Roxy Music

Avalon

Song Review by

Roxy Music under the Bryan Ferry regime made romantic and/or doomed-romantic music for young adults and for hipper teenagers who imagined themselves in the dramatic clutches of complicated adult romantic entanglements. Young women especially were under the sway of the hearts-a-flutter vocals of the suave and debonair Ferry; too damned good looking and smooth for a punk-era art-rocker, he gave the smarter women an excuse to swoon. "Avalon" is the title track to one of the band's best all-around pop albums, the 1982 LP that proved to be Roxy Music's swan song. "Avalon" was yet another among the band's myriad songs with indelible melodies.

Over a musical arrangement and a Bob Clearmountain mix that is completely without edge -- a vaguely Latin sway, a little reggae perhaps, and a smooth wall of sound that features Andy MacKay's saxophone and Phil Manzanera's staccato guitar lines alternately peeking out -- Ferry sings like an old-time romantic crooner, his voice somewhere along the lines of classic ballad singers, tenors like Bill Kenny of the Ink Spots and Tony Williams of the Platters. He sounds unlike any other singer from his own era, with perhaps only his influence David Bowie in the same ballpark. He is supported by the cooing background vocals of Yanick Etienne. The effect is an ethereal soundscape that was likely quite influential on many of the earlier records on the British 4AD label, like This Mortal Coil.

Across the proverbial crowded room, Ferry's narrator spots the object of his affection. He suspects she is capable of transporting him to the mythical earthly paradise of the title: "Now the party´s over/I´m so tired/Then I see you coming/Out of nowhere/Much communication in a motion/Without conversation or a notion/Avalon." Certainly his lyrics are conscious of the very adult, intimate moment pictured in Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight." "Avalon" involves a similarly weary moment, one of vulnerability when one's defenses have been worn down. It is an unguarded and unexpected moment, after a party, when one has perhaps given up thoughts of finding romance. It is quite a rich little lyric in a scant three verses. The haunting melody and romantic lyric helped propel the album to gold status, the biggest success Roxy Music had in America.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Avalon 1982 Warner Bros. 4:16
Street Life: 20 Great Hits 1986 Reprise 4:16
Pop Classics, Vol. 1 1990
Various Artists
Eva
Best of 1980-1990, Vol. 3 1991
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:16
Radio City Love Songs, Vol. 3 1994
Various Artists
Columbia
The Best Pop Album in the World ...Ever [Eva] 1994
Various Artists
Eva 4:16
Thrill of It All 1995 Virgin 4:14
Sedated in the Eighties, Vol. 3 1995
Various Artists
The Right Stuff / Capitol 4:15
Sounds of the Eighties: The Rolling Stone Collection, 1982-1983 1995
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:17
Kuschelrock, Vol. 4 1998
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:11
Most Relaxing Album in the World Ever 1998
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:15
Journeys 2000
Various Artists
Virgin 4:12
Slave to Love: The Best of the Ballads 2000 Virgin 4:16
The Best of Roxy Music 2001 Virgin 4:16
Music of the Millenium 2001
Various Artists
Umusic 4:12
Best Chillout Ever 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:15
The Original 80's Album 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:13
Art of Pop: Atomic 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Early Years/Avalon 2004 Virgin 4:17
The Platinum Collection 2004 Virgin 4:17
Love Album [Disky] 2005
Various Artists
Disky 4:13
The Business: Music from the Motion Picture 2005
Original Soundtrack
EMI Music Distribution 4:15
Sight + Sound: '80s 2006
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:15
Thrill of It All: A Visual History 1972-1982 2006 EMI Music Distribution
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Sbm Records / Sony BMG 4:12
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Sony BMG 4:13
No Image 2008
Various Artists
RFM
100% 80's 2008
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:13
80's Top 100 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:12
An 80's Summer 2009
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:13
Anthems: Electronic '80s, Vol. 2 2010
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 4:15
Essential 2011 EMI / EMI Gold 4:14
Siren/Manifesto/Flesh and Blood/Avalon 2011 EMI / EMI Music Distribution 4:16
The Complete Studio Recordings 2012 Virgin EMI 4:16
100 Hits: 80s Chartbusters
Various Artists
100 Hits / Demon Music Group / DMG 100 4:15
Chillout Café
Various Artists
Charity CDs 4:17
No Image
Various Artists
Time / Life Music
Essential Eighties [Mixed Repertoire]
Various Artists
Mixed Repertoire / Parlophone / Warner Music 4:13
Massive Hits! Eighties
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Gold 4:15
No Image
Various Artists
EMI 4:16
Rock Legends: The High Road Universal Music