Writer: Bryan Ferry
Producer: Peter Sinfield
Recorded: March 1972 at Command Studios in London, England
Released: Summer 1972
|Players:||Bryan Ferry — vocals, piano
Phil Manzanera — guitar
Andy Mackay — saxophone
Brian Eno — synthesizers
Graham Simpson — bass
Paul Thompson — drums
|Album:||Roxy Music (Island, 1972)|
Virginia Plain” was Roxy Music's first single, reaching Number Four on the U.K. pop chart.
It was recorded after the group's self-titled debut album was completed, however, and not included on initial versions of the album. It was subsequently added to all international editions of Roxy Music.
Lead singer and pianist Bryan Ferry says the song's title was based on one of his paintings. “It was sort of a throwaway watercolor. It reflects the feeling of that time…an American dream type of thing. Dreaming of going to New York and living in a loft and painting…The face of the girl in the painting was based on one of Andy Warhol's superstars at the time, “Baby“ Jane Holzer, who used to have this amazing, huge hairdo. It's about driving down the freeway, passing cigarette ads on vast billboards. And Las Vegas casinos…I'd have liked to re-do the painting as a cover for the single, but I didn't have the time.”
Nearly 30 years later, Ferry says he's still proud of the song. “Lyrically the song is the best thing I've done but not the easiest to follow because there are lots of little ideas and bits of ideas that link up for me, but maybe not for anyone else…I used to have a Studebaker…and the first verse is about our lawyer.”
The Roxy Music album, which was recorded for a mere 5,000 British pounds, hit Number 10 on the U.K. album chart. It did not chart in the U.S.
Peter Sinfield, best known as the onetime lyricist for King Crimson, produced Roxy Music.