Beauty Queens: The Stories Behind Roxy Music’s Album Covers
Who were the women on the Roxy Music album covers? We reveal the full stories behind the artworks that remain iconic to this day.
Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the most successful ladies’ men in rock – thanks in no small part to the band’s canny artwork, which injected some fashion-shoot glamour into rock album covers. (It didn’t hurt that Ferry would be romantically linked with many of the Roxy Music models…) Their eight studio albums remain classics, with artworks that remain iconic to this day. But who were the beauty queens on the Roxy Music album covers?
Roxy Music (1972)
Cornwall-born Kari-Ann Muller was a former Bond girl (she appeared in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) paid a scant £20 to appear on the cover of Roxy Music – a steal for the then-unknown band, whose debut album would go on to define 70s art-rock. Evoking classic glamour shots of the 40s and 50s, the Roxy Music artwork set the template for all future Roxy Music album covers, though Muller would retire from modeling in order to become a yoga teacher. She retains ties to the rock world, however, as she married Chris Jagger, whose brother has fronted a popular beat combo since the 60s.
For Your Pleasure (1973)
By the time she met Bryan Ferry, Amanda Lear had both dated Brian Jones (inspiring The Rolling Stones’ 1967 song “Miss Amanda Jones”) and served as muse and confidante for Salvador Dalí. A brief romance with Ferry coincided with her being pictured on the front of For Your Pleasure, holding a panther on a leash. (The photoshoot took place in South London, with a panther so sedated on Valium that it couldn’t move; its eyes and teeth had to be added to the image in post-production.)
Another Playboy star to enjoy a romantic dalliance with Bryan Ferry, Marilyn Cole caught the Roxy Music frontman’s eye when she was crowned Playmate Of The Month in January 1972, subsequently finding herself adorning the Stranded album cover. Latterly a journalist, Cole now writes about professional boxing, among other subjects.
Country Life (1974)
One glance at the Country Life artwork and you’d be hard-pressed to believe Ferry didn’t enjoy a fling with Constanze Karoli and Eveline Grunwald, the two German Roxy Music fans who were all too happy to remove a few layers for Ferry and co. Having met the singer in a bar in Portugal, where Ferry had decamped to write lyrics for the album, they also helped him translate a portion of the song “Bitter-Sweet” into German. Arguably the most controversial of the Roxy Music album covers, the Country Life artwork proved too racy for the US market, which issued the album with a picture of the foliage, sans models.
A sign of how Roxy Music’s status had grown in just three years, they were able to encourage globally recognized supermodel Jerry Hall to pose as a mermaid for the cover of their fifth studio album. Ever the charmer, Bryan Ferry is said to have held an umbrella over Hall during the shoot, to ensure that her blue body paint did not wash off. Smitten, Hall was engaged to Ferry by early 1976, though she would leave him the following year for Mick Jagger, subsequently inspiring the Stones’ song, “Miss You,” and becoming the third Roxy Music album covers model to connect the band to Jagger and co.
Perhaps finding it hard to top Jerry Hall, when Roxy Music returned after a four-year hiatus they threw a fake party with a collection of mannequins – some apparently designed with the original Roxy Music cover star, Kari-Ann Muller, in mind. Look carefully in the background and you can see two human models: a pair of twins who were long-term fans of the band.
Flesh + Blood (1980)
Roxy Music went for gold with Flesh + Blood, which hit the top spot in the UK charts in June 1980. The models, staged to look like high-school athletes competing in a sports day javelin contest, were picked and photographed by Peter Saville, best known for his design for work for Factory Records.
Having spent the 70s enjoying trysts with the Roxy Music album covers stars, Bryan Ferry finally made a long-term commitment to one of them in 1982, when he married 22-year-old Lucy Helmore (14 years Ferry’s junior); the couple enjoyed a three-decade marriage that produced four children. The Avalon album cover was shot at dawn, on a lake at Helmore’s parents’ house in Ireland, with Helmore wearing a medieval helmet and carrying a falcon – designed to evoke Kin Arthur’s journey to Avalon, his final resting place and the mythical land where his sword, Excalibur, was forged.
Listen to the best of Roxy Music on Apple Music and Spotify.
September 1, 2016 at 9:43 am
Where in South London was the FYP shot? Many thanks in advance!
All the best
August 20, 2017 at 3:22 pm
Flesh + Blood models are Shelley Mann and Aimee Stephenson on the front and Roslyn Bolton ( a.k.a. Ashley Bolton ) on the back of the cover
September 30, 2017 at 10:15 am
Amazing covers. They were always so eye-catching and classy. My favorite remains Stranded, but I had no idea the model was Marilyn Cole from Playboy. She has to be one of the most strikingly beautiful (and sexy) models ever.
September 30, 2017 at 5:56 pm
YOu can see the Thames in the cover for For Your Pleasure (my fav Roxy Music album other than Avalon)- Manifesto is a close 2nd. I would guess it’s It could be Embankment on the south side of the Thames – the water is behind the model dude.
September 30, 2017 at 8:38 pm
Longtime Roxy fan and I must say that these little tidbits about the album covers are pure gold.
October 26, 2017 at 11:19 am
The first two Roxy Music albums are my personal favourites both for the musical content and their iconic album covers. The photo shoots for these took place in a studio over a garage in St Michaels Street, London. If you were to see the out-takes from the FYP shoot you will see that Bryan Ferry and Amanda Lear were photographed against a plain backdrop. I’ve always thought of the album cover background as being a cross between Las Vegas and a futuristic city. There are more pictures and information here – http://flavorwire.com/newswire/for-your-pleasure-roxy-music-lp-cover-photo-outtakes. You should also check out Karl Stoecker’s own website – http://www.karlstoeckerphotos.com/bio.html.
December 3, 2017 at 4:40 am
The Avalon cover was taken here. https://goo.gl/maps/uSpwqkvL8Vs
September 13, 2018 at 11:43 pm
The Cover of the Roxy Album ” Flesh and Blood” is Not inspired from High School Girls. It is the Art of Lwni Riefenstahl, she makes Lot of Photographie in this style and a Movie about the 1936 Olympiade in Berlin.
Also she had Made a movie about the Nazi Parteitag in Nuremberg with the title ” Triumph des Willens”.
Look any Photos from Leni Riefenstahl and you will See it.
After all, Flesh and Blood was a great LP.
July 7, 2019 at 1:38 pm
Great stuff. Here’s my appreciation of the Avalon cover:
James Scott Heine
May 22, 2021 at 2:08 am
I think Josef Keldenich is right. Bryan Ferry himself stated he admired the art of Lwni Riefenstahl and that got some bad vibes from the sensationistic media. And I have seen the movie Triumph des Willes’ in a Western Civilization History class in college (incidentally enough, this was during late 1989 when Communist regimes in Europe were falling!) and let me tell you, it is pompous and nauseating. It reveals explictly the sickening facets of Nazi ideology and fascism in general. It came to mind again with the ugliness of the Trump regime in the US.
HOWEVER, Bryan Ferry made it very clear that while he admires Riefenstahl’s artistic techniques he is NO admirer of Naziism or any fascist ideology or agenda what soever.