PROFILE
Name:
Bryan Ferry
Birth Date:
1945/9/26
Birth Place:
Washington, England
Nationality:
British
Famous for:
The frontman for the famed art rock group Roxy Music.
BIOGRAPHY
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As Time Goes By

Background:

“I like my own lyrics, but I don't write as prolifically as I would like to. So that's probably why I went into the whole world of interpretation.” Bryan Ferry

Grammy nominated British songwriter, singer and musician Bryan Ferry is best known as the frontman for the famed art rock group Roxy Music, which he founded in the early 1970s. The group soon gained success thanks largely to the album “Stranded” (1973) and Top 10 hits like “Virginia Plain,” “Do the Strand,” “Street Life” and “Love Is the Drug.” However, after the release of the fifth album “Siren” (1975), the group took a break and did not get back together until four years later. The comeback album, “Manifesto,” (1979), returned them to the Top 10 U.K. Album charts and they cemented their status with the Top 10 hit singles “Dance Away” (#3) and “Angel Eyes” (#4). The group received even more recognition with the chart-topping albums “Flesh & Blood” (1980) and “Avalon” (1982), which also marked the group's first and only album that went platinum in the U.S. After “Avalon,” Roxy Music disbanded again. The foursome (Ferry, Phil Manzanera, Paul Thompson and Andy Mackay) again began performing as a group in 2001.

Noted for his debonair visual and vocal style, Bryan has also had a fruitful solo career. Making his debut with “These Foolish Things” (1975), Ferry achieved the zenith of his fame with his Grammy nominated album “As Time Goes By” (1999). Other noteworthy records include “Another Time, Another Place” (1974, UK #4), “In Your Mind” (1977, UK #5, Australia #1), “Boys and Girls” (1985, UK #1), “Taxi” (1993, UK #2), “Frantic” (2002, UK #6) and “Dylanesque” (2007, UK #5).

In the music industry for over three decades, Ferry was awarded the 2003 Ivor Novello Award for his outstanding contribution to British music. A year later, he was honored with the Q Lifetime Achievement Award.

Also an occasional actor, Ferry appeared in the 2005 comedy “Breakfast on Pluto,” where he played the role of Mr. Silky String.


Pottery Teacher

Childhood and Family:

Bryan Ferry was born on September 26, 1945, in Washington, England, to Fred Ferry, a farmer. He was educated at Washington Grammar-Technical School (now known as Washington School) on Spout Lane before attending the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, where he majored in art. He later taught pottery in London.

After romances with beautiful women like singer/model Amanda Lear and model Jerry Hall in the 1970s, Bryan settled down and tied the knot with Margaret Mary 'Lucy' Helmore on June 26, 1982, at the Church of St. Anthony and St. George in Duncton, West Sussex. At the time he was 37 years old and his wife was 22. The couple had four kids: Otis (born on November 1, 1982), Isaac (born on May 16, 1985), Tara, and Merlin. However, after 21 years of marriage, Bryan and his wife divorced on March 21, 2003.


Dance Away

Career:

Bryan Ferry launched his singing career with the rock group the Banshees while he was still in college. He next joined the Gas Board, a soul group whose members also included bass player Graham Simpson. In November 1970, Ferry and Simpson set up a new group that would later become a legend, Roxy Music. Now a quartet, with Ferry playing keyboards and singing lead vocals, Phil Manzanera on guitars, Andy Mackay on saxophone and oboe, and Paul Thompson on drums and percussion, the rock group released their self titled debut album, “Roxy Music,” in June 1972, with Ferry writing all the songs on the album. The single “Virginia Plain,” featuring synthesizer work from Brian Eno, rose to number 4 on the U.K. charts and became the group's first Top 10 hit in U.K. The second album, “For Your Pleasure,” followed in March 1973. It marked the last album to feature the work of synthesizer and sound specialist Brian Eno and produced one of their most popular songs, “Do the Strand.” The album peaked at No. 4 on the U.K. charts.

Lured by the success of Roxy Music's first two albums, Ferry initiated a solo career by releasing the solo album “These Foolish Things” on October 5, 1973. The album, which was comprised of cover versions of songs like Bob Dylan's “A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall,” Elvis Presley's “Baby I Don't Care,” The Beatles' “You Won't See Me” and The Rolling Stone's “Sympathy for the Devil,” received gold certification in May 1974. He launched another cover album in July 1974 called “Another Time, Another Place,” which rose to No. 4 in U.K.

Despite this promising solo career, Ferry kept his focus on Roxy Music. Along with his group, he released “Stranded” in November 1973 and “Country Life” in November 1974. “Stranded,” with the Top 9 hit single “Street Life,” became the group's first No. 1 hit album in the U.K., while “Country Life,” rose to No. 37 on the U.S. charts. The fifth album, “Siren,” was released in October 1975. Co-written by Ferry and Andy Mackay, the single “Love Is the Drug” peaked at No. 2 in the U.K. and No. 30 on the U.S. pop singles chart.

When Roxy Music temporarily broke up in 1976, Ferry continued to pursue his solo career. In September, he launched the third solo album “Let's Stick Together,” which he produced with Chris Thomas. A commercial success, the album featured versions of Roxy Music hits and cover songs and rose to No. 19 in the U.K. and No. 1 in Australia. On February 1, 1977, Ferry released an album of new material titled “In Your Mind.” It became a chart-topper and his second solo album to hit the U.S. charts. In support of the album, Ferry embarked on an extensive tour.

Inspired by his former relationship with Jerry Hall, who left him for Mick Jagger, Ferry released the album “The Bride Stripped Bare” in April 1978. Commercially, the album was not very successful, but the single “Sign of the Times” rose to number No. 37 in U.K.

“Manifesto,” Roxy Music’s first new album since 1975, was launched on March 1, 1979. After the Top 40 first single “Trash,” the group was brought back to the limelight thanks to the second single “Dance Away,” which became a U.K. Top 3 hit and went on to become one of the group's biggest hits in the 1970s. The third single, a remix version of “Angel Eyes,” was the group's next Top 10 hit in U.K. where it peaked at No. 4 in August 1979. “Manifesto” rose to No. 7 on the U.K. Albums Chart and No. 23 on the Billboard Pop Albums.

Ferry and Roxy Music resurfaced the following year with “Flesh & Blood,” which hit the music stores on May 1, 1980. Made after the departure of Paul Thompson, the album marked another success for the group when it rose to No.1 in U.K. and stayed on the album chart for 60 weeks. Within five months of its release, the album had been certified platinum by BPI- U.K. Outside of the U.K., “Flesh & Blood” rose to No. 35 and No. 10 in the U.S. and Australia, respectively. Some singles released from the album included “Over You” (#5 UK), “Oh Yeah (On the Radio)” (UK #5) and “Same Old Scene” (UK #12, AUS #35).

Roxy Music's eight studio album, “Avalon,” was released in 1982. A big commercial hit, the album scorched through the charts and landed at No. 1 in the U.K. and stayed there for three weeks. It also rose to No. 1 in Australia and became the group's only album to go platinum in the U.S., where it rose to No. 53 on the Billboard 200. The lead single, “More Than This,” peaked at No. 6 in the U.K. and Australia and No. 103 in the U.S. It was followed by the title track “Avalon” (Top 20 UK) and “Take a Chance with Me” (#26 UK). After an extended tour in support of the “Avalon” album in 1983, Ferry decided to shelve his career with Roxy Music and resume his career as a solo act.

In June 1985, Ferry released a new solo album called “Boys and Girls.” The album rose to No. 1 in the U.K., and became his only No. 1 hit as a soloist there. It also spawned the successful singles “Slave to Love” (#10 UK) and “Don't Stop the Dance.” Also that year, Ferry performed at “Live Aid,” which was produced by ABC, BBC and MTV.

In November 1987, Ferry released the album “Bête Noire.” Coproduced by Patrick Leonard, the album only produced the Top 40 hit “Kiss and Tell.” Ferry then released “Taxi” (1993) and “Mamouna” (1994). In 1996, Ferry performed the song “Dance With Life” for the motion picture “Phenomenon” soundtrack, a dramatic romance directed by Jon Turteltaub starring John Travolta, Kyra Sedgwick, Forest Whitaker, and Robert Duvall. After taking a break, Ferry released “As Time Goes By” on October 25, 1999. An album of well-liked songs and jazz standards, “As Time Goes By” won Ferry a Grammy nomination.

Two years later, in 2001, Ferry teamed up with Mackay, Manzanera, and Thompson to recreate Roxy Music. They went on tour for a couple of years, but released no new albums. In 2002, Ferry returned to his studio for his next solo album, “Frantic,” a mix of Ferry's originals and covers. The album rose to No. 6 in U.K.

In 2004, Ferry appeared in “The Potter,” a short movie from Jan Wentz. He went on to have a significant part, that of Mr. Silky String, in the Neil Jordan-directed film “Breakfast on Pluto” (2005), which starred Cillian Murphy.

Ferry returned to music in 2007 by releasing “Dylanesque” on March 5th. An album of Bob Dylan songs, it has made the Top 10 in both the U.K. and Sweden.


Awards:

  • Q Lifetime Achievement Award: 2004

  • Ivor Novello Award: Outstanding Contribution to British Music, 2003

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