Brian Eno, the beginnings of a brilliant inventor: episode 1/4 of the Brian Eno podcast

A little nursery rhyme without head or tail, a sort of operetta rock’n’roll, sung in a feverish and mannered tone and covered with strange sounds, as if out of whack. The song was called ” Virginia Plain “. It was, exactly half a century ago, in 1972, the first 45 rpm, single, of a young English group called Roxy Music, which had just published a first album, untitled, whose impact is today today difficult to imagine, which marked a kind of transgression, in any case a provocation for certain amateurs of so-called underground music.

The name, already, of Roxy Music had something grating, anti-cosmic, if I dare say. He evoked that of a once glitzy cinema, having lost its luster, or a decrepit music hall, a little shabby around the edges. He proclaimed a slightly vicious love for decadence, a decadence complacently celebrated, it was a certain vibration that ran through the early seventies in Western Europe, we felt it especially in the cinema. The cover of Roxy Music’s debut album depicted a pin-up girl in a baby-colored, pink and sky-blue outfit, a deliberately vulgar image one imagined plucked from a cheap 1950s calendar. An image that clashed with the pedigree of the musicians behind this group.

Musicians from the ambitious world of so-called progressive music, trained in classical and jazz. Roxy Music notably included an oboe player, Andy Mackay. This Andy Warhol-like aesthetic had been imagined and chosen by Bryan Ferry, a boy from a working-class home in the north of England to whom a teacher had introduced Marcel Duchamp and conceptual art. It was both disconcerting and exciting, the friction between these two worlds that were not meant to meet, the world of seriousness and that of futility. Because these musicians who had nothing to do with self-taught gave themselves the impression of having dressed up for a cabaret exhibition.

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They presented themselves under an androgynous appearance, made up and dressed in outfits bordering on cross-dressing, like bizarre dolls. A collision like we had never seen. Within Roxy Music, we immediately noticed another figure, more confusing than Bryan Ferry. That of a character whose name was in three letters: Eno. IN O.

Musical programming:

  • RoxyMusic: “Virginia Plain” from the album “Roxy Music”


“Baby’s on Fire” from the album “Here Come the Warm Jets”

“Third Uncle” from the album “Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)”

  • John Cale: “Barracuda” from the album “Fear”
  • Fripp & Eno: “The Heavenly Music Corporation III” from the album “(No Pussyfooting)”
  • Eno: “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” single
  • Brian Eno: “Discreet Music” from the album “Discreet Music”
  • Eno: “Golden Hours” from the album “Another Green World”
  • Ultravox! : “My Sex” from the album “Ultravox! »
  • David Bowie: “Always Crashing in the Same Car” from the album “Low”
  • Talking Heads: “Thank You for Sending Me an Angel” from the album “More Songs About Buildings and Food” (2005 Remaster)
  • Brian Eno: “By This River” from the album “Before and After Science”

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Brian Eno, the beginnings of a brilliant inventor: episode 1/4 of the Brian Eno podcast

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