The iconic album cover artwork for Roxy Music’s albums is legendary. It conjured the visual style of classic pinups and high fashion magazines, featuring stunning glamour shots of beautiful models.
Upon this year’s 45th anniversary Super Deluxe Edition release of Roxy’s debut album, here is the story of all the cover girls.
Roxy Music 1972
Roxy Music’s debut album and its infamous cover artwork were apparently completed before the group signed with Island Records. Island boss Chris Blackwell at first seemed unimpressed with the band, but when he glanced at the album cover images at Island’s offices, he said, “Looks great! Have we got them signed yet?” The band signed with Island a few days later. Roxy’s first LP was released in June to good reviews and was a major success. It reached No. 10 on the UK album chart in September 1972.
In 1974 Kari-Ann appeared on Mott The Hoople’s The Hoople album cover. She also appeared in Bryan Ferry’s video for “You Go To My Head” from his solo album Let’s Stick Together in 1975. (Her Roxy cover hangs over the fireplace in the video). Kari-Ann eventually gave up modeling and a short-lived acting career. She now lives in Highgate, teaching yoga, with her five sons and her husband of 20 years, Mick Jagger’s brother, Chris.
For Your Pleasure 1973
Amanda Lear was the cover model on For Your Pleasure. Not only did she model for Paco Rabanne, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Mary Quant and Ossie Clark, but Amanda was the confidante, protégée and mistress of the Spanish painter Salvador Dali. Amanda was romantically linked to Brian Jones, which resulted in the ironic Rolling Stones song “Miss Amanda Jones”, on the 1967 album Between the Buttons.
The most famous Roxy model is Jerry Hall – one of the original 1970s supermodels. She began her modeling career in Paris, where she was the roommate of model/singer/actress Grace Jones. In 1975 she appeared, in the guise of a mermaid, on the cover of Siren. Her relationship with Ferry continued, and she also appeared in the video for his 1976 solo hit ‘Let’s Stick Together’. By 1977, Hall had been on 40 magazine covers including Italian Vogue and Cosmopolitan. That same year, she met Mick Jagger at a dinner party, for whom she would eventually leave Bryan Ferry. The Siren album cover was shot in Anglesey North Wales, near South Stack lighthouse. The tower in the background atop the cliffs is known as Ellen’s Tower.
Female models are substituted by mannequins on Mainfesto. Famous shop mannequin maker Adel Rootstein was commissioned for the shoot. Kari Ann, Roxy’s first album cover girl was actually the model for some of the mannequins. You can obviously tell which ones resemble her. The twins in the background are actually real people – Roxy Music fans who travelled extensively to see the band perform. The picture disc version of the album featured naked mannequins, as did the picture sleeve singles. The typography, as well as the album’s title, were inspired by the first edition of Wyndham Lewis‘s literary magazine BLAST. Concept: Bryan Ferry. Designer: Antony Price
Flesh + Blood features three blonde warrior nymphs (Roslyn Ashley Bolton, Shelley Mann and Aimee Stephenson) preparing to throw Olympic javelins. They were unknown models hired to portray young high school athletes.
Avalon – 1982
Bryan Ferry’s girlfriend (and soon-to-be wife) Lucy Helmore appeared on the cover of Avalon, wearing a medieval helmet and carrying a falcon, evoking King Arthur‘s last journey to the mysterious land of Avalon, his final resting place. The photograph was shot in Ireland on a lake at the home of Lucy’s parents. Although it looks like sunset, the photo was actually taken at dawn on a lake at Helmore’s parents’ house in Ireland,
‘I first saw Olympia when I was an art student in the 1960s, and was immediately struck by how modern it is. It seemed to me to be a rather glamorous pin-up picture, and, as such, to have a strong connection to the world of Pop Art in which I was deeply immersed–the world of Hamilton and Warhol. I now think that it was one of the key influences in my own development as an artist, and had a major impact on the album sleeves that I was later to design for Roxy Music, and, of course, for my latest album.’
Photographer Adam Whitehead on the Kate Moss photo shoot: “When Bryan approached me to shoot his new album cover I jumped at the chance, envisaging all his famous covers of the past. On the day Kate was amazing. She had in her mind exactly the character she wanted to portray ‘Give me red lips, I want to be a Roxy girl’ she screamed!” Bryan gave Kate a coveted autographed copy of the first Roxy Music album with Kari-Ann on the cover.
Another Roxy Lady, Baby Jane Holzer – mentioned in the song ‘Virginia Plain’ is featured in this story:
Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry later referenced Holzer in the the lyrics to “Virginia Plain” (“Baby Jane’s in Acapulco / We are flying down to Rio” and “Can’t you see that Holzer mane?”). She is today a real-estate developer in Manhattan and an avid and celebrated art collector. She lives in a six-story townhouse amid her collection of work by Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and many others.
OLYMPIA by Eduouard Manet
Designer (and Ferry collaborator) Peter Saville on the influence (for him) of Roxy Music: “The Roxy Music influence was during a very formative period for me, between 1973 at the age of eighteen, up to punk in ’76. There was a synthesis of influences within the Roxy project that appealed to the visually orientated of my generation. I was fascinated by the fusion of retro and techno influences that got spun together in Roxy Music. They were the first post-modern experiment in pop. They make sense in the context of everything that came before, in the same way that post-modernism does….The only art movement I knew anything about as a teenager was pop. I saw Roxy Music as a Pop Art concept. They ‘were’ a band, and there was sound, but I saw the image as an art concept rather than dressing up. Marc Bolan and David Bowie made an interesting foray into challenging sexual stereotypes, but in the fancy dress department, whereas early Roxy synthesized some really quite sophisticated facets of popular culture, from Pop Art to Hollywood. They went back into pre-Sixties imagery and ideals, mixed them all up with electronic music, and brought the whole thing back in a modern way. In that respect their iconography was at odds with the cliched sixties iconography that a young teenager in Manchester knew about….. They’re my art college. I learned more from Roxy Music than I did from college. I hadn’t though of it before but it’s true.”
Saville’s dreams came true when he became part of the team working on the cover of Flesh and Blood, and on the design of Avalon.