Gogs Breaks Down A Song: My Only Love

 

There are some of us that think new music is irrelevant. Others find the first group,  dinosaurs since they don’t see the value of hip hop gangsters and boy bands.  Sorry to the younger generation if I prefer my music with notes and musicians.   I wrote a bit on how I developed my taste of music here.  Mostly by listening for the instruments and oddly enough early music videos were a part of that.

This was only an extended play record but still reverberates with me today

Back in the mid 80s  I fell in love with this specific version of My Only Love ( Roxy Music) . It was taken from the extended play live record The High Road. It only had four songs but what a punch they packed. I will focus on the second track. To my knowledge there is no video of this particular track. Just to prove Roxy Music are not robots there is a video that I bought on VHS in the early 90s of this same song on the same tour. They play it a little bit differently.  Nowhere near as satisfying granted this specific version I am highlighting had about a 7 year head start so  there is that possible bias.

 

 

I have enjoyed writing about music since high school but this is the first time I tried dissecting a song using the track time as a basis.  So I documented what I heard and how what I heard made me feel. Very subjective exercise  but isn’t that what writing is all about?  Isn’t that what listening to music is all about?

Breakdown

(0:00) the haunting intro on electric piano, we know this is not a happy song. The somber chords evoke dread to my psyche. The credits say that the keys were manned by Guy Fletcher who I knew was from Dire Straits.
(0:07) Interesting how it seemed either the crowd hushed themselves to really pay attention or this is the result of mixer magic since you only hear the band? We know that this particular song was recorded at the Apollo in Glasgow, Scotland on 30 August 1982 during the band’s Avalon tour.

(0:17) the bass kicks in
(0:35 ) Phil Manzanera’s noodling comes in. Of course more on him later.
(0:49) finally the smooth, silky, classy voice of Bryan Ferry implores the lyrics. He is not only singing , he is playing a role. 
(01:16) the first appearance of the title/ chorus. 
(01:24) the trio of backup female vocalists make their presence felt.
(01:35) “ does it seem so funny for a fool to cry?”– how descriptive can you get about heartbreak and loss?? When your love leaves you,  do you feel like a fool? Do you feel like crying? 
(01:48) for years I always misheard these lyrics as ” do you know the meaning of alibi?” like some relationships die from too many lame excuses.
(02:00) “If you need to know remember me..”  imagery that you hope the other party remembers you from some visual cue. Of course this yearning eventually passes with time but the protagonist in this song is dealing with his current, raw feelings. 
(02:20) if you are used to the 3 minute pop song you might believe this is the outro guitar part. Even though it lasts for 47 seconds it is just an appetizer.
(03:08) Ferry begins the last verse. Let us assume there are no vocal overdubs on this recording. His voice sounds so good and he is doing this over a full concert. You can spend days or weeks in the studio making one song sound good. It is not a powerful voice we hear but it appropriately compliments the Roxy Music sound. This song is not about being in direct conflict with his “Only Love” but trying to come to grips with the loss, feeling very vulnerable and hoping to have made an impact. That is what I meant by Ferry playing a role. Not unlike De Niro or Pacino playing a role. 
(03:50) the title is repeated a few times by the singers then they stop
(03:56) Phil Manzenera’s guitar solo begins in earnest and it is both haunting and beautiful. Tempo is still slow here. The bass comes in sparingly all throughout this gem of a guitar solo.
(04:46) Phil climbs the fret board.
(05:08) I am not sure why the thump on the bass here is so memorable but it is. Maybe to punctuate this beautiful guitar solo that is still developing.
(05:19) more high notes 

(05:35) Manzenera starts strumming here as if he is coming up for air or signaling a transition.
(05:42) cymbals crashing in time with the accents of the guitar.
(05:51)  the icing on the cake , Andy Mackay’s saxophone ( which has been mute up to this point) comes in doubling the lines of the guitar part as they play in unison ever so briefly then Mackay picks up the baton like a relay runner from hell as the tempo speeds up. Then a furious charge like it could cut through adamantium.
(06:40) The backup vocalists rejoin singing the title while Andy continues to take no prisoners.
(07:09) It finally ends with a Mackay wail bringing this masterpiece to a dramatic conclusion. Roxy Music where the singer is tastefully restrained but the sax player is the one who wails. 

 

You might hear something totally different than what I heard. You may like this song now and love it later. You might like the original studio version from Flesh + Blood better. It is more concise and does not have that energy build up of my favorite version. It also fades ( as a lot of studio songs do ) as opposed to the cold ending of the live version.  You might like the version that made it on the live video Roxy Music released. What is strange is the CD version kept the version from the EP which we know is recorded in a different country.

 

The Roxy Music Avalon tour must have been something. Too bad I knew so little about them when I had the chance.

Why write this at all besides my obvious love for the song? Forget the fact that the song was composed almost 40 years ago. It is a good song played by a great band. Contemporary music fans are totally clueless by great playing and they wonder why those of us with different values are not ” kilig” with Justin Bieber.

 

There is nothing like seeing a great band live. Current “music ” no longer features live albums , great bands or even albums. What is prevalent is the one hit wonders that have the permanence of toilet paper. This song encompasses values that the kids today are totally unaware existed. I am just one person with a voice in cyberspace. If I can slightly expand the musical horizons of a few others out there, this will all be worth it. There is such a thing as good playing, band interaction, tasteful arrangements. You just won’t find it in hip hop or people who make 11 year old girls swoon.

 

 

 

More about My Only Love  / Roxy Music

http://www.vivaroxymusic.com/songs_334.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_High_Road_(EP)

http://www.vivaroxymusic.com/albums_14.php

The rest of my GRP contributions. 

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About Gogs

Putting a very sharp needle into the balloon known as Pinoy Pride since 2012.

18 Comments on “Gogs Breaks Down A Song: My Only Love”

  1. FILIPINOS GOT NO TALENT !!! That is a fact !!!
    Just watch their looney dowdy “entertainment” shows … They sing the SAME OLD SONG all the time !!!
    NOTHING ORIGINAL !!!

    There are plenty of talents in hip-hop, rap, and, reggae .. BUT THE ‘TOOPID FILIPINO CHANNEL won’t let them because THEY LOOK LIKE YOUR OLD-FASHION BROWN SKIN PUNK’D NOSE NO-ENGLISH FILIPINOS …. The Filipino Channel prefers white-skin English-snobs.

    ‘TOOPID FILIPINO CHANNEL IS stupidifying Filipinos to the max !!! NO TALENT !!! They just copy !!! WHAT A BAD COPY …. !!!!

    1. Bollywood is way way way way way … better. They got talent … they sing and dance in well choreographed unison …. THEY LOOK FANTASTIC … the cinematography is awesome … the editing is outstanding … the direction is superb … watching them i would think is from 1stWorld Country … BUT WATCHING FILIPINOS … DANCE … SING … I KNOW RIGHT AWAY IT IS MASSED PRODUCED IN THE PHILIPPINES FOR FILIPINOS ……

    2. And, oh, please do not mention the Americans that has Filipino blood … when I say “AMERICANS” I mean born-and-bred Americans that speak American English …they got talent because of the air they breath the food they eat and the school they were educated … and the friends they hang-out with .. AMERICANS .. not Filipinos … HAD THEY HANG-OUT WITH FILIPINOS they’d be clappity-clap-clap Manny Pacquiao …

    3. “FILIPINOS GOT NO TALENT !!! That is a fact !!!”

      Not quite, but I agree with you, “THE ‘TOOPID FILIPINO CHANNEL won’t let them” or not letting them!

      If that is so true then why would anyone even bother to feature an album cover of a Filipino rock group, like Juan dela Cruz Band, prominently displayed at the center front cover of a Record Collector Dreams – Book Series by Hans Pokora?

      http://www.rockandrollarchives.net/p/record-collector-dreams-books.html

      https://youtu.be/RKTzygsiID4

      https://youtu.be/1PeDP3vnDhE

      https://youtu.be/sJQ9uUDlfEg

      You may appreciate bollywood, but we have something like this:

      https://youtu.be/FOoXXqoXHz8?t=6m34s

      There are a variety of Filipino talents to discover here:

      http://pinoyalbums.com/

      or if you prefer classic and traditional, we have that too.

      https://youtu.be/SI0kO4_BJuc

      https://youtu.be/vg_1AbIXkEI

      https://youtu.be/TJQkHzXkY5k

      And unlike Mr. Oratio, other foreign nationals know how to appreciate:

      https://youtu.be/wzjsD9XVRkM

      https://youtu.be/wPhcWd3HpyU

      1. Thank goodness I got 10 fingers to count and the link you just gave me are nothing but countmore not countless … so not much … nothing doing … STILL …. GOT TALENT?

        NONE.

  2. I love music of all shades. But, todays’s music, is more of a noise, with senseless words in them…

    I cannot understand the millennials. They seem to love this kind of music !

    1. There are gazillions of genre out there but Filipino songs are nothing but regurgitated and rehashed songs … NOTHING NEW !!! Can’t these people know we are now in 2018 yet they are still singing songs of the 70s? TOTALLY SICK .. ABSOLUTELY UNCREATIVE …

  3. Those were the days when it was all about the song, rather than the singer. I remember that line from Carol Kaye, the legendary “hidden bassist” behind many classic songs, when she said something that described her work and why she didn’t gasp for credit: “the note doesn’t say if you’re male or female; the note is either good or bad.” I’ll interpret that as, the note doesn’t say if you’re an awesome or rotten person, or whether your character shows in the music. A note is just a note, so if it’s composed and performed nicely or badly, it’s either good or bad. So she says, in effect, “music is a product; if more artists were more professional, and they thought more about we than me, then the music industry would be a better business.” The music industry today tries to market so many “me me mes” because it caters to the “me me me” attitude of fans. Basically, it’s all a cult of personality instead of evaluating at the products. The same thing that happens in our politics today, personalities instead of platforms.

    1. Thank you Chino. Yes there was a time when the song was all you had. You listened and hopefully you appreciated everything that was on there. The craftsmanship. Of course the hip hop guys and boybands have their fans but I doubt that stuff can hold up to much scrutiny . Since this is my submission , this is how I hear this certain song. Of course one interprets anything based on their personal values. I love music and I wrote this so maybe somebody curious about music can learn what might go into a song. I stress the interaction between the players and how everything blends together and the whole thing is on stage.

      Your more we than me quote reminds me of another quote by Harry S Truman” It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. ” Some of that is MTV. Where the emphasis was on the marketing of the song as opposed to the song itself. It is almost worth writing about how recording technology transformed music. The old days what ended up on the record was a single take , no overdubs. As the technology became more forgiving well the standards on musicianship lowered. I think I mentioned in an older blog that A-Ha’s first live performance was in the Grammys. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

      A major point I wanted to make here that this was what I personally heard from the song and hopefully some people gave it a listen and see what they heard. I am sure they might hear something different but that is the beauty of music. You might hear something different after the 30th time of listening to something that you never heard on 25th time. Reminds me of a quote from the Gene Hackman Lex Luthor ” Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.”

      1. When it comes to Roxy Music though, I think more of Brian Eno, who after he left, made the Windows 95 startup sound. His punky feathers costume was pretty interesting, too.

  4. Roxy Music’s “My Only Love” is fine but I find Bryan Ferry’s solo outing with “When She Walks In The Room” from the album “The Bride Stripped Bare (1978)” more to my liking.

    And “Naglalakbay” by Juan dela Cruz Band, the one somebody posted above, was a pleasant surprise coming from a group known for heavy riffs! Symphonic, psychedelic and it’s dreamy prose, lyrical!

    1. Thank you Jo! I have a lot of the Roxy Music albums on mp3. I did not know before I looked into the Roxy website that he had a solo album during the Roxy run. I knew of the post Roxy ones. As long as everybody understands that my point is there is so much to this particular version of the song. What I neglected to say in the main blog ( since it only occurred to me after your point) is if you listen to the MOL from Flesh + Blood and listen to the version I featured that is on the High Road that it is possible that the latter version is the kind of playing that inspired the musicians to be musicians in the first place. Yes I admit I am telling the readers this is a great song but I am also saying look at all these different components that go into this song regardless what you think of it.

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