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Thread: Roxy Music. Are they truly worthy of being a Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame nominee?

  1. #1

    Roxy Music. Are they truly worthy of being a Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame nominee?

    A pleasant day to you all.

    Most here know that I love many Art-rock bands and when we had the "Albums Reviews" section, I reviewed many of the band's works here on this forum. Roxy Music has been recognized as one of the leading innovators of the 70's Rock scene with their experimental Glam Schizophrenic Experimental Rock of Roxy Music and For Your Pleasure and afterwards the following releases became more streamlined following the trends towards a more dance oriented sophisticated sound.

    I remember discovering the band like most here in the United States through their most popular song "Love Is The Drug" and on occasion on the then great Classic Rock Radio station here in New York City WNEW 102-7 FM which would play "Dance Away" or "Avalon", yet it wasn't until I discovered the Alternative Rock station that I got to hear songs like "Pyjamarama", "Ladytron", "Both Ends Burning", "Jealous Guy" etc. that the band received more airplay here in New York City than I realized yet they seem to be a band that was popular in the more larger cities here in The States.

    Anyway to the post, despite loving this band immensely, I've often felt that Roxy Music was an acquired taste, my sisters growing up loved "Dance Away" and "Avalon" yet they disliked anything else by them. Going onward in years, I've been reading from those that saw them in the U.S. really didn't have nice things to say about the band's quirky sound and strange stage shows, yet those that saw them in Europe and Australasia saw shows that bordering on brilliance.

    Should the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame recognize a band that was quite influential overseas yet barely known here in this country?

    Charles
    Be a loyal plastic robot for a world that doesn't care... Frank Zappa

  2. #2
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    I'm not a fan. To me, while Prog Rock was often called pretentious by critics, these were the guys who were pretentious.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck AzEee! View Post
    A

    Should the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame recognize a band that was quite influential overseas yet barely known here in this country?
    Yes. Just because they were "barely known" Stateside doesn't mean they didn't have any influence with anyone over here. And certainly, if you're gonna induct a throwaway act like The Velvet Underground (who famously "didn't sell a lot of records, but everyone who heard VU formed a band", or so the meme goes), a band like Roxy Music is fair game, as far as I'm concerned.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve983 View Post
    I'm not a fan. To me, while Prog Rock was often called pretentious by critics, these were the guys who were pretentious.
    Funny thing reading articles on the band during the 70's, music critics said that they were unlike their "more pompous" peers and but them in the more innovative class of bands like 10cc, Sparks, Queen. Be Bop Deluxe etc... yet their look alone was as "Prog" as it got.
    Be a loyal plastic robot for a world that doesn't care... Frank Zappa

  5. #5
    "Yes. Just because they were "barely known" Stateside doesn't mean they didn't have any influence with anyone over here. And certainly, if you're gonna induct a throwaway act like The Velvet Underground (who famously "didn't sell a lot of records, but everyone who heard VU formed a band", or so the meme goes), a band like Roxy Music is fair game, as far as I'm concerned..."

    I'm glad you see where I was going with this Chris. I often felt that was so underrated here in this country could finally get some recognition for all of the late 70's and 80's era Alternative Rock bands they influenced.

    Charles
    Be a loyal plastic robot for a world that doesn't care... Frank Zappa

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve983 View Post
    while Prog Rock was often called pretentious by critics, these were the guys who were pretentious.
    Not really. I can give or take Roxy (tho' some of it I absolutely love, especially the early stuff), but as opposed to bloated pomp-rock (insert whatever "big 6/14/37" name) theirs was not an approach of "We'll show those suckers, setting music to the bible can be done!"

    In other words, Roxy were never about "pretending" to be something altogether "more" than exactly what they actually delivered or served. They were art-school buffs with an almost annoyingly perfect sense of artistis self-awareness, and so were ambitious - not pretentious.

    Yet I agree so some degree with Chuck here; Roxy's inclusion would be dubious, seeing as their very agenda was partly to be fringe and exclusive. As such, they weren't really representative of anything before or much after (although they certainly got their copycats down the line).
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

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    IMHO theirs is one of the most heinous omissions in the whole thing. Should have been in many years ago. It's their US bias yet again.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    IMHO theirs is one of the most heinous omissions in the whole thing. Should have been in many years ago.

    It's the US bias of that 'Rock Hall' again.
    I'm waiting on a very good friend to reply to this post, but seriously writing, Chris truly got the jist of my post in that this band was so underrated in this country yet one can't ignore how unbelievably influential they were in their heyday.


    Charles
    Be a loyal plastic robot for a world that doesn't care... Frank Zappa

  9. #9
    Member Camelogue's Avatar
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    No I don't think so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck AzEee! View Post
    I'm waiting on a very good friend to reply to this post, but seriously writing, Chris truly got the jist of my post in that this band was so underrated in this country yet one can't ignore how unbelievably influential they were in their heyday.
    Them and Bowie were perhaps the biggest influences on post-punk/New Wave bands. But then the 'Hall doesn't even really acknowledge the existence of much of that either.

  11. #11
    Only after Styx and Asia get in.

  12. #12
    The real question is, is the R&RHOF worthy of Roxy Music?

  13. #13
    Yes.
    The Mamas and the Papas are in for petes sake.

  14. #14
    Pikachupacabra spellbound's Avatar
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    My experience with Roxy Music may be atypical for someone in the US. I really didn't think about how popular a band was before liking their music or going to a concert. I was and am a prog fan, although I don't limit my love of music to only progressive rock. So I have always been accustomed to the bands I liked not necessarily being the ones that filled stadiums. I saw Roxy Music at a 5000-capacity ballroom style theater in a standing-room-only (there were no seats at the venue) crowd of true fans. I liked the band, I had a friend who liked them, so we went to see them, simple as that (concerts being affordable in those days, $6.50 for that one). The band's appearance was over the top for someone who was accustomed to seeing musicians perform in jeans and t-shirts. But it was part of their style, and it worked for them. The audience didn't get bored and stare at the ceiling when Bryan Ferry was "suited up" and singing. But it shouldn't be appearance, style, or popularity in a given country that determines Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nomination. It should be, first and foremost, the music. And Roxy Music played excellent music. By 1975, when I saw them, Brian Eno had moved on, but they had a soloist extraordinaire in Eddie Jobson, who played a clear electric phase-shifted violin on "Out Of The Blue" that was so mesmerizing I remember that solo to this day. The rest of the band weren't slouches. It was a hell of an entertaining evening. Another factor for a Hall of Fame nomination might be whether a band influenced other musicians. For Roxy Music, that would have to be a resounding "yes." They started as a sophisticated art rock band and ended as a sophisticated, smooth, ethereal pop rock band, moving through a dance band phase in between, and maintaining their own atmosphere and professionalism throughout. Their influence may have exceeded their popularity in the US, but I think the RRHOF would be remiss in ignoring their talent. Another memory of the night was that they performed their hit "Love Is The Drug," months before the Siren album was even recorded. As for Roxy Music being an acquired taste, the OP is dead on. My friend and I liked music that was hardly popular, and we were pleased to see Roxy Music in concert. I can understand where more mainstream rock fans might hear them and say, "WTF?" Some of my hard rock-heavy metal friends never understood half the bands I went to see, or why I wanted to see them.

    But then, as you may have guessed, I am a fan. In the end, Roxy Music matters more to me than does the RRHOF.

  15. #15
    No.

    They never did anything horrible enough to deserve THAT.
    Do not bug a wombat, 'cause wombats bug back,
    and no-one can live through a wombat attack.

  16. #16
    Pikachupacabra spellbound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    No.

    They never did anything horrible enough to deserve THAT.

  17. #17
    Is the Hall purely US centric? I always assumed, probably naively that it was celebrating "Rock 'n' Roll" (whatever that means) as a cultural worldwide phenomenon.

    Certainly in the UK, Roxy were hugely influential in the glam era, especially their early singles and albums, and as has been noted already, were a big influence on punk, post punk, new wave and new romantics (not all of it a plus!). So on that basis alone, they are worth inclusion.

    As for the later smooth rock... meh.

  18. #18
    Member gearHed289's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Them and Bowie were perhaps the biggest influences on post-punk/New Wave bands. But then the 'Hall doesn't even really acknowledge the existence of much of that either.
    This ^^^

  19. #19
    Howdy Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck AzEee! View Post
    the band's quirky sound and strange stage shows
    Was this even true anymore once Eno left?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Not really. I can give or take Roxy (tho' some of it I absolutely love, especially the early stuff), but as opposed to bloated pomp-rock (insert whatever "big 6/14/37" name) theirs was not an approach of "We'll show those suckers, setting music to the bible can be done!"

    In other words, Roxy were never about "pretending" to be something altogether "more" than exactly what they actually delivered or served. They were art-school buffs with an almost annoyingly perfect sense of artistis self-awareness, and so were ambitious - not pretentious.

    Yet I agree so some degree with Chuck here; Roxy's inclusion would be dubious, seeing as their very agenda was partly to be fringe and exclusive. As such, they weren't really representative of anything before or much after (although they certainly got their copycats down the line).
    They pretended they were the coolest. To me they were the apex of pretentiousness. Pomp rock kept at least some naivete. They didn't. Apart from that I really like the first two, and a lot of what came after.

    But this "holiness" of Eno, Bowie, Byrne gets on my nerves a bit. They didn't mind looting the ideas of the unfortunately less cool fellow musicians. True, in style.

    Maybe I am more vexed with the ignorant fans of the above triad than with them. Maybe I'm talking crap.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    But this "holiness" of Eno, Bowie, Byrne gets on my nerves a bit. They didn't mind looting the ideas of the unfortunately less cool
    Well, I largely agree. Perhaps not "holiness" but a purported untouchability. The thing about all of those three, however, is that there's such a phenomenal leap from their best to their worst work - and yet for some reason they're always only held to account for the former. I suppose it's the Lou Reed-factor of things, this in extension of the Dylan-factor.

    As for Roxy's lack of naivité, or perhaps innocence, the self-assured nature of their aesthetic (musically and conceptually) was a very prime asset and principle. Kitsch is mostly "good" only when intended, says art-theory, although "goodness" may be invested also un unintended kitsch when purveyors of such theory see fit to acknowledge it. Which of course they hardly ever did with "regular" progressive rock artists, as opposed to names like Roxy, Bowie, Eno etc. An interesting footnote to this is the case of Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, whose first two records are as "meta-levelled" as anything by Bowie or Roxy at the time, and still acknowledgement has largely eluded them.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  22. #22
    Jon Neudorf
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    A no brainer. A resounding and emphatic YES.

    Jon

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Which of course they hardly ever did with "regular" progressive rock artists, as opposed to names like Roxy, Bowie, Eno etc.
    Yes, that's the core of the annoyance I feel there.

    Good post Richard. Yes, I remember your view on Steve Harley. He was definitely an artist of the same caliber.

  24. #24
    The question really is whether these sophisti-cats should deign to enter the Rock & Roll Shed of Infamy.

  25. #25
    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    If Roxy were to get in then shouldn't Slade also? There's another UK band barely known in the states but considered widely influential.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

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