Of course you can't.
"Bryan Ferry is every bit as suave as the Roxy Music oeuvre attests", you're saying. And I agree. They released ten albums between 1972 and 1982, and I've been slowly acquiring them on vinyl (usually for a buck each) since around 1990. My introduction to them came several years earlier, when, in high school, the one alterna-girl who prioritized them over Depeche Mode and the Smiths made me a mixtape of her favorite Roxy Music songs. Unlike everyone else I went to high school with, I imagine this girl went on to some unimaginable level of awesomery simply for bothering to have good taste.
Looking back, it seems almost absurd to imagine myself or anyone else listening to Roxy Music as a teenager, since nothing about their music is relevant to most listeners until he or she (usually she) gets out of college. Maybe a little earlier if they went to art school in a city. That's why I don't think I hit my full stride of Roxy Music appreciation until I was around 27, recently pardoned from the long-term relationship I'd been in, and was living alone in the city. All of those circumstances helped me come to regard Roxy Music as the white male's ultimate expression of urban sophistication, and that's a considerable achievement given that their lyrics so often deal with themes which in most contexts I find uninteresting. Regardless of how valid you think topics like glamor and nightlife are for lyrical fodder, there's no denying that they're most often addressed in a way that's tacky and lame. Turn on any commercial radio station that plays contemporary music right now and you will probably hear an example of what I'm talking about.
Roxy Music was wholly unlike anyone who came before them, and while their subsequent influence has been vast, no one's ever come close to matching them since they broke up. (Mercifully, no one's been stupid enough to try.) So the question is, why have I been so slow to acquire their back catalog when I could easily wander onto the internet and download everything I'm missing, or into a used record store and do the same for something south of a fiver? Is it just my own laziness, or is there something else at work here? I gave all of this a bit of recent consideration after buying a copy of the Avalon LP for a buck from some guy on 14th Street. I took it home, put it on, and when the title track began pouring out of the speakers, I was immediately blown away by a song that I clearly remembered from early MTV, but hadn't given any consideration to in the twenty five years since. I then listened to it about ten more times in a row, which is a practice that most of us probably remember from our younger selves, but which has more than likely waned as we've all gotten older and more jaded. As such, I realized that my slow road towards uber-fandom has allowed me to bask in their greatness and give each record the kind of consideration they all deserve. Thinking back, they're the only band I've ever demonstrated this courtesy towards—I've greedily devoured everything else I've ever liked as much, at least until the inevitable boredom of familiarity sets in.
Last week when I guest-hosted with my pal Julia on WPRB, we played "Same Old Scene" (from Flesh & Blood) and it prompted her to astutely wonder why no early Roxy Music demos have ever been released, as seems to be the customary practice now for 'legacy' acts of their stature. Granted, they are anything but a band to follow the breadcrumb trail laid down by others, but I'll bet there are plenty of fans out there who are hungry for some insight into what Roxy Music's—for lack of a better term—"garage days" were like. Which brings us back to Julia's question, and ultimately, Bryan Ferry: When were his awkward years? How did he earn the confidence to deploy lyrics like when you bossa nova, there's no holding... would you have me dancing, out of nowhere in a way that still doesn't make anybody wince? Was he always such a mysterious ladykiller, or are there some long-closeted demos that might reveal the presumed fumbles of his early philandering? Maybe you don't want to know because knowing would unmask one of pop music's more legendary Casanovas. If that's the case, you've probably got the high road advantage in a discussion with anyone who feels otherwise, but feel free to consider it further with this smattering of favorites from their back catalog. If you're lucky, maybe I'll take an even bolder stance than "I like Roxy Music" in my next post. You wanna hear my controversial opinions on the Beatles, or what?"Prairie Rose"
"Same Old Scene"
"Editions of You"