Released today in 1982: Avalon



Avalon: mystical island with restorative powers from Arthurian legend, where according to Geoffrey of Monmouth the King’s sword Excalibur was forged and where later he was taken to recover from injuries sustained in the Battle of Camlann by sorceress Morgan le Fay and other enchantress queens. Also the title of the final Roxy Music album and a single taken from it, both of which featured, appropriately enough given their romantic namesake, “swirling atmospherics with wistful words on top,” in the words of Smash Hits.

That phrase came from Ian Birch, who reviewed the LP for the magazine. “This proves more than ever that Roxy Music is not a group but a one-man operation,” he wrote, as “all-bar three of the songs are [Bryan] Ferry efforts.” The immaculately produced adult-oriented soft-rock was now the essence of Ferry’s music, and Birch said that lead single More Than This “is positively pile-driving compared to its companions here which ebb and flow around gentle melodies and sturdy rhythms. Logically, there are even two instrumentals, Tara and India, which are like soundtracks for an arty BBC2 documentary.” If people supposed that was criticism, they were wrong. To a body, each of the Smash Hits writers tasked with reviewing Ferry’s output at this stage in his career agreed he was on to something. “Stately, sad and scrumptious all at the same time,” Birch concluded.

Reviewing More Than This when it was issued as a single, Dave Rimmer had agreed. Listing it as ‘weepy of the week’, he said “Bryan Ferry seems to have only one way of singing these days: sort of haunted and heartbroken, like he’s about to start sobbing any minute. He does it well though, and by the time this song drifts gently out on a floating string refrain I’m about ready to start sobbing with him.” The conclusion? “Beautiful.” Johnny Black was reviewing when Take A Chance With Me appeared as the album’s third single. “I’ve never cared for Ferry’s vocals or lounge-lizard look, but Roxy’s singles are as consistent as toothpaste and see to be squeezed out of the group in much the same manner,” he said. But even he had to admit that it was “another winner, no doubt.”

NEW SINGLES on sale from Jun. 11
The CLASH (Joe Strummer) Rock The Casbah (CBS CBSA2479)
Gary NUMAN We Take Mystery (To Bed) (Beggars Banquet BEG77)
ROXY MUSIC (Bryan Ferry) Avalon (EG ROXY4)
The TEARDROP EXPLODES (Julian Cope) Tiny Children (Mercury TEAR7)
IMAGINATION (Leee John) Music And Lights (R&B RBS210)
Hazel O’CONNOR Just Good Friends (RCA RCA422)


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