84. ROXY MUSIC: Virginia Plain/ The Numberer (1972)
Chanel No.5 to the splash-it-all-over Brut of Slade, Roxy Music's debut lent glam a sophistication even David Bowie had trouble matching. From its buzz-saw guitar intro to Bryan Ferry's final, "What's her name? Virginia Plain" lyrical coup de grace, this is two minutes 57 seconds of swaggering cool. An under-heralded precursor of British punk, Virginia Plain (its punning title originally belonged to a Ferry painting) also finds room for Brian Eno's crazed synthetics, a motorcycle and a pocket fusillade of a guitar solo from Phil Manzanera. Instrumental B-side The Numberer is an eclectic layer cake, but worth a spin.
Availability: The Best Of Roxy Music Virgin CD
83. THE FOUR TOPS :Reach Out I'll Be There/ Until You Love Someone(1966)
Phil Spector described the song as "Black Dylan." It wasn't the lyrics that were so extraordinary, but the stunning musical backdrop that ushered in a new rock direction for Motown. A number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic and The Four Tops first in the UK, it was songwriters Holland-Dozier- Holland at their very best. Deceptive in its simplicity, it combines Levi Stubbs' powerful baritone with Duke Fakir, Lawrence Payton,and Renaldo Benson's delicious harmonics and an instantly infectious chorus.
Availability: The Ultimate Collection Motown CD


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