Andy Mackay: musician, composer and founding member of Roxy Music
English multi instrumentalist Andy Mackay is best known as founding member of the British avant garde art rock group Roxy Music. Andy played oboe and saxophone with the band and became known for his Chuck Berry inspired duckwalk during saxophone solos. Andy was also known for his pronounced quiff, his Star Trek sideburns and outlandish Motown inspired stage costumes. He made a big contribution to the unique Roxy Music look, much of which seemed to be a retro futurist throwback to 1950s rock and rollers.
"The early history of Roxy Music is always represented different ways" - Andy Mackay
Mackay’s musical journey began when he studied classical music and joined the school orchestra as a young student. He continued his music education at the London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he honed his skills as an oboist and saxophonist.
In 1970, Andy Mackay teamed up with Bryan Ferry, Graham Simpson, and other musicians to form Roxy Music. The band’s experimental and artful approach to music quickly gained attention, and they became known for their unique blend of glam rock, art rock, and avant-garde elements. Mackay’s saxophone and oboe playing added a distinctive and sophisticated layer to the band’s sound.
The Joy of Being Roxy Music
Roxy Music’s eponymous debut album, released in 1972, marked the beginning of their successful career. The band’s innovative music, coupled with their glamorous image and Bryan Ferry’s charismatic presence, made them a significant force in the 1970s music scene.
Love Is the Drug
The Power of Image
Throughout the 1970s, Roxy Music released several successful albums, including “For Your Pleasure” (1973), “Stranded” (1973), “Country Life” (1974), and “Siren” (1975). The band’s popularity continued to grow, and they earned a huge and dedicated fan base.
The Legacy of Roxy Music and the expansion of Andy Mackay
In addition to his work with Roxy Music, Andy Mackay pursued solo projects, releasing albums that showcased his talents as a composer and performer. He released several solo albums, including “In Search of Eddie Riff” (1974), “Resolving Contradictions” (1978), and “London! New York! Paris! Rome!” (1988).
Andy Mackay today
And Roxy Music getting what it deserves
After Roxy Music’s disbandment in 1983, Mackay continued to collaborate with Bryan Ferry on various musical endeavors, including Ferry’s solo albums. He also worked as a session musician for other artists.
Roxy Music reunited several times over the years, and Andy Mackay remained an essential part of the band during these reunions, contributing to their live performances and recordings.
Roxy Music continued to tour and record throughout the 70s with a succession of hit albums and singles. After their eighth studio album, “Avalon”, a classic, platinum , album on both sides of the Atlantic, the band stopped touring in 1983. They re-formed for live shows in 2001 and last performed in 2011. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019, where they performed a short set. The various band members continue to be very active in many different musical spheres and remain friends.
Over the years Andy recorded solo albums and other projects for TV and films well as playing sessions for many great musicians including the various Roxy members. He also wrote a book on electronic music, studied theology and most recently finished the 3Psalms project, a work between genres, rock, classical, electronic sacred and secular which stands to sum up his lifetime interests.