Andy Mackay

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Andy Mackay
Mackay with Roxy Music, LG Arena, Birmingham January 2011
Background information
Birth nameAndrew Mackay
Born (1946-07-23) 23 July 1946 (age 74)
Lostwithiel, Cornwall, England
GenresRock, glam rock, art rock, classical music, R&B
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, producer, educator, author, film scorer
Instruments Saxophone, keyboards, oboe, wind controller, vocals
Years active1971–present
Labels Island, Polydor, Virgin, Reprise, Warner Bros., EG, ATCO
Associated acts Roxy Music

Andrew Mackay (born 23 July 1946) is an English multi-instrumentalist, best known as a founding member (playing oboe and saxophone) of the art rock group Roxy Music.


In addition, he has taught music and provided scores for television, while his CV as a session musician encompasses some of the most noteworthy and recognisable names in the music business.

Life and career

Mackay was born in Lostwithiel, Cornwall, England, and grew up in central London, attending Westminster City School where he was a chorister in the choir of St Margaret's, Westminster. [1] [2] A classically trained woodwind player, [3] he studied music and English literature at Reading University. While at university, he played with a band called The Nova Express and, together with future Roxy Music publicist Simon Puxley, formed part of a performance art group called Sunshine. He also struck up a friendship with Winchester art student Brian Eno. [4]

Mackay performing in Toronto, 1974 Roxy Music.jpg
Mackay performing in Toronto, 1974

In January 1971, Mackay became a member of the art rock band Roxy Music (formed November 1970) after answering a Melody Maker advertisement placed by singer Bryan Ferry; he soon brought Eno into the group to handle "Synthesiser and Tapes". Prior to signing with EG Management, Mackay taught music full-time at Holland Park School and part-time at Bishop Thomas Grant Catholic Comprehensive to support himself. Initially, guitarist David O'List (from The Nice) was part of the group, but he was replaced by Phil Manzanera in February 1972, just as the band's first album was about to be recorded. Drummer Paul Thompson completed the band's line up.

Mackay played oboe and saxophone in Roxy Music, becoming known for his Chuck Berry-inspired duckwalk during saxophone solos, notably on the raucous track "Editions of You". With his pronounced quiff, Star Trek sideburns and outlandish Motown-inspired stage costumes, Mackay made a vital contribution to the unique Roxy Music "look"—much of which functioned as a retro-futurist throwback to 1950s rock and roll performers. [5]

His songwriting credits for Roxy Music include the Top Five hits "Love is the Drug" (1975) and "Angel Eyes" (1979), plus "A Song for Europe", "Three and Nine", "Bitter-Sweet", "Sentimental Fool", "While My Heart is Still Beating" and "Tara", together with the early experimental B-sides "The Numberer" and "The Pride and the Pain".

He released two instrumental solo albums in the 1970s: In Search of Eddie Riff (1974), an exploration of his musical roots, and Resolving Contradictions (1978), based on his impressions of a trip to China. Both albums featured guest appearances from Paul Thompson and Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music. [6] He also composed and produced the music for the hit television series Rock Follies and Rock Follies of '77 , with lyrics by playwright and screenwriter Howard Schuman. Both series sired specially recorded soundtrack albums, the first of which reached number one in the UK Album Chart in March/April 1976. The second contained the single "OK?", which reached number ten in the UK Singles Chart in May/June 1977. Schuman and Mackay reunited in 1983 for the BBC one-off TV drama Video Stars, with Mackay again providing music. [7] He appeared onscreen in cameo roles in both Schuman projects.

Mackay has also worked with Duran Duran, Mott the Hoople, John Cale, Pavlov's Dog, John Mellencamp, Mickey Jupp, Yukihiro Takahashi, Paul McCartney, Godley & Creme, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Tomoyasu Hotei, Arcadia and 801. He played saxophone on several tracks of Brian Eno's Here Come the Warm Jets and Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) .

In 1981, his book Electronic Music: The Instruments, the Music & the Musicians was published by Phaidon.

After Roxy Music's dissolution in 1983, Mackay joined with Roxy guitarist Phil Manzanera to form the Explorers, featuring Bryan Ferry-soundalike James Wraith on lead vocals. The group released a self-titled album in 1985 and three years later resurfaced as Manzanera and Mackay. Under this name, they released a further two albums which combined new material with reissued tracks from the Explorers album.

From 1988 to 1991, Mackay largely abandoned music to take a three-year Bachelor of Divinity course at King's College London. During this time, he played on and produced a Christmas album with The Players, a group of English folk musicians.

He has written several themes for British television and radio, such as the memorable theme music for the late 1970s series Armchair Thriller and Hazell .

With Ferry, Manzanera and Thompson, he took part in the Roxy Music reunion concerts of 2001, with further scattered live dates in 2003, 2005/6 and 2011.

In 2014, he became a founder member of Clive Langer's new band, The Clang Group, playing two dates in London in October 2014 and recording an EP for Domino. [8] [9]

2018 saw the completion of his setting of '3Psalms' which started as an experimental project in the mid 1990s, aiming to be a synthesis of Mackay’s varied influences, from his classical training to his rock and roll, avant-garde electronica and even his years as a boy chorister. Picking up in 2012, Mackay went back into the studio, scoring strings, choir, synthesisers, guitar and some other rock elements. Fellow Roxy musician Phil Manzanera guested on both the album and the London concert premiering the work, which also featured orchestral reworkings of several Roxy Music tracks under the banner 'Roxymphony'. [10]


Solo albums

Rock Follies

Explorers/Manzanera and Mackay


Andy Mackay + The Metaphors

Related Research Articles

Roxy Music English art rock band formed in 1970

Roxy Music were an English rock band formed in 1970 by Bryan Ferry—who became the band's lead singer and main songwriter—and bass guitarist Graham Simpson. The other longtime members were Phil Manzanera (guitar), Andy Mackay, and Paul Thompson. Other members included Brian Eno, Eddie Jobson, and John Gustafson (bass). Although the band took a break from group activities in 1976 and again in 1983, they reunited for a concert tour in 2001, and toured together intermittently over the next few years. Ferry frequently enlisted band members as session musicians for his solo releases.

Bryan Ferry English musician

Bryan Ferry CBE is an English singer and songwriter. His voice has been described as an "elegant, seductive croon". He also established a distinctive image and sartorial style; according to The Independent, Ferry and his contemporary David Bowie influenced a generation with both their music and their appearances. Peter York described Ferry as "an art object" who "should hang in the Tate".

<i>Flesh and Blood</i> (Roxy Music album) 1980 studio album by Roxy Music

Flesh and Blood is the seventh studio album by the English rock band Roxy Music. Released in late May 1980, it was an immediate commercial success peaking at No. 1 in the UK for one week in June and then returned to the summit in August for another three weeks, in total spending 60 weeks on the albums chart in the United Kingdom. The album also peaked at No. 35 in the United States and No. 10 in Australia.

Phil Manzanera Musical artist

Phillip Geoffrey Targett-Adams, known professionally as Phil Manzanera, is an English musician and record producer. He was the lead guitarist with Roxy Music, 801, and Quiet Sun. In 2006 Manzanera co-produced David Gilmour's album On an Island and played in Gilmour's band for tours in Europe and North America. He wrote and presented a series of 14 one-hour radio programmes for station Planet Rock entitled The A-Z of Great Guitarists.

<i>For Your Pleasure</i> 1973 studio album by Roxy Music

For Your Pleasure is the second album by English rock band Roxy Music, released by Island Records in 1973. It was their last to feature synthesiser and sound specialist Brian Eno, who would later gain acclaim as a solo artist and producer.

<i>Stranded</i> (album) 1973 studio album by Roxy Music

Stranded is the third album by English rock band Roxy Music, released in 1973 by Island Records. Stranded was the first Roxy Music album on which Bryan Ferry was not the sole songwriter, with multi-instrumentalist Andy Mackay and guitarist Phil Manzanera also making songwriting contributions. It is also their first album without Brian Eno, who had left the band after the release of their previous album For Your Pleasure.

Virginia Plain 1972 single by Roxy Music

"Virginia Plain" is a song by English rock band Roxy Music, released as their debut single in August 1972. Written by Roxy frontman Bryan Ferry, the song was recorded by the band in July 1972 at London's Command Studios. Backed with "The Numberer", an instrumental composed by Andy Mackay, as a single the song became a Top 10 hit in the UK, peaking at number four.

"2HB" is a song written by Bryan Ferry and first recorded by Roxy Music for their 1972 debut album, Roxy Music. Ferry also recorded a version for his 1976 solo album, Let's Stick Together.

"Bitters End" is the final song on Roxy Music's self-titled debut album, released in 1972. The song is based on a group vocal arrangement done in a satirical 1950s doo wop style. "Bitters End" was not performed live often, however Roxy Music did perform it on 23 June 1972 for John Peel on the BBC sessions.

"Ladytron" is a song by Bryan Ferry, recorded by his band Roxy Music and appearing on their eponymous debut album. The British electronic band Ladytron took their name from this song.

Do the Strand 1973 single by Roxy Music

"Do the Strand" is the first song from English rock band Roxy Music's second album, For Your Pleasure. In contrast to the songs from Roxy Music's eponymous debut album, this song starts suddenly without any instrumental fanfare.

"In Every Dream Home a Heartache" is a song written by Bryan Ferry, originally appearing on his band Roxy Music's second album, For Your Pleasure.

"Street Life" is the opening track of English rock band Roxy Music's third album Stranded, their first album with Eddie Jobson, who replaced Brian Eno. It was released as a single in the UK in November 1973 and reached number 9 on the charts. Its non-LP B-side "Hula Kula", a Hawaiian-like instrumental composed by Phil Manzanera, was re-released on "The Thrill of It All" boxset.

<i>Greatest Hits</i> (Roxy Music album) 1977 greatest hits album by Roxy Music

Greatest Hits is a compilation album by the English band Roxy Music. It was released in 1977, when the band were on hiatus.

<i>Diamond Head</i> (Phil Manzanera album) 1975 studio album by Phil Manzanera

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<i>Mamouna</i> 1994 studio album by Bryan Ferry

Mamouna is the ninth solo album by Bryan Ferry, released on Virgin Records in September 1994. It was Ferry's first album of original material in seven years and he spent six years writing and recording it, under the working title Horoscope. The album peaked at number 11 on the UK Albums Chart.

Pyjamarama (song) 1973 single by Roxy Music

"Pyjamarama" is a song by English rock band Roxy Music, released as a single in March 1973, to promote their For Your Pleasure album, though it was excluded from the album itself. It reached a peak of #10 on the UK Singles Chart after a twelve week charting stint. The song was written by Bryan Ferry, and the first one he wrote with the guitar as his instrument. and was backed by an instrumental non-LP track called "The Pride and the Pain" written by Andrew Mackay.

"All I Want is You" is a single by English rock band Roxy Music, written by Bryan Ferry, and taken from their 1974 album Country Life. It reached a peak of #12 on the UK Official Singles Chart, in an eight week stint on the charts. The single is also notable for its B-side, an instrumental track called "Your Application's Failed", which is the only track to date written by drummer Paul Thompson. The track was re-released on The Thrill of It All boxset.

"The Thrill of It All" is a single by English rock band Roxy Music taken from their 1974 album Country Life. The single was backed by the "All I Want Is You" B-side, an instrumental track called "Your Application's Failed", which is the only track to date written by drummer Paul Thompson. The track was re-released on "The Thrill of It All" boxset.

"Both Ends Burning" is a single by English rock band Roxy Music taken from their 1975 album Siren. The version released as a single edited the intro and the ending compared to the album version. The B-side of the single was a version of their song "For Your Pleasure" recorded live at the Empire Pool Wembley in October 1975, at one of the concerts from which the Viva! album was composed. In the US and Canada, the song was the B-side of the "Love Is the Drug" single. The single version is on The Complete Studio Recordings 1972-1982 but was not included on their 1977 album Greatest Hits.


  1. Michael Bracewell (2011). Re-make/Re-model: Art, Pop, Fashion and the making of Roxy Music, 1953-1972. p. 180. ISBN   9780571276707.
  2. Madeleine Davies (21 November 2018), "Rock Psalms to be heard on South Bank", Church Times
  3. DeRogatis, Jim (2003). Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 229. ISBN   978-0-634-05548-5 . Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  4. Sheppard, David (2008). On Some Faraway Beach: The Life And Times Of Brian Eno. Orion. p. 60. ISBN   978-1-4091-0593-0 . Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  5. Roxyrama Official Website Andy Mackay Biography
  6. Kaye, Ben (16 September 2008). "Icons of Rock: Andy Mackay". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  7. "Video Stars (TV Movie 1983)".
  8. "The Clang Group".
  9. "TheClangGroup".
  10. "3Psalms".