By Madeline Bocaro
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’s singer, Bryan Ferry was a student of painter (and some say, the actual progenitor of Pop-art) Richard Hamilton at Newcastle University. Hamilton created the stark, minimalist cover of The Beatles (the white album in 1968). It followed up, and strikingly contrasted Sgt. Pepper‘s psychedelic cover bursting with colour. Hamilton’s philosophy was, “Pop Art should be popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamourous and big business.” According to Bryan Ferry, “Most LP covers of the time (1960s and 1970s) had the group standing in an alleyway, looking very sullen and moody.” The Roxy Music covers changed all of that.
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.
The first Roxy cover gatefold model was Kari-Ann Muller. She came to London from Cornwall aged 18, and her career was at its peak when her agent set her up with the Roxy Music shoot. Kari-Ann was the original Roxy Girl. She’s one of the few models who didn’t date Bryan Ferry. Bryan based the photo on a glamour shot of movie icon Rita Hayworth.
The first album was dedicated to Susie, a drummer who auditioned for Roxy Music in the early days. The photographer, Karl Stoecker also shot the two Kimono clad geishas on the cover of the Sparks album Kimono My House the same year.
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.
From Q Magazine:
“Bryan saw me doing a fashion show and decided he wanted to use me,” recalls Kari-Ann Muller, the glamour puss starlet of Roxy Music’s debut album cover. She knew Antony Price, Roxy’s designer, and Karl Stoecker, who was taking the photo, “and I thought it would be fun. I got a meager £20, as Roxy were unknown at the time, and had no money. Ironic, isn’t it, that it would be voted the best record cover of the decade? It always seems to be flashing up on TV for some reason. But it was great watching them being turned from boys next door into superstars.”
She loved the album, “especially lyrics like “I would put roses round your door”, that kind of stuff, it was so beautiful. I really liked them a lot.”
Muller admits the assignment had no drastic effect on her career. She landed parts in the Joan Collins trashflick The Bitch and George Lazenby’s only Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, before giving birth to two boys. She later worked at the Black Theatre Of Brixton where she met Chris “Brother Of Mick” Jagger, now her second husband. She carried on fashion modelling, had two more boys and juggled full-time motherhood with kindergarten teaching and studying yoga.
As for modelling, “I was with the Deja’ Vu agency for the glamorous over-forties, but unfortunately that kind of work hasn’t caught on.” She admits she hasn’t looked at the Roxy sleeve for a while, but the memory makes her smile.
The image itself, she explains, was created by herself and Price: “He did the hair and dress and I just got out there and did what I felt. How would I describe it? It was very glamorous, very sexy, or at least I felt that way. “It was very … ice-creamy, in a way. The colours remind me of a marshmallow, like something really delicious. Fleshy, in a word” Someone to be eaten? “No! I felt like I could eat somebody up myself. I felt strong enough to take someone on.”
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.
In 1973, Amanda posed in a skintight leather dress leading a black panther on a leash on the cover of For Your Pleasure. The lights of Las Vegas light the night, and Ferry is her limo driver. Amanda had an affair with David Bowie, and was the emcee of his 1980 Floor Show in 1973. In 1975 she became a disco singer. In 1977 she posed nude for Playboy. Despite her nude modeling, there are rumours that Amanda was born a man by the name of Alain Tapp and that she is a transsexual. Joanna Lumley, who plays Patsy Stone in the television comedy Absolutely Fabulous, has confirmed repeatedly that the character Patsy Stone was loosely based on the mysterious life story of Amanda Lear.
Cover concept: Bryan Ferry. Art Direction: Nicholas De ville. Artwork: CCS. Wardrobe, make-up: Antony Price. Hair: Smile.
Playboy Playmate Marilyn Cole appeared on the third album cover, Stranded. She was a Playboy bunny in London in 1972 – 1973. Marilyn married the president of Playboy Enterprises, Victor Lownes in 1984. We are to wonder how this city woman arrived in the jungle. A plane crash perhaps? Her makeup was by Pierre LaRoche who also styled The Rocky Horror Picture Show, David Bowie, Mick and Bianca Jagger. Some photos during the shoot included Bryan Ferry lying with her, but not as ravaged. His blue eye shadow is fully intact! Cover design: Nicolas de Ville. Concept: Bryan Ferry
Country Life, 1974
The fourth Roxy Music album, Country Life
, was titled in parody of the popular British magazine of the same name. It was also influenced by the seedy Christine Keeler showgirl/government scandal of 1963. (Christine Keeler actually appears alongside Mandy Smith
in the promotion video for Bryan Ferry
‘s 1987 single Kiss and Tell
.) The cover photo featured two German models that Bryan had met in Portugal; Constanze Karoli (allegedly related to Michael Karoli of Can) and Eveline Grunwald. They are wearing semi-transparent lingerie, standing in front of a pine bush. In America, the album was sold in an opaque plastic wrapper when retailers refused to display the cover. Later, an alternate cover featuring just a shot of the foliage was used. According to Antony Price, They are meant to be fashion models that have run away from an estate, and caught in the headlights of a car.
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.
The shoot was done in a rough green sea. A blue filter was used for the overall affect.
Antony Price on styling Jerry Hall for the cover of Siren: “I was inspired by Marvel Comics. I used the wings from the character Sub-Mariner, and his wife, Lady Dorma, who is pale blue, with auburn hair. They both have winged ankles … we put the fins on the ankles.” – nightmag..com
Manifesto – 1979
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 – 1980
Flesh + Blood features three unnamed blonde warrior nymphs 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 and continuing the tradition for Roxy Music albums to feature images of women on the cover artwork. 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.
Model Lucy Helmore eventually married Bryan Ferry in 1982 at the age of 22. Bryan was 14 years her senior. They were divorced in 2003. They have four sons; Otis, Isaac, Tara and Merlin.
Most recently, Kate moss appears on the cover of Bryan Ferry’s 2010 solo album,Olympia. The photograph is based on Edouard Manet’s 1863 painting titled Olympia. In Country Life magazine (November 24, 2010) Bryan Ferry cites Manet’s 1863 work as his favorite painting.
‘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.