Phil Manzanera OBE: Roxy Music's Guitar Legend


Phil Manzanera: Guitar Maestro of Roxy Music

Phil Manzanera is a renowned guitarist, songwriter, and producer, best known for his influential role in the English art rock band Roxy Music. With a career spanning over five decades, Phil has significantly shaped the soundscape of rock music, blending innovative techniques with diverse musical influences.

Early Life and Musical Beginnings

Born Philip Geoffrey Targett-Adams in 1951, in London, England, Phil’s multicultural upbringing in various countries, including Cuba, Colombia, and Venezuela, exposed him to a wide range of musical styles. This early exposure played a pivotal role in his development as a versatile musician. Inspired by Latin American rhythms and British rock, young Phil began experimenting with the guitar, showcasing an innate talent that would soon propel him into the limelight.

Roxy Music Era

Phil Manzanera joined Roxy Music in 1972, bringing a unique and eclectic style to the band. His distinctive guitar work became a defining element of Roxy Music’s sound, contributing to classic albums like “For Your Pleasure” (1973), “Stranded” (1973), and “Country Life” (1974). Manzanera’s ability to blend avant-garde elements with rock’s traditional framework helped Roxy Music stand out in the 1970s music scene. Tracks like “Amazona” and “Out of the Blue” are testaments to his innovative approach and technical prowess.

Solo Career and Collaborations

Beyond Roxy Music, Phil Manzanera embarked on a successful solo career, releasing critically acclaimed albums such as “Diamond Head” (1975) and “Primitive Guitars” (1982). His solo work showcases his ability to seamlessly merge rock, ambient, and world music. Manzanera has also collaborated with numerous iconic artists, including Brian Eno, David Gilmour, John Cale and Tim Finn. Do make sure you check out the albums Phil and Tim have collaborated on – 2021’s Caught By The Heart and the following year’s The Ghost of Santiago.

Phil Manzanera and Tim Finn

Production Work and Influence

In addition to his performance career, Manzanera has made significant contributions as a producer. He has produced albums for a variety of artists, ranging from punk pioneers like The Damned to Latin rock legend Fito Páez. His production style is characterized by a keen ear for detail and a willingness to push musical boundaries.

Legacy and Continuing Influence

Phil Manzanera’s impact on rock music is enduring. His innovative guitar techniques, eclectic influences, and commitment to musical exploration continue to inspire new generations of musicians. Whether through his work with Roxy Music, his solo projects, or his production credits, Manzanera’s legacy is marked by a relentless pursuit of sonic excellence.

Personal Life and Recent Projects

Manzanera remains active in the music industry, both as a performer and a producer. He frequently participates in Roxy Music reunions and continues to release solo material. His recent projects, including his latest – Revolucion to Roxy – reflect a continued passion for blending diverse musical traditions and exploring new soundscapes.

Phil Manzanera: Rock's Influencer

Phil Manzanera’s illustrious career is a testament to his talent, versatility, and enduring influence in the world of rock music. His work with Roxy Music and beyond has left an indelible mark on the industry, making him a true icon of contemporary music. As he continues to innovate and inspire, Manzanera’s legacy as a pioneering guitarist and producer remains firmly established. 

Phil Manzanera joins us this week to talk music, life and the OBE recently bestowed on him for services to the music industry.

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