Virginia Plain was a bolt from the blue when Roxy Music first appeared on Top Of The Pops. The Great British public had never seen or heard its like before. Coming over like a hugely glamorous and alien cross between the 1950s and science fiction, this was a look and sound designed to blast away the dour mood of 1970s Britain. Structurally it was not your typical pop-fare either, a chorus free song (about who-knows-what!) awash with Brian Eno’s synthesisers, an improvised guitar solo from Phil Manzanera, the strains of Andy Mackay’s oboe and sax, and topped by the knowing, mannered vocals of Bryan Ferry. This was art-school pop at it’s finest. And this was a debut single, which reached number 4 in the UK charts.
In some ways Roxy never bettered this, although their career arc was never less than fascinating. An avant-garde first album, a sound consolidated and perfected on the second, a collection of three more solid (and more mainstream) albums following Eno‘s departure, a career break and then a return with an increasingly sophisticated sound that peaked with their final album, Avalon. Hugely influential, particularly on the post-punk / new-pop sounds the late 70s and early 80s, Roxy Music have carved out a very definite place in the history of popular music. Oh, and did I mention those album covers?!
So a ukulele version? Really?! Well why not. The song sheet has been to a large part inspired by this version by The Re-Entrants, which I think is great. There are two song sheets, one with just chords (which should be reasonably self-explanatory), and one including tab for the opening and bridge riffs, and for the solos. I don’t vouch for the total accuracy of these (in particular the descending chords at the end of the solo) but they sound OK (note that I’ve taken the song up a key to make it easier to play). Anyway, have a bash and amend as you see fit. Enjoy!