- The following is a reflection on the solo career and production career of Brian Eno. This will not include his collaborative albums, but will touch upon his first band "Roxy Music." The essay acts as a sort-of time-line which outlines his entire solo career in conjunction with his production credits.Included on the time line are the albums Roxy Music released after Brian Eno left the band as a means to show how one can evade popularity but, at the same time, run along side it.
"Here He Comes"- The Beginning
Sounds are an easy and effective way to take us back mentally to an event in our lives that we might not initially deem to be entirely relevant when you talk about it. For example, if I was to ask you to remember your first computer, you would probably look at me funny and not feel the significance of my request. However, if I said listen to the following:
Your memories of aimlessly fooling around on paint programs and typing up nonsense just because you could would come pouring back in a nostalgic wave.
The Windows 95 introduction (and all the sounds on that operating system) have snuck their way into pop culture and are still used (in different forms) in operating systems today. Arguably, it’s the most widely listened to album of all time.
What if I was to tell you that the sounds didn’t just “happen” on the computer and were actually made by a human being per the request of Windows. You would probably laugh and say “no kidding, dork” or something equally scathing. And, in addition, if I told you that they guy did other music as well that you probably have never heard, you’d probably say the same thing. However, if I was to add onto it and say that the same man produced some of the most well-known and well-regarded songs in the past twenty years you would call me crazy.
All the above is true. The man who created the jingle when you turned on your old bulky computer not only has a wide range of solo albums, but also produced some of the greatest songs of all time. The next question is obvious: what are some of the “greatest songs of all time” that he produced and where do I get off saying that they deserve that title? Well:
This is the man who produced those songs. His name is Brian Eno. Born Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno in 1948, Brian has produced 43 albums from 1974 to the present day (his most recent being this year). In addition to the people shown above, Brian has produced albums for Jon Cale, Devo, Toto, Grace Jones, Laurie Anderson, Sinead O’Connor, and Coldplay. He even has a song in his namesake by indie band MGMT.
However, at the same time, Brian has released a total of 51 albums under his name either solo or collaborative. This is an impressive discography to say the least; if you were to take all of the albums by Coldplay, U2, Talking Heads, and David Bowie and combine them, it wouldn’t match how many albums Eno has played on. Why isn’t he known? Who is Brian Eno? What does his music sound like?
The best place to begin is with his first band: Roxy Music.
"The Bogus Man"- The Roxy Music Years & Early Solo Years
- Brian Eno is the second one from the left.
Roxy music were formed in 1971 and are still regarded as one of the most important Art Rock bands in history. Eno was with the band at the start and worked on their first two albums: “Roxy Music” in ‘72 and “For Your Pleasure” in ‘73
- "I can only think of one truly great British album, and that's Roxy Music's "For Your Pleasure." -Morrissey.
- "But 'For Your Pleasure' is a greater testament to Eno's importance: it's hard to imagine an album that better exploits the tension between two fast-diverging creativities." -Pitchfork.com's 10 out of 10 review of "For Your Pleasure."
The albums were critically applauded and reached number 10 and 4 respectively in the UK charts. However, plenty of in-fighting lead to Brian Eno parting ways with the band at, seemingly, the height of their career. After “For Your Pleasure,” Roxy Music released six albums that all went gold and platinum. The first album after Eno left reached number 1 on the UK charts and the bands success and impact still exists today.
Upon leaving the band, Eno released his first solo album, “Here Come The Warm Jets” in January of 1974. The album was critically praised upon its release, particularly because Brian Eno wasn’t a musician in the sense of the word. He couldn’t (and still struggles) to read music and understand any sort of notation. The album appeared on various year-end lists as one of the best releases in 1974.
- "Still, there are inevitable similarities between much of 'Here Come the Warm Jets' and the band Eno had left just three months earlier, if, as the title so overtly declares, he's pissing all over them"- Pitchfork.com's 9.2 out of 10 review of "Here Come The Warm Jets"