Bryan Ferry: “People like you to be difficult and weird”

For your pleasure: Ferry on his finest solo work, album by album

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Boys And Girls
EG, 1985
Following the final Roxy Music album to date, 1982’s Avalon, Ferry returns with a chart-topping record that still remains a very sophisticated template for his work.

It was a strong album, but it was No 1 mainly because of the single “Slave To Love”. It was as simple as that. It just caught the mood, I guess. I had some great people working with me by then. All these great people I’d worked with through all this time, plus new people like Nile Rodgers and Marcus Miller, who also played on Avonmore – it was a very important album for me. There was a lot of New York in this record. We did some of this in Bette Midler’s loft, down in Tribeca. She had an apartment which I rented, and I was living there. We made a studio in one of the rooms. It was great, it felt very fresh and different working in a place like that. David Gilmour, of course, is very good. I worked with him again on Olympia. He’s a brilliant player, he’s got a real sound. Quite distinctive, and he plays with feeling, it’s good. It’s very important that they play as if they mean it. From this album on, I’d found a way of working… It wasn’t easy, but it just felt sort of special because nobody else took the trouble to spend months putting so many different parts from different players together like that. I was very into kind of sculpting all these different sounds to see what happened, see where it could lead you. You’d create solos which weren’t just one guy playing, it would go from one to another, and that’s very cool. One of the great moments of rock music is that solo in “Hotel California”, where it goes from Don Felder to Joe Walsh and it just changes its mood, a beautiful moment.



Virgin, 1994
‘Comped’ to perfection, this sumptuous album featured a co-writing credit with Brian Eno…

Taxi and Mamouna were done mainly here [at Avonmore], and in Olympic in Barnes, which was another really good studio. I spent ages in Olympic. I went through fortunes, we really set up camp and did a lot of stuff there. It’s great to have my own space now, it’s perfect for this kind of work. We’ll be working on lots of different tracks, especially now you have ProTools, you can just dial them up, and see, ‘Ah, where are we with this one?’ Certain tracks would be left for years to age, in barrels, and you’d go back years later and finish them off. I worked with Brian Eno again on this – that was great. He came here, we worked downstairs, and we actually co-wrote a song. I also went to St Petersburg where he was living. We started that there and I finished it off here. Mamouna was great, it had some good things on it – it wasn’t terribly successful, but it has a great mood to it, I think. There are certain people you like working with, and yes, this had loads of people on it – including Carleen Anderson, who’s a very good singer. Chester Kamen, Guy Pratt, all these English lads.

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