Thursday, March 28, 2013

The T.A.M.I. Show

It was a landmark event in the history of All Things Rockin'. Don't just take my word for it, ask The United States Library Of Congress who deemed it "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in The National Film Registry. It was a movie in which a whole bunch of rockers got together to do what they do. It was The T.A.M.I. Show, and what a show it was.
The T.A.M.I. Show itself was a mind-numbing Woodstockian array of the biggest rock, pop and soul talent of the time, with a diversity unthought of in these modern days. Just look at the poster at the top of this post. The show was held on October 28th and 29th, 1964 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. And how much did it cost for admission to see 12 of the biggest record sellers on earth live? How about nothing! Zero dollars! Free! Yes, free tickets were distributed to local high school students.  Those were indeed the days.

The film was shot by director Steve Binder and his crew from The Steve Allen Show. It utilized a new (at the time) technique called Electronovision, a precursor to today's High Definition TV invented by technician Bill Sargent. It is considered a seminal event in the pioneering of music videos. The best footage from each of the two shows was edited into the film and released on December 29, 1964. Jan And Dean emceed the event and also performed. The music director was Jack Nitzsche.

James Brown was there...with The Famous Flames...and of course he blew everyone off the stage. This is merely a fact of life. It doesn't matter who you are, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Rolling Stones...if you share a bill with James you will be blown off the stage. No shame, it's just the way it is. Funny thing about the Stones is director Steve Binder persuaded the group to close the show, following Brown. Rolling Stone Keith Richards himself said it was a huge mistake, knowing that no matter how well they performed they could not top him.

The Supremes also appeared  and at the time they were the most successful female group in the world. Director Steve Binder would go on to work with Diana Ross on several of her TV specials. Numerous dancers appeared in the background and next to the acts. Among them were future stars Teri Garr and Toni Basil. The show was choreographed by David Winters who went on to do the same for the TV show Hullabaloo and the 1976 film version of A Star Is Born.
A lesser-known sequel to this film, The Big T.N.T. Show followed in 1966. Both were produced by executive producer Henry G. Saperstein.
The house band for the show was known as the Wrecking Crew and included the likes of  guitarists Glen Campbell and Tommy Tedesco, drummer Hal Blaine and pianist Leon Russell.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Barry White

Musician, composer, singer...conductor, producer, disco pioneer, cartoon character, master of the love song...if this were the game show Jeopardy the correct response would very likely be "Who is Barry White?" In his time on this earth he was all these things and much more.
"The Maestro", as he became known, was born Barry Eugene Carter in Galveston, Texas on September 4,1944. He learned to play piano at a young age...a very young age...young enough to have played piano on Jesse Belvin's 1956 hit single, "Goodnight My Love" at the age of 12!  He grew up, however in South Central, Los Angeles, a high-crime area. Consequently, he was exposed to and participated in gang and criminal activity. This led to his arrest at 17 for stealing $30,000 worth of Cadillac tires and being sentenced to four months in jail. He would later say that hearing Elvis Presley singing "It's Now Or Never" on the radio during his imprisonment was what changed the course of his life. After his release he left the gang life and began singing in local groups. 

It was with one of these groups, The Upfronts, that he made his recording debut singing bass background vocals on the moderate local hit "Too Far To Turn Around" in 1960. That bass voice would eventually end up front and center all over the world. In the meantime he would start out working for several independent labels while recording his own solo singles during the 60s. White was hired as an A&R (artists and repetoire) man by Bob Keane of Del-Fi Records (Keane was the man who discovered Ritchie Valens) and worked as producer, arranger and musician for label acts including The Bobby Fuller Four ("I Fought The Law') and Viola Wills. He discovered Felice Taylor and Bob And Earl and arranged their respective releases "I Feel Love Comin' On" and "Harlem Shuffle", both big hits in the U.K. He also (I kid you not) wrote "Doin' The Banana Split" for  the children's TV act The Banana Splits.

Now, when an artist reaches the stature of international superstar such as Barry White has, it stands to reason that a big break must have occured somewhere, and in this case it was in 1972 when White began producing Love Unlimited, a female vocal trio he discovered and had been grooming for two years up until their signing with Uni Records. White produced, arranged and mostly composed Love Unlimited's 1972 debut LP, From A Girl's Point Of View We Give To You...Love Unlimited, which became a million seller. The single from the album, a nicely rendered Barry White composition entitled "Walkin' In The Rain With The One I Love", went to #14 in the U.S. pop charts, #6 in the U.S. RnB charts and #12 in the U.K. The song features White's voice as the man who answers the phone call of the female lead voice.

White and Love Unlimited left Uni Records and signed with 20th Century Records from which they produced several other hits, including "I Belong To You" which spent over five months on the RnB charts (one week at #1), and "Under The Influence Of Love" which hit #3 on the U.S. pop charts. White married Love Unlimited's lead singer, Glodean James, on July 4, 1974.
With the intention of working with another act, this time a solo male vocalist, White recorded a handful of demo recordings with his voice hoping to find a singer for them. Record company executive Larry Nunes heard the tracks and insisted that White re-record them for himself. White was hesitant, but after weeks of urging, he finally finished his own debut album, I've Got So Much To Give. This album contained his first hit "I'm Gonna Love Just A Little Bit More, Baby" which went to #1 on the RnB charts and to #3 on the pop charts. The poor man was dragged kicking and screaming into stardom as the song spent several weeks in the Top 40.

Through the 70s, Barry White pretty much lived in the Top 10. He produced seven #1 albums and six #1 singles on the RnB charts. "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up", "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe", "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me" are but a few of his many classic soul hits. The word "classic" in this case is quite appropriate in that these songs and quite a bit more have become RnB radio staples. The name "Barry White" has in fact become the gold standard in the art of the love song. He also has built a strong following in the U.K., scoring five top 10 hits and a #1 for "You're The First, The Last, My Everything".

Another of White's accomplishments was the creation of  the 40-piece Love Unlimited Orchestra, originally formed as a backing ensemble for the group Love Unlimited, but in 1974 White released an all instrumental album featuring the orchestra titled Rapshody In White. The LP yielded the magnificent composition "Love's Theme" which went to #1 on the Billboard pop charts, one of only a handful of instrumental songs to do so. White made more albums with the orchestra but never achieving the level of success of the first. While ceasing to record in 1983, they still provide live support for White.

He left 20th Century Records in 1979 to start his own label, Unlimited Gold with CBS-Columbia Records. Disco's popularity was winding down  by then, and as a result White's subsequent album releases did not continue the success of before. He did however maintain a strong and loyal following internationally for his entire career. No singles managed to chart during this period except 1982's "Change" which went to #12 on the RnB charts. This along with the financial toll of running a label resulted in the label's shutdown in 1983.
He signed with A&M Records in 1987 and released The Right Night And Barry White, the single from which, "Sho' You Right" went to #17 RnB.
He gained more momentum with the 1989 LP The Man Is Back, which contained three top 40 singles.

His comeback began in earnest with his appearance on the 1990 Quincy Jones LP Back On The Block and his contribution, "Secret Garden" which went to #1 RnB. Each album he recorded after that was more successful than the last, returning to the #1 spot with the 1994 album The Icon Is Love with the single "Practice What You Preach". Both the album and single went to #1, the single being his first #1 in twenty years. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award. While he did not win that time, the title track from his final album Staying Power won him two in 1999 for Best RnB and Best Traditional RnB.

I mentioned that Barry White was also a cartoon character, and he certainly was on a couple of episodes of The Simpsons where he appeared  as an animated version of himself. He also guest starred on two episodes of Ally Mc Beal, again as himself, non animated. He also performed in a number of duets, most notably with Tina Turner on "In Your Wildest Dreams" and comedian Chris Rock on "Basketball Jones" from the soundtrack of the animated movie Space Jam. Also on his extensive resume' were numerous commercial voice-overs for Arby's Restaurants, Apple Computers, Oldsmobile and others.

Overweight for most of his life, Barry White suffered from various health problems in his later years, mostly stemming from high blood pressure and diabetes. This eventually caused him to retire from public life due to kidney failure in 2002. While undergoing dialysis while awaiting a kidney transplant, he suffered a stroke in May of 2003. On the morning of July 4, 2003, Barry White passed away due to total renal failure at The Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was cremated, his ashes scattered along the California coast by his family.
He was many things in his fifty-nine years, but for most of us he was a legendary craftsman of love songs.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

One Hit Wonders # 9 - The Rossington-Collins Band

This edition of One Hit Wonders comes to us from a band born of tragedy. On October 20, 1977, just five shows into what was their mot successful headlining tour to date, a private jet carrying the band Lynyrd Skynyrd and members of their road crew ran out of fuel near the end of their flight from Greenville, South Carolina. Despite the pilots' brave attempts to execute an emergency landing, the plane crashed killing band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, their assistant road manager and both pilots in addition to seriously injuring the remaining passengers. Guitarists Allen Collins and Gary Rossington managed to recover from their almost career-ending injuries and rather than attempt to re-form Lynyrd Skynyrd at that time opted instead  in 1979 to form a new band, enlisting ex-38 Special backup vocalist Dale Krantz as lead vocalist, guitarist Barry Lee Harwood and ex- Lynyrd Synyrd bassist Leon Wilkerson. Another Skynyrd alumnus, Artimus Pyle, was set to fill the drummer position but broke his leg in a car crash. Pyle insisted that the band not wait for him to recuperate, so the spot was filled by band aquaintance Derek Hess. The band was christened The Rossington-Collins Band and recorded two albums before disbanding in 1982. Their One Hit, 1980's "Don't Misunderstand Me" appeared on their debut LP, Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere and opens with a quite un-Skynyrd-like riff that grooves nicely and drives hard. The verses are traded off between Harwood and Krantz, the latter displaying formidable pipes that bring to mind the likes of Maggie Bell and Genya Ravan. Add Gary Rossington's strong lead work, the guitars de-tuned from E to D, giving the riff added weight, and you have a fine example of southern rock leaning slightly to the commercial side. It peaked at #9 and went platinum.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Herman's Hermits

The first thing that needs to be said about this band is that despite their squeaky-clean, cuddly extremely pop image, These boys could play. A group of quite capable musicians, they cut their teeth playing RnB covers in clubs while all in their teens. Hailing from Manchester, England, they got together in 1963 with original members Keith Hopwood and Karl Green both on guitar and vocals, bassist Alan Wrigley, drummer Steve Titterington and 15-year-old lead vocalist Peter Noone. Later on guitarist Derek "Lek Leckenby and drummer Barry Whitwam, both formerly of a band called The Wailers (obviously not THE Wailers) replaced Wrigley and Titterington. Green switched to bass guitar and Leckenby took over as lead guitarist. Shortly after, the group secured a contract with producer Mickie Most signing with EMI's Columbia Records in Europe and MGM Records in the United States. Bassist Green noted a resemblance between Noone and the Sherman character in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. As the story goes, they shortened "Sherman " to "Herman" and called themselves Herman And The Hermits, shortened later to simply "Herman's Hermits". As good a story as any, I suppose. The band played on most of it's singles, including their first, 1964's "I'm Into Something Good" 

Despite the group's collective youth, they were seasoned practicioners of their craft. Noone himself was also an experienced actor at 15 having been on the hugely popular British soap opera Coronation Street. Under Mickie Most's guidance however, the emphasis was placed on their cute looks and non-threatening presence resulting in an exremely easy-listening sort of pop, much of which were confectionized cover tunes such as Ray Davies' "Dandy", Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World", Goldie And The Gingerbreads' "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat" and The Ray's' "Silhouettes". The group (particularly Noone) was even urged to exaggerate their Mancunian accents to further emphasize their cuteness.

Despite the fact that they were competent musicians, producer Mickie Most used session players on all of the band's releases utilizing Jimmy Page, Big Jim Sullivan, John Paul Jones, Vic Flick and other such mercenaries with contributions from the Hermits, particularly Derek Leckenby. The use of session musicians was a common practice at the time as it is today. Even highly respected "serious" bands such as the Yardbirds with their amazing guitarists and The Rolling Stones with multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones made extensive use of outside players. The fact is, Herman's Hermits  did much more of their own playing than they have gotten credit for.The following video illustrates the band's competence as they sail through the number flawlessly missing nary a beat despite the constant throwing of debris onto the stage.

In 1965 and 1966 the group rivalled The Beatles in chart success in the United States, but were not nearly as big in their native England. The band's management admitted deliberately aiming the group at the American fan base, and it showed. In 1965 Herman's Hermits were the top-selling pop group in America. The group was nominated for two Grammy Awards that year for the single "Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter", a song the band recorded as an afterthought in two takes, never intending to release it at all, let alone as a single.
In addition to recording music on the MGM label, the band also appeared in several MGM feature films including 1965's When The Boys Meet The Girls, 1966's Hold On, and the anthology Pop Gear. After releasing three more albums in 1967 through 1968 including There's A Kind Of A Hush, Peter Noone left the band.

After Noone's departure the band carried on for a while as The Hermits with Peter Cowap as lead vocalist. They recorded a few singles  with minor success in the U.K., as well as an unreleased LP. Eventually Hopwood and Leckenby started a music company, Pluto Music which was still in business as of 2011 specializing in commercial and animation soundtracks. Hopwood has since become a composer of television and movie scores. Green became a sound systems manager for concert venues in London. Whitwam continues to tour as "Herman's Hermits Starring Barry Whitwam". Peter Noone returned to touring as well billed as Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone", and is still seen hosting public television pledge drives.
Derek Leckenby died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1994.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Delfonics

Throughout the history of All Things Rockin', and specifically in this case soul and/or RnB music, different styles of the genre were identified by the regions in the United States from which the particular artists came from or at least produced their best work. We had The Motown Sound, The Stax/Volt sound from Memphis, Chicago Soul and The Philadelphia or "Philly" Sound which gave us this pioneering vocal group, The Delfonics. Brothers William and Wilbert Hart, Randy Cain and Ritchie Daniels got together while attending Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, Pa. They called themselves The Four Gents in the beginning, then changed into The Orphonics before finally settling on The Delfonics. Their first recording was "He Don't Really Love You" on the local Moon Shot label in 1966, shortly after which Daniels was drafted into military service. In 1968 the remaining trio was introduced to Cameo-Parkway Records producer Stan Watson who in turn got them together with fellow producer Thom Bell resulting in the group's first album release on Watson's own Philly Groove label. The title track from this LP, "La La Means I Love You" was released as a single in 1968, sold over a million copies and was awarded a gold record.

This was the beginning of a string of successful Bell-produced releases. Working with a basic budget in those early days, there was not enough money to pay string sections and the like so in addition to a small group of musicians Bell played many of the instruments himself. Even then you could hear the beginnings of what would become the trademark fully orchestrated arrangements of the Philadelphia International sound carried on by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in later years. Other hits followed, including 1969's Grammy-winning "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time).

Randy Cain left the group in 1971 to be replaced by Major Harris. By this time, Thom Bell had moved on to produce The Stylistics,who were cast in the same falsetto-lead -voiced mold as The Delfonics, and ex-Motown group The Spinners. With Bell's attentions focused elsewhere, Stan Watson assumed the producer's role for the group but was not able to match the Delfonics' past successes. After a few minor hits and one or two outright misses, the group split in 1975.

Saying that the group "split" is actually a gross simplification. More accurately, the group began a series of reshuffling that at times was downright confusing because the only constant was the name "The Delfonics". Wilbert and William Hart each had a trio of the same name. Randy Cain returns to Wilbert's group, then leaves to join William's group. There finally was basically two groups. The main recording line-up was William Hart, Major Harris and Frank Washington. Two separate trios would then tour with additional members as needed. One sure thing was, amid all this running about, Major Harris managed to record a major hit (pun intended) with a masterfully executed ballad titled "Love Won't Let Me Wait"

In addition to being proven hitmakers, The Delfonics had quite the impact on the industry at large. Their songs, written and co-writen mostly by lead singer William Hart, have been sampled extensively by artists such as The Wu-Tang Clan, Notorious B.I.G., Missy Elliott, Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince and Boyz II Men. T heir music has found its way into movie soundtracks, most notably Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown. Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, Swing Out Sister, Prince and The Manhattan Transfer are only a partial list of those who have covered The Delfonics' songs.
Groups led by both William and Wilbert Hart still tour sporadically to this day.
Randy Cain passed away at his home in Maple Shade, New Jersey April 9, 2009
Major Harris died of congestive heart and lung failure on November 9, 2012
Cain was 63, Harris was 65.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Another good thing about "The Good Old Days" is that we were able to regularly see our favorite rock, pop and RnB acts on the TV. Variety shows were quite popular once upon a time, what with The Ed Sullivan Show, Hollywood Palace, The Smothers Brothers and more that featured a weekly offering of music, comedy and other forms of entertainment crammed into an hour of programming. This also left a niche for shows featuring pop music acts aimed at younger audiences wanting to see the artists they listen to so faithfully on the radio. Elsewhere in this blog I've disscussed such shows broadcast in the U.S. and the U.K. Hullabaloo was one such show.
Built along the lines of Shindig and American Bandstand, Hullabaloo was an American show that ran on the NBC network in prime time from January 12, 1965 to August 29, 1966. A showcase for the top pop acts of the day, it was directed by Steve Binder, who went on to direct Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback Special. Different celebrity hosts were used each week who introduced the acts and performed themselves. While some shows were taped in NBC's Burbank, California studios, most were done in the network's New York City location.  Some earlier segments were even taped in the U.K. and hosted by Brian Epstein. The show was in colour, but oddly enough most were copied in kinescope (black and white) which is how they are seen today. It was originally a one hour broadcast, but was later cut to 30 minutes and remained so until the end of it's run when it was replaced by... The Monkees!
to follow are some of the acts that appeared on Hullabaloo.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Top Five Songs By The Temptations

It's been a while since I did one of these lists, So why not now? Nothing? Anybody? Okay then, here we go...
This list is about my personal favorite RnB vocal group, and one of the proven greatest of all time, The Temptations. I've gone on elsewhere in this blog about the many virtues of this group, so I won't repeat myself here. I'll just say these gentlemen have given us some of the highest quality music ever to bless an ear, and to follow are, in order of my own personal favorites, their top five songs and why.

#5) Cloud Nine
In 1969 Otis Williams, after hearing music by Sly And The Family Stone, suggested to producer Norman Whitfield that maybe they could try similar material. This song not only marks the beginning of a new Temptations era, but it was also the debut of the Mark II lineup with new singer Dennis Edwards.

#4) Don't Look Back
The tragic,immensely moving voice of the troubled Paul Williams. He never sang enough for my tastes and he left us far too soon.

#3) Treat Her Like A Lady
The Temptations in the 80s...and the debut of Ali Ollie Woodson who may not be everyone's favorite Temptations vocalist, he was arguably the most technically gifted. Probably the best from this era.

#2) You're My Everything
The velvet falsetto of the also gone-too-soon Eddie Kendricks singing the exquisitely pleading lyrics of Roger Penzabene, This one of the greatest songs of the Norman Whitfield era. There were a few worthy high tenors to fill Kendricks' spot, most notably the recently deceased Otis Damon Harris, but nobody, I mean nobody sounded like Eddie. Also some of the finest orchestration heard on a Motown recording.

#1) My Girl
This song is #1 because it is not only the group's signature tune, It is also one of the most well-known pop songs ever. The Funk Bothers' Frank White's (RIP) guitar intro is universally recognizable. The group's dance steps for the song are even classic, unchanged to this day regardless of the line-up. William "Smokey" Robinson wrote the lyrics dedicated to his then-wife Claudette and intended to have The Miracles record the song,  co-written with Miracle Ronald White. But Smokey, astute as ever, detected the immense untapped potential in Temptation David Ruffin and decided to make this song the first vehicle for his gritty, emotive lead voice. The rest is freakin' history as they gave birth to not only a classic song, but an American icon.

This list of course, is totally my own subjective opinion. If anyone thinks I got it wrong, I'd love to hear your list and/or comments about mine. That's what it's all about, after all.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Roxy Music

 'In November of 1970 a ceramics teacher at a British girls school by the name of Bryan Ferry was fired from his job. No, not for the reason you're thinking (minds out of the gutter, people!). It seemed that Mr. Ferry preferred to use up valuable ashtray-making time to play rock and roll recordings for his student's listening pleasure. Shortly after his dismissal, Ferry placed an ad in the venerable rock publication Melody Maker for a keyboardist to collaborate on musical projects. During this time in late 1970 Ferry also auditioned for the band King Crimson for the vocalist spot left vacant by the departure of Greg Lake. While Ferry turned out to be not what the band was looking for, bandleader Peter Sinfield was impressed enough to help Ferry secure a contract with E.G Records. In the meantime, Ferry's ad was answered, not by a keyboardist but by saxophonist Andy McKay and friend Brian Eno. While not a musician, Eno knew how to operate a synthesizer and shared, along with McKay Ferry's love for avant-garde and electronic music. The three decided to join forces. Another ad was placed for "a wonder drummer" which resulted in the addition of Paul Thompson. As the result of yet another ad, this time for "the  perfect guitarist", twenty hopefuls showed up, among them one Phil Manzanera who, though quite proficient, was not chosen. The position went instead to David O'List, formerly of The Nice. The band was still sufficiently impressed with Manzanera to offer him a job as a roadie, which he accepted. He also, unbeknownst to the band learned all of the band's repetoire. As it turned out, in early 1972 O'List had an altercation with drummer Thompson and consequently was asked to leave, wherein the band immediately gave the job to Manzanera. 

The band was originally named Roxy which was Ferry's tribute to the old theatres and dance halls. Upon finding out about an American band with the same name, the change was made to Roxy Music. Visually, the band certainly stood out from most. With Ferry's secret agent/gigolo, Mckay's beach boy from outer space and Eno's androgynist vampire, their look was a calculated potpourri of styles. Their sophisticated fusion of Brit-pop, soul and retro influences proved both arty and artful. Topped off with Ferry's vocal style which basically defined the word "croon", you had an arrestingly appealing
yet challenging act.
Interesingly enough, Roxy Music never really had a permanent bass guitarist. Those filling the spot included Rik Kenton, Graham Simpson, John Gustafson, John Wetton and Rick Wills. Of them all, Gustafson in my opinion was the best fit both musically and visually, and indeed spent the most time in the band's ranks.
The band's epynomous debut album, produced by King Crimson's Peter Sinfield, went into the U.K. top 10 in 1972. The non-LP singles "Virginia Plain" and "Pyjamarama" also hit the high end of the charts in Britain. While the U.K. readily embraced the band critically and commercially, America proved to be a tougher nut to crack chart-wise, despite positive critical reviews in the U.S.

The next LP, For Your Pleasure was the start of a long and fruitful partnership with producer Chris Thomas. It was also the end of the band's partnership with Brian Eno, who departed the band due to differences with Ferry about the band's direction and Ferry's dominance song-wise. Eno was replaced by 19-year old Eddie Jobson. Jobson was a classically trained keyboardist/violinist formerly of the prog-rock band Curved Air. An accomplished musician and dazzling violinist, Jobson brought a greater refinement to the band's sound and in addition to freeing Ferry from keyboard duties onstage, he also added to the song writing. Eno himself acknowledged the quality of the material following his departure.

It wasn't until their fourth album,1974's Country Life that Roxy Music managed to crack the U.S. top 40, albeit at #37, yet with widespread critical acclaim. Their fifth album Siren was the one that got them their first actual U.S. hit, "Love Is The Drug", peaking at #30 in 1975. After touring in support of that LP, they disbanded for a short time to concentrate on individual solo projects, paricularly Ferry who was carving out a successful solo career. During this time a live album, Viva! was released in 1976.

The band reunited in 1978 to record the album Manifesto, their highest charting U.S. release at #20. This would  be without Eddie Jobson who by this time had joined the band U.K. with John Wetton and Bill Bruford. The album would produce two major British hits "Angel Eyes"(#3)  and "Dance Away" (#4). This would begin a distinct change in musical style to a smoother, less challenging direction. This was met with mixed critical reviews. After a tour and the recording of the next album, Flesh And Blood, Paul Thompson would leave the band permanently after breaking his thumb.He would turn up again later in the band Concrete Blonde (elsewhere in this blog).

In 1981 Roxy Music recorded a cover of the John Lennon composition "Jealous Guy" as a tribute to the slain Beatle. It went to the top of the British charts to become their only #1 single and was awarded a gold record in the United States ultimately reaching platinum status. Later their sombre, atmospherically crafted eighth and final studio release Avalon redeemed the band's critical status and was commercially successful on the strength of the single "More Than This", which went platinum in the U.S. After extensive touring they disbanded in 1983.

From 2001, the band would regroup sporadically for festivals and the like up to this day. Their influence is seen in a generation of style-oriented artists. Those who acknowledge Roxy Music's influence include The Human League, Duran Duran, Annie Lennox, The Psychedelic Furs, Nile Rodgers, The Cars and many more.  The British band Madness (elsewhere in this blog) recorded a tribute to Bryan Ferry called "4BF", a reference to the song "2HB" that was itself a tribute to Humphrey Bogart and appeared on the first Roxy Music album.
For their role in making style and substance equally vital in all things rockin', I have to say Viva Roxy Music!