My Top 1000 Songs #312: Virginia Plain
Talk about a jaw-dropping debut single! Roxy Music came roaring out of the box fully-formed in 1972, the driving "Virginia Plain" a riveting declaration of intent. It's among their most straightforward, poppy upbeat rockers, leaning heavily on the glam stylings of Bowie and T.Rex, yet still sounds otherworldly and as transformative as the Velvets and the Stooges had been a few years earlier.
Now, personally, for all my love of early Roxy, I don't necessarily have a lot of stand-alone tracks I totally adore (which is why the previous entries on this list have been from their far less innovative later years); the first few albums, particularly the two with my musical hero Brian Eno, are groundbreaking and often fascinating, but they rarely recaptured the original and distinctive but also impressively radio-ready sound found on "Virginia Plain." It conveys the artsy, hyper-stylized affectations of Bryan Ferry as much as any of their music, but also demands you crank it up and shake your booty a bit.Live: