Released today in 1982: More Than This

Polydor ROXY3

Polydor ROXY3

Bryan Ferry was one of the more unusual people to feature on the cover of Smash Hits in the 1980s. His band, Roxy Music, had been together for nearly ten years when he made his appearance on the cover in June 1980. It was not the norm for Smash Hits to champion such an established act, but the headline of the article made the magazine’s position on this particular group clear: ‘Roxy: Stronger Through The Years’.

This title was inspired by a lyric taken from the title track of ‘comeback’ album, Manifesto. In the second half of the 1970s, Ferry’s successful solo career and the release of a Roxy ‘greatest hits’ album had indicated that the group was finished. “Just over a year ago,” the 1980 article began, “a brief history of Roxy Music might have ended by wondering whether changes in musical fashion might not have overtaken those pace-setters of the glitter era. Well, cast your mind back to the first post-reunion hits of Dance Away and Angel Eyes or to the way Over You steamed up the charts and there’s your answer. And if you’ve copped a good earful of Flesh and Blood, the new Roxy album, then any doubts ought to be well and truly knocked on the head: Roxy are back with a vengeance.”

It did appear that way. The ‘new’ Roxy Music was polished, sophisticated and stylish, and even more slickly produced than before. The three singles mentioned had all made the Top 10, as did the next, Oh Yeah (On The Radio). What Smash Hits couldn’t know was that these successes were soon to be eclipsed by the group’s only #1 single, a cover of John Lennon’s Jealous Guy released in tribute to the writer a few weeks after his death. As for album sales: 1980’s Flesh and Blood topped the chart, as did follow-up Avalon, the lead single from which was More Than This – the final Roxy Music Top 10 single in the UK.

Ferry was 34 at this time of his appearance on the Smash Hits cover. Very few people born in the 1940s made cover in the 1980s; the vast majority were in their 20s when they appeared. For the record the others were:

Mick Jagger (42 when he appeared on the cover in January 1986)
David Bowie (39 in January 1986 – his last of three appearances on the cover)
Ian Dury (38 in September 1980)
Malcolm McLaren (37 in January 1983)
Debbie Harry (36 in August 1981; the other members of Blondie were born in the 50s)
Ron (34) and Russell (31) Mael of Sparks (January 1980)

The oldest cover star, though, wasn’t even a pop star. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was 61 when she made her appearance on the cover in March 1987: find out more about this on 30 March.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Mar. 26
ROXY MUSIC (Bryan Ferry) More Than This (Polydor ROXY3)
TEARS FOR FEARS Pale Shelter (Mercury IDEA2)


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