ROXY MUSIC’S AVALON.
According to ancient legend, Avalon was the magical “Island of the Blessed” – a mythical land where King Arthur recovered from his wounds after the Battle of Camalann. This is also where his sword the Excalibur is said to have been forged.
“Avalon is part of the King Arthur legend and is a very romantic thing. When King Arthur dies, the Queens ferry him off to Avalon, which is sort of an enchanted island. It’s the ultimate romantic fantasy place.”
– Bryan Ferry
I was probably 14 or 15 when I first laid eyes on this artwork. Up until this point, I pretty much only gravitated to album covers that featured heavy metal people, skulls, face paint, chicks, things on fire, etc.
In the case of Avalon, this intriguing photo of a knight holding a falcon and gazing out at a beautiful sunrise checked all my boxes but mystified me in a new way like nothing else before it. That balance of stark power and natural beauty would also amazingly transition to reflect the sound of this album. To this day it’s still one of my favorite recordings of all time.
People throw around the word “dreamy” probably too often, but listening to this album is like walking around in a dream. From the opening track ‘More Than This’ to the closing instrumental ‘Tara’, the listener is taken on a swirling ride of luxurious compositions, seductive sax and Bryan Ferry’s ultra-smooth but dramatic vocals. Guitars and washes of synth create evocative new sounds that depict exotic images of foreign lands and a world of mystique.
The production quality suggests it must have cost a fortune. I used to daydream and picture Roxy Music’s recording sessions taking place inside an all-glass studio that sat at the edge of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean, while flocks of falcons guarded the studio fortress.
The title track possesses such an elegant atmosphere with it’s sexy structure and Ferry’s words about late-night possibilities. Take a moment to revisit:
It’s way too easy to drift into another dimension while listening to this music. The music video features Bryan Ferry in his white dinner jacket– captivated by a beautiful woman dancing around in a castle. I should also note that Auntie TNUC walked down the aisle during our ceremony to this song a couple years ago, so this one is pretty damn special to me.
These photos are taken from the show Red Oaks, a TV series that ran from 2014 to 2017. One of the main characters Wheeler, is making serious moves on his lifelong crush Misty and in one of the scenes he gives her a cassette tape of Roxy Music’s Avalon. There are scenes that follow with Misty listening to the album that I can tell you are pure magic. In fact Red Oaks features a ton of great music and montages. TNUC strongly recommends watching the show, especially seasons 1&2.
I’m eternally grateful for this album. It opened my eyes to a world of new sounds and music at a time in high school when I didn’t picture myself deviating from certain genres. Artists like Duran Duran, King Crimson, Deadsy and Billy Idol. It all started with Roxy Music and this 1982 opus.