Now the party’s over: The soft-focus after-party afterglow of Roxy Music’s classic “Avalon” video

By on June 13, 2018

Night Flight’s Bryan Ferry Video Profile features nearly a half-dozen classic ’80s-era music videos by Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry — including “Avalon,” “Angel Eyes,” and Ferry’s “Slave to Love” — interspersed with candid vintage interview segments between Lisa Robinson and Ferry.

Watch the profile — which originally aired in 1985 — on Night Flight Plus.

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Our Bryan Ferry Video Profile begins with the video for “Avalon,” the title track and the second single released from Roxy Music’s eight and final studio album, released in June of 1982.

The track was a Top Twenty hit in the UK, and for three consecutive weeks it sat alone at #1 on the UK Singes chart.

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Avalon takes its title from the mythic island where the legend of King Arthur’s sword Excalibur is forged.

It’s the island where King Arthur was taken to recover from the battle wounds obtained at the Battle of Camlann from his illegitimate son Mordred.

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Now, imagine Ferry and members of the band and their girlfriends partying in Ferry’s posh penthouse suite.

It’s four o’clock in the morning, and Ferry — his tuxedo shirt undone, his tie untied — is wearily admitting “I’m so tired.”

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Ferry and his lover are too distracted to focus their attention on each other, but furtive glances and lazy smiles continue to be exchanged.

Lyrically, Roxy Music’s “Avalon” successfully attempts to capture that same soft-focus after-party afterglow, recovering from their battle wounds.

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The video — co-directed by Ridley Scott and Howard Guard — was filmed at Mentmore Towers, a grand 19th-century country house in Buckinghamshire, England.

Ferry’s then-current girlfriend, the future Mrs. Ferry, actress Lucy Helmore, makes an appearance.

She wear a medieval helmet and holds a falcon (both images also appear on the album’s cover art, designed by Peter Saville).

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The video also features actress Sophie Ward, and Ferry shows up wearing his white dinner jacket and carrying a red long-stemmed rose, like a fucked-up ’80s version of “The Bachelor.”

Avalon‘s arrival in late May of ’82 signified that Roxy Music had once again gone for a more adult-oriented sound, almost new age-y in its mellowness, with lush synth-drenched orchestrations and arrangements which really set them apart from much of the bouncy new wave music being released at the time.

Avalon is my Mom’s favorite album of theirs too, if that tells you anything.

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While Avalon only reached #53 on the U.S. album charts, the album is notable for being the only one of theirs to achieve platinum status in sales. It remained on the UK album charts for over a year.

Read more about the other videos featured in our Bryan Ferry Video Profile below.

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Our 1985 Bryan Ferry Video Profile also features the music video for “Angel Eyes,” the third single from Roxy Music’s sixth studio album, Manifesto, released in March 1979.

This was the band’s first promo video, and the single peaked at #4 in the UK charts in August that same year.

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“Same Old Scene” — the third single released from Flesh + Blood album, released in May 1980 — climbed to #12 in UK, ending the band’s successful consecutive run of Top Five hits.

It was also memorably featured on the soundtrack to 1980’s Times Square.

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Our Bryan Ferry Video Profile also features a couple of cover songs, including “The Price of Love,” an Everly Brothers tune, which appeared on the Extended Play EP in 1976.

“Let’s Stick Together” was Ferry’s biggest solo success in 1976, and a cover of Wilbert Harrison’s forgotten R&B single from 1962, a self-penned tribute to marital fidelity.

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Harrison’s song failed to chart until Topanga Canyon’s Canned Heat re-tooled it into “Let’s Work Together” in 1970.

Ferry preferred Harrison’s original, though, and in the spring of ’76 he decided to cut his own version at Air Studios in Oxford Circus with some old musician pals, including Chris Spedding (guitar), and King Crimson’s John Wetton (bass) and Mel Collins (saxophone, replacing the original single’s blaring harmonica).

By July ’76, Ferry’s “Let’s Stick Together” had climbed to #5 in the fifth week of its ten-week run on the UK charts.

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The video — shot in the Rainbow Room on the top floor of the London-based fashion store, Biba — featured Ferry’s then-girlfriend Jerry Hall, a towering Texan model whose yelps helped give the song its gimmicky hook.

Hall would later leave Ferry for Mick Jagger, who later wrote the Stones’s song “Miss You” about Hall. Ferry wrote his song “Kiss and Tell” about her as well.

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Speaking of gimmicks, Ferry decided to grow a Clark Gable-style mustache for the video.

He wears clothing designed by Ferry’s friend, Antony Price, who also designed the sets.

The director was another of Ferry’s friends, Jonathan Benson, who had been the assistant director on a number of Monty Python movies.

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Bryan Ferry’s Let’s Stick Together became his first post-Roxy Music album to chart in the U.S., barely (#160).

Soon enough he would be enjoying a spate of his own hits, including “Slave to Love,” a track from Boys and Girls, released on April 28, 1985.

The single climbed to #9 and spent ten weeks in the top 75, and Ferry performed it live, for the first time, at Live Aid that same summer.

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The video was directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino and featured Swedish model Christine Bergström, French model Laurence Treil and Dutch model Marpessa Hennink.

“Slave To Love” was also featured on the soundtrack to 9 1/2 Weeks, and also featured in the episode “Junk Love” of TV’s “Miami Vice” that same year.

Watch Night Flight’s Bryan Ferry Video Profile on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.