It’s almost Saturday Night.
Just a few more hours here at Bainbridge’s adding up rows and rows and rows of accounts.
A few more hours staring out the window watching the sky darken.
Waiting for The Moon to light up the Dark.
Waiting for The Stars to dazzle my eyes.
This Saturday Night is going to be My Night.
Make sure I get dressed to impress.
Fred Perry. Sta Press. Barracuta G9. Chelsea Boots.
Haute Rouge fragrance.
Time to establish the Mood.
Light up a Disque Bleu and contemplate the posters of Francoise Hardy, Monica Vitti and Steve McQueen.Embed from Getty Images
Leaf through the latest ‘Salut les copains’
Now for some Sounds!
Start out with Miles Davis, ‘Kind Of Blue’.
Now that is Cool, Cool, Cool.
Gonna Dance Tonight.
Dance, Dance, Dance.
Betty Everett, ‘Getting Mighty Crowded’.
Major Lance, ‘The Monkey Time’.
Maxine Brown, ‘Oh No Not My Baby’.
Roy Head, ‘Treat Her Right’.
Jimmy Radcliffe, ‘Long After Tonight Is Over’.
I can feel the Glow.
One last look in the mirror – Perfect!
Fire up the Super Sprint 90.
The Town will be throbbing.
Where are am I headed tonight?
Where will the Faces be?
La Dolce Vita? The Downbeat?
The Oxford? or The Cavendish?
First off, I’m going to ride the Super Sprint right up to the door of Club A ‘Gogo and announce my arrival on the scene!
Here I am! Here I am!
Young, Free and Single.
Time IS on my side.
It ain’t no big thing the toll of the bell.
Look Out Girls!
Oh, Oh, Oh, catch that Buzz.
Catch that Buzz.
Love is the drug I’m thinking of.
Love is the drug and I need to score!
Love is the drug for me.
Now that is a record that would get anyone well and truly hooked!
Roxy Music In Ecelsis!Embed from Getty Images
From the very first moment with the footstep and car door opening sound effects you just know you’re about to set off on a thrilling trip.
Jon Gustafson comes in with that heart jolting, adrenaline laced, bass line and you will barely draw breathe again until the fade out – swept along by the instrumental brilliance of the ensemble, the crisp, crystal clear production of Chris Thomas and the knowing seductive vocal Bryan Ferry gives to his superbly sketched narrative.
Gustafson was a veteran of the British Beat scene having been a member of The Big Three who were lions of the Cavern in Liverpool with everybody including The Beatles grooving along to their cover of Richard Barrett’s ‘Some Other Guy’.
He went on to play with The Merseybeats and The Pirates as well as numerous studio gigs.
However, his lasting glory will surely be the three albums he played on with Roxy Music and in particular the fantastic propulsive drive his bass line gives to Love Is The Drug (I’m sure Nile Rodgers of Chic felt it in his boots!).
The ‘secret hero’ of all Roxy Music Records is, of course, Paul Thompson, a Drummer whose complete mastery of tempo gave the Band a rock solid foundation that allowed Roxy’s ‘Exotics’ – Bryan Ferry, guitarist Phil Manzanera, Saxman Andy Mackay and Keyboard wizard Eddie Jobson the freedom to be theatrically inventive.
Phil Manzanera’s highly accomplished guitar playing draws on his love of Latin American rhythms and the angularity of English Art Rock. Add to this his technical command of his instrument and his musical intelligence and you have the ideal guitarist for a Band performing musically and emotionally complex songs.
Eddie Jobson was the boy wonder Keyboard player whose musical felicity gave him the smarts to add shade, colour and dramatic sophistication to the kaleidoscopic gallery of moods conjured up by Bryan Ferry’s lyrics.
Andy Mackay was always a key figure in Roxy Music giving them a depth and breadth of sound marking them out from their contemporaries.
In this song you can feel the red lights, the bated breath and the heat of nocturnal anticipation in his playing.
His saxophone and woodwind contributions were always integral to the overall conception of the unique Roxy Music sonic palette.
In fact, Love Is The Drug began as a Mackay instrumental. It was worked up in Air Studios with each additional player’s contributions making the track more and more irresistible with Chris Thomas at the desk insisting on take after take until it was practically perfect.
Only one further element was needed for a sure fire hit!
Namely, a winning lyric and vocal.
Enter, Bryan Ferry.
Bryan was known to try the patience of his colleagues by obsessively working on his lyrics – drafts after draft after draft being reworked until the seam of pure gold was revealed.
Andy Mackay recalls that he sometimes appeared like a Conjuror keeping the audience breathless until, magically, he pulled the veritable rabbit out of his silk Top Hat!
When he settled himself at the microphone to sing, ‘Love Is The Drug’ for the first time his weary Bandmates were amazed and thrilled.
To a man they knew this would be a massive, unstoppable hit which would take their career to another level.
Bryan tells his story with economy and wit.
It’s a story we’ve all surely been part of in our youth so we can recognise the accuracy of the tale and smile at our own recollections of when we were the key dramatis personae.
Boy meets girl where the beat goes on.
Face to face, Toe to toe.
Hearts pounding as heart to heart they hit the floor.
The stumble round, the hoped for locked embrace.
Catch that Buzz.
One says Go … the other says Yes.
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh ….
Well, dim the lights and you can guess the rest!
Bryan Ferry’s lyric is a model of economy and wit deftly deploying alliteration, assonance and rhyme to beguile our senses.
Love Is The Drug has remained a fixture at Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry shows from 1975 to this day.
Simply put it’s a classic that will never fail.
I’ll leave you with a scorching live version from 2001.
I guarantee this song will still sound great on the bases of The Moon and Mars in 3001.
Can’t you see.
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Love Is The Drug.
Love Is The Drug.