Beauty Queens: The Stories Behind Roxy Music’s Artwork

By Jason Draper

Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the most successful ladies’ men in rock — thanks in no small part to the band’s canny artwork, which injected some fashion-shoot glamour into rock album covers. (It didn’t hurt that Ferry would be romantically linked with many of the Roxy Music models…) Their eight studio albums remain classics, with artworks that remain iconic to this day. But who were these beauty queens? uDiscover goes under the covers…

Roxy Music (1972)
Cornwall-born Kari-Ann Muller was a former Bond girl (she appeared in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) paid a scant £20 to appear on the cover of Roxy Music — a steal for the then unknown band, whose debut album would go on to define 70s art-rock. Evoking classic glamour shoots of the 40s and 50s, the Roxy Music cover set the template for the group’s subsequent artworks, though Muller would retire from modelling in order to become a yoga teacher. She retains ties to the rock world, however, as she married Chris Jagger, whose brother has fronted a popular beat combo since the 60s.

For Your Pleasure (1973)
By the time she met Bryan Ferry, Amanda Lear had both dated Brian Jones (inspiring The Rolling Stones’ 1967 song ‘Miss Amanda Jones’) and served as muse and confidante for Salvador Dalí. A brief romance with Ferry coincided with her being pictured on the front of For Your Pleasure, holding a panther on a leash. (The photo shoot took place in South London, with a panther so sedated on Valium that it couldn’t move; its eyes and teeth had to be added to the image in post-production.) Yet, despite posing for Playboy in 1977, rumours that Lear was born in France as Alain Tapp, a male-born transsexual, have persisted throughout the decades.

Stranded (1973)
Another Playboy star to enjoy a romantic dalliance with Bryan Ferry, Marilyn Cole caught the Roxy Music frontman’s eye when she was crowned Playmate Of The Month in January 1972, subsequently finding herself adorning the Stranded album cover. Latterly a journalist, Cole now writes about professional boxing, among other subjects.

Country Life (1974)
One glance at the Country Life artwork and you’d be hard-pressed to believe Ferry didn’t enjoy a fling with Constanze Karoli and Eveline Grunwald, the two German Roxy Music fans who were all too happy to remove a few layers for Ferry and co. Having met the singer in a bar in Portugal, where Ferry had decamped to write lyrics for the album, they also helped him translate a portion of the song ‘Bitter-Sweet’ into German. The cover proved too racy for the US market, which issued the album with a picture of the foliage, sans models.

Siren (1975)
A sign of how Roxy Music’s status had grown in just three years, they were able to encourage globally recognised supermodel Jerry Hall to pose as a mermaid for the cover of their fifth studio album. Ever the charmer, Bryan Ferry is said to have held an umbrella over Hall during the shoot, to ensure that her blue body paint did not wash off. Smitten, Hall was engaged to Ferry by early 1976, though she would leave him the following year for Mick Jagger, subsequently inspiring the Stones’ song, ‘Miss You’, and becoming the third Roxy Music cover model to connect the band to Jagger and co.

Manifesto (1979)
Perhaps finding it hard to top Jerry Hall, when Roxy Music returned after a four-year hiatus they threw a fake party with a collection of mannequins — some apparently designed with the original Roxy Music cover star, Kari-Ann Muller, in mind. Look carefully in the background and you can see two human models: a pair of twins who were long-term fans of the band.

Flesh + Blood (1980)
Roxy Music went for gold with Flesh + Blood, which hit the top spot in the UK charts in June 1980. The models, staged to look like high-school athletes competing in a sports day javelin contest, were picked and photographed by Peter Saville, best known for his design for work for Factory Records.

Avalon (1982)
Having spent the 70s enjoying many a tryst with his band’s cover stars, Bryan Ferry finally made a long-term commitment to one of them in 1982, when he married 22-year-old Lucy Helmore (14 years Ferry’s junior); the couple enjoyed a three-decade marriage that produced four children. The Avalonalbum cover was shot at dawn, on a lake at Helmore’s parents’ house in Ireland, with Helmore wearing a medieval helmet and carrying a falcon — designed to evoke Kin Arthur’s journey to Avalon, his final resting place and the mythical land where his sword, Excalibur, was forged.

Purchase the Roxy Music best of, The Collection, here.

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