[Review] Roxy Music: Greatest Hits (1977)

Released in time for Christmas, this is the perfect gift for the person who has everything except “Pyjamarama.”

Kronomyth 7.0: Roxy Music’s seventh album.

Angels weep, mountains collapse, planets collide, all of them a more fitting finale than the slow seepage of product. Yet why should Roxy Music suffer a less ignominious ending than Traffic or Cream? This is the unceremonious shaking of the cereal box until the plastic toy – in this case, the nonalbum single Pyjamarama – comes tumbling out. There are days when that song is the antidote to everything.

Whoever put this compilation together deserves a gold star for trying. Three tracks each from Stranded and Country Life, but only one from Siren? My point, exactly. Unfortunately, this excellent overview was allowed to go out of print in the Eighties, replaced (briefly) by the in-all-ways-inferior Atlantic Years and, later, the Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music mishmash Street Life.

At the time of its release, the idea that Roxy wouldn’t be remembered for songs like “Virginia Plain” and “Street Life” was unthinkable. Today, it’s all about Avalon. Oh well. Should you stumble upon this elpee unaware of the band’s true history, you’re in for a wonderful surprise. Among the compilations I own, Greatest Hits is one of the best and most subversive. And extra points for slipping the image of a woman in the record’s reflection.

Original elpee version

A1. Virginia Plain (2:55)
A2. Do the Strand (4:00)
A3. All I Want Is You (2:53)
A4. Out of the Blue (Bryan Ferry/Phil Manzanera) (4:42)
A5. Pyjamarama (2:50)
A6. Editions of You (3:45)
B1. Love Is the Drug (Bryan Ferry/Andy Mackay) (4:05)
B2. Mother of Pearl (6:45)
B3. A Song for Europe (Bryan Ferry/Andy Mackay) (5:42)
B4. The Thrill of It All (4:20)
B5. Street Life (3:21)

All songs written by Bryan Ferry unless noted.

Original 8-track version
A1. Virginia Plain
A2. Do the Strand
A3. The Thrill of It All
B1. All I Want Is You
B2. Out of the Blue
B3. Editions of You
C1. Pyjamarama
C2. Street Life
C3. A Song for Europe (part 1)
D1. A Song for Europe (part 2)
D2. Love Is the Drug
D3. Mother of Pearl

The Product

Released on elpee, cassette and 8-track in November 1977* in the US (Atco, SD/CS/TP 38-103), the UK (Polydor, 2302 073/3100 407), Australia and France (Polydor, 2310 575), Canada (Atco, KSD 38-103), Germany (Polydor, 2344 083) and Japan (Polydor, MPF-1126) with picture innersleeve; reached #20 on the UK charts. (*First appeared in 11/26/77 issue of Billboard.)

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1985 in Yugoslavia (RTB, Lp5919).

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