covers - something that Ferry hadn't attempted on a solo album since The Bride Stripped Bare 14 years before.

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After lengthy ("debilitating") tours like the gruelling schedule used to promote the Avalon album in 1983, Ferry was rather reluctant to return to life on the road; however, a change of management persuaded him to try touring again in 1988 to belatedly promote the previous year's BÍte Noire release; he spoke enthusiastically about the experience and repeated it for Mamouna in 1994/1995.

In 1999 Bryan Ferry appeared with Alan Partridge (played by Steve Coogan) on BBC's Comic Relief. After taking some time off from his music, Ferry returned in [[1999]. He began to perform a mix of 1930s songs (from As Time Goes By) and songs of his own, including several from the Roxy collection. Surprisingly for anyone familiar with his 1980s persona, so focussed on intricate and ambitious studio work, Ferry has rarely been away from the stage since: there have been several tours, significant changes of personnel within his tour band and the largely successful reformation of Roxy Music as - so far - a live act, playing its repetoire to great acclaim. Ferry has admitted in interviews that all this might be a way of keeping his mind from other things, such as his divorce from his wife Lucy, granted in 2003.

Following his split from Lucy, British newspapers photographed Ferry with Katie Turner, naming her as his new "girlfriend." Ferry and Katie Turner met while she worked as one of the dancers during Roxy Music's concert tour in 2001. Katie is also featured on the DVD of the 2001 Hammersmith Odeon Show and has appeared with Bryan Ferry on several TV appearances to promote the 'Frantic' album. Katie also appeared in the live show during the 'Frantic' 2002 tour.

Ferry and his family experienced a big scare in December of 2000, when his British Airways flight from London's Gatwick Airport to Kenya was disrupted in a hijack attempt. A man named Paul Mukonyi burst into the cockpit of the Boeing 747 flying to Nairobi. As three crew fought to restrain Mukonyi, 27, a mental patient from Kenya, the jet plunged downward about 10,000 feet. Ferry and his family were in grave danger during the disruption, but pilots recovered the aircraft and all passengers landed safely.

In 2004, he starred in the short film The Porter ( Bryan Ferry is currently working on his next solo album. Guitarist David Williams has been involved with some recent sessions for the album. There is no indication of an album title or release schedule as yet but the album is hopeful for 2005. Rumors have circulated that Ferry has a huge backlog of recorded music that has never been marketed or released.



Studio Albums

  1. "These Foolish Things" (October 1973, UK #5)
  2. "Another Time, Another Place" (July 1974, UK #4)
  3. "Let's Stick Together" (September 1976, UK #19, US #160)
  4. "In Your Mind" (February 1977, UK #5, US #126)
  5. "The Bride Stripped Bare" (April 1978, UK #13, US #159)
  6. "Boys And Girls" (May 1985, UK #1, US #63)
  7. "Bete Noire" (October 1987, UK #9, US #63)
  8. "Taxi" (13 April 1993, UK #2, US #79)
  9. "Mamouna" (20 September 1994, UK #11, US #94)
  10. "As Time Goes By" (15 October 1999, UK #16, US #199)
  11. "Frantic" (18 May 2002, UK #6, US #189)


  • "The Ultimate Collection" (Nov 1988, UK #6)
  • "Street Life: 20 Great Hits" (Apr 1986, UK #1, US #100 (1989)
  • "More Than This: The Best Of Bryan Ferry + Roxy Music" (Oct 1995, UK #15)
  • "Toyko Joe: The Best Of Bryan Ferry + Roxy Music" (May 1997, Japanese release)
  • "Slave To Love: Best Of The Ballads" (8 Aug 2000, UK #11)



  • "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" (Sep 1973, UK #10)
  • "The In Crowd" (Jul 1974, UK #13)
  • "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" (Aug 1974, UK #17)
  • "You Go To My Head" (Jun 1975, UK #33)
  • "Let's Stick Together" (Jun 1976, UK #4)
  • "Extended Play" (Aug 1976, UK #7)
  • "Heart On My Sleeve" (Oct 1976, US-only, #86)
  • "This Is Tomorrow" (Jan 1977, UK #9)
  • "Tokyo Joe" (Apr 1977, UK #15)
  • "What Goes On" (Apr 1978, UK #67)
  • "Sign Of The Times" (Jul 1978, UK #37)
  • "Carrickfergus" (Nov 1978, UK-only, did not chart)


  • "Slave To Love" (May 1985, UK #10)
  • "Don't Stop The Dance" (Aug 1985, UK #21)
  • "Windswept" (Nov 1985, UK #46)
  • "Is Your Love Strong Enough?" (Mar 1986, UK #22)
  • "Help Me" (Jul 1986, US-only)
  • "The Right Stuff" (Sep 1987, UK #37)
  • "Kiss and Tell" (Feb 1988, UK #41, US #31)
  • "Limbo" (Jun 1988, UK #91)
  • "Let's Stick Together '88" (Oct 1988, UK #12)
  • "The Price of Love '89" (Feb 1989, UK #46)
  • "He'll Have To Go" (Apr 1989, UK #63)


  • "I Put A Spell On You" (Feb 1993, UK #18)
  • "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" (May 1993, UK #23)
  • "Girl Of My Best Friend" (Aug 1993, UK #57)
  • "Your Painted Smile" (Oct 1994, UK #52)
  • "Mamouna" (Oct 1994, UK #57)
  • "Dance With Life (The Brilliant Light)" (1996, Germany only))
  • "As Time Goes By" (23 Nov 1999)


  • "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" (1 Apr 2002)
  • "Goddess Of Love" (12 Sep 2002)


  • Bracewell, Michael Roxy Music: Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno, Art, Ideas, and Fashion (Da Capo Press, 2005) ISBN 0306814005

External links

pl:Bryan Ferry sv:Bryan Ferry


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