The ‘80s: Roxy Music’s ‘Avalon’

roxymusic1In 1982, the English rock group Roxy Music released their 8th studio album, Avalon. This wound up being the band’s final album before founder and lead singer Bryan Ferry decided to disband the group and focus on an already successful solo career. The album was an incredible blend of lush tones, mellow synthesizer wizardry, and hypnotic rhythms which served as the foundation for Ferry’s beautiful yet haunting vocals, and is considered by many music critics to be the peak of the band’s musical maturity.

While the single “More Than This” only peaked at #102 on the charts in the U.S., it’s arguably the band’s most popular tune in the states. It did, however, reach the Top Ten in the U.K. and has been covered by dozens of artists worldwide. The song was also featured on the soundtrack for the film Matchstick Men starring Nicolas Cage, and Bill Murray performed the song in a memorable karaoke scene in the movie Lost In Translation. The album’s title track hit the Top 20 in the U.K. and featured vocals by Haitian singer Yanick Etienne. Fun Fact: Etienne is the mother of Dernst “D’Mile” Emile II, producer and rapper who’s worked with Rihanna, Janet Jackson and Diddy.

Avalon topped the charts in the U.K., Canada, and Australia. While it made a modest showing on the charts in the states, peaking at #53, it received critical acclaim, earning 4 ½ out of 5 stars in the Rolling Stone Album Guide, as well as receiving a ranking of #31 in the magazine’s list of “The 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s.” Entertainment Weekly gave it a #25 ranking in their “100 Greatest CDs A Love-It-Or-Loathe-It Guide to the Essential Disc Library,” and the Village Voice ranked Avalon #11 in their 1982 list of best albums.

—Montrose Cunningham

Montrose Cunningham is a Dallas, Texas-based, independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado, with a Master of Science degree in Marketing. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughters, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his release Inertia at www.cdbaby.com/cd/montrose, follow him on Twitter @MontroseC and check out his blog, Daddy Rock Star.

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