Essential Music #1

Turner Classic Movies has a nifty series called The Essentials, wherein film critics Molly Haskell and Robert Osborne screen “Movies that Define What It Means to Be a Classic.” Dr. Johnny Fever, on WKRP in Cincinnati, spun records that he called “holy music.” Here, with a little less fanfare than TCM and a lot less style than Howard Hesseman’s Dr. Fever, I’ll occasionally point the way to music that, in my humble opinion, no self-respecting (or not) household or social unit should be without.

Last night’s post got me to thinking about all things Bogart, which got me thinking about Roxy Music‘s self-titled first album, recorded in nineteen days and released in 1972. Critics Julie Burchill and Tony Parsons (to whom Pete Townshend paid dubious homage in “Jools and Jim”) called the album “The only truly timeless rock music ever recorded.” When the album first came out, however, the reviews were, as they say, mixed, with much of the critical flock bleating over how the two distinctly personal artistic visions of lead singer (and, ultimately, band auteur) Bryan Ferry and synthesizer/tape player (Brian) Eno collided. Even Lester Bangs, who should’ve known better, missed the boat when he wrote that the “atmosphere of risk made the first album a bit cluttered yet diffuse too many people trying to do too many things all at the same time.” You would have thought that Lester, if anybody, would have understood the value of risking too much.

The music of Roxy Music was vaticinal while displaying a genuine fondness for the past. Eno composed his avant-garde vicissitudes all around Ferry’s failed romantic ethos. Ferry himself provided piano that conjured up aural images of Rick’s Caf

Leave a Reply