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.
Born into a working-class family (Ferry's father was a coal miner), Ferry studied fine art at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne under Richard Hamilton. His contemporaries included Tim Head and Nick de Ville. He became a pottery teacher in London, all the while aiming for a career in music. Bryan Ferry was, together with Graham Simpson, a member of the band, The Gas Board.
Bryan Ferry, eager to get famous, formed Roxy Music with a group of friends and acquaintances, initially just Graham Simpson. The Roxy Music line-up expanded to include Andy Mackay and his acquaintance Brian Eno, who owned tape recorders and played Andy Mackay's synthesizer. 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 synthesizer backing. After the first two albums, Brian Eno left Roxy Music, leaving Ferry its undisputed leader.
After the concert tours in support of Siren, Roxy Music temporarily disbanded in 1976. Ferry had already started a parallel solo career in 1973, specializing in cover versions of old standards on albums, such as These Foolish Things. Notably Ferry's Roxy Music bandmembers, particularly Paul Thompson, Phil Manzanera and Eddie Jobson took part in recording his subsequent solo material.
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 failed to catapult his solo career, Ferry decided to reunite with Roxy Music to record new material.
After a couple of years as a solo artist, Ferry re-formed the band. Roxy Music came recorded the successful albums Manifesto in 1978, Flesh and Blood in 1980 and Avalon in 1982. 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.
After lengthy tours like the grueling schedule used to promote the Avalon album in 1983, Bryan Ferry decided to put a hold on Roxy Music and continue as a solo artist.
Ferry eventually settled down to married life. He continued to record, and in 1985, the album, Boys and Girls, reached the number one position in Britain.
Ferry's performance at the London Live Aid in 1985 was judged as one of the flops of the event by some but by the end of his set the crowd were dancing again and his set was described as one of the most eagerly anticipated by the BBC. He was hit with technical difficulties on sound and the drummer's drumstick broke at the start of the first song, gSensationh. The difficulties in sound were overcome for gSlave to Loveh and gJealous Guyh (his number-one hit with Roxy Music and a tribute to John Lennon). As with other successful Live Aid acts his album of the time - Boys and Girls - remained in the chart for over a year.
After the Avalon promotion tours, 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 B¹ Noire release; he spoke enthusiastically about the experience and repeated it for Mamouna in 1994.
Bryan Ferry continued with Taxi in 1993, and teamed up again with Brian Eno for Mamouna in 1994 (collaborating with Robin Trower on guitar and as producer).
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 focused 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 repertoire 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.
Ferry, Manzanera, Mackay, and Thompson re-reformed Roxy Music in 2001 and toured extensively for a couple of years, not releasing any albums yet. However, with the help of Manzanera and Thompson, in 2002 Ferry returned with Frantic, the long-awaited follow-up for As Time Goes By. Frantic mixed Ferry originals with covers - something that Ferry hadn't attempted on a solo album since The Bride Stripped Bare fourteen years before.
In 2005, it was confirmed that Roxy Music (Ferry, Eno, Mackay, Manzanera, and Thompson) would be performing further shows at that year's Isle Of Wight festival and that they would also be recording a further album of new and original songs, with no indication of when such a project would reach completion. Brian Eno has confirmed that he has worked in the studio with Roxy once more and has co-written songs for the new album. He has remarked how the bands dynamic has not changed since he was a member in the early 1970s. He has also confirmed he will not tour with the band.
The legendary Bryan Ferry returns with his suave and sophisticated debut on Astralwerks Records, the brand new studio album Olympia (co-produced by Ferry and the legendary Rhett Davies).
The album features musical contributions from Nile Rodgers, Pink Floydfs David Gilmour, Groove Armada, Scissor Sisters, Marcus Miller, Flea, Mani (Primal Scream, ex-Stone Roses) and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. Olympia (2011) sees Bryan Ferry reunite on record with members of Roxy Music, including Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, and Andy Mackay. This is the first album to reunite them since Roxy Musicfs seminal album For Your Pleasure in 1973!
Olympia is a masterpiece of prolific artistry, blending sultry, elegant lyrics with genius compositions by Ferry, Rhett Davies and innovative, contemporary musicians. The album features eight new songs, and Ferryfs moving adaptation of Tim Buckleyfs gSong To the Sirenh, and the amazing version of Trafficfs gNo Face, No Name, No Numberh; as well as collaborations with Scissor Sisters on gHeartache By Numbersh and gShamelessh with Groove Armada.
This is quintessential Bryan Ferry at his suave, sophisticated best.