Sunday, 9 August 2015

Glam - Roxy Music

It's not like Roxy Music need any endorsement from the likes of me, but Lord were they great or what? The first two albums were magnificent, then Eno left the band in 1973 and everyone wondered whether they could survive with the same level of artistic genius. In response they released their best ever album in Stranded, whence comes this track, 'Psalm'.

There was always a strong vein of religious imagery in glam rock, from the leper messiah of Ziggy Stardust through to Cockney Rebel's debut single 'Sebastian', with its echoes of the early Christian martyr. And it did tend to be tied in with sex and death. 'It wasn't only Uncle Peter's airbrushed black and white dirty mags with enigmatic titles like Spick and Span that got me going,' remembered Richard Strange, singer with the Doctors of Madness. 'Talk of death or religious ecstasy would provoke exactly the same physical response.'

Roxy tended to be a bit more romantic than that, but the connections were still there to be made. Shortly after the release of Stranded, Bryan Ferry talked about his love of the metaphysical poet John Donne: 'All these gay blades getting up to this incredible hanky panky when they were young - but who at the same time wrote very moving love poetry until they ultimately approached religion with the same fanatical zeal.'

This live version of 'Psalm' is from a German television appearance, complete with false start. It lasts nine minutes and it has a hypnotic beauty.


And this brings us to the end of glam week, where we have previously enjoyed Cockney Rebel, Eno and the Winkies, Another Pretty Face, Space Waltz, the Glitter Band and the Sweet. But this has merely scratched a glittery surface - I shall return at some future point.

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