Phil Manzanera

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Phil Manzanera
Phil Manzanera.jpg
Manzanera in 2015
Background information
Birth namePhilip Geoffrey Targett-Adams
Born (1951-01-31) 31 January 1951 (age 70)
London, England
Genres Art rock, Canterbury Scene, glam rock, experimental rock, jazz fusion, pop rock, art pop
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals, bass, keyboards
Years active1971–present
Associated acts Bryan Ferry, Quiet Sun, Roxy Music, Brian Eno, 801, John Wetton, Andy Mackay, David Gilmour, Pink Floyd

Phillip Geoffrey Targett-Adams (born 31 January 1951), known professionally as Phil Manzanera, is an English musician and record producer. He was the lead guitarist with Roxy Music, [1] [2] [3] [4] 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.


Early life

Manzanera was born in London to a Colombian mother and an English father, and spent most of his childhood in different parts of the Americas, including Hawaii, Venezuela, Colombia, and Cuba. It was in Cuba that the young Manzanera, aged six, encountered his first guitar, a Spanish guitar owned by his mother. His earliest musical accomplishments were Cuban folk songs inspired by the Cuban Revolution.

In Venezuela the eight-year-old Manzanera started experimenting with the sounds of the electric guitar. During his teenage years he was absorbing the twin influences of 1960s rock and roll and Latin American rhythms of merengue music, cumbia, and particularly the boleros of the Mexican Armando Manzanero.

In his late teens Manzanera – then a boarder at Dulwich College in south east London, England – formed a series of school bands with his friends Bill MacCormick, later a member of Matching Mole and Random Hold, MacCormick's brother Ian (better known as music writer Ian MacDonald) and drummer Charles Hayward, later of This Heat and Camberwell Now. Among the younger students at the school who saw the older boys performing in these various bands were Simon Ainley (later in 801), David Ferguson and David Rhodes; Ainley was briefly the lead vocalist for 801 in 1977, and all three were members of the late-'70s progressive group Random Hold; Rhodes subsequently became a long-serving member of Peter Gabriel's backing band.

The final incarnation of Manzanera's Dulwich College bands – a psychedelic outfit dubbed Pooh & The Ostrich Feathers – evolved into the progressive rock quartet Quiet Sun with the addition of keyboard player Dave Jarrett. They wrote a number of original songs and instrumental pieces, none of which were recorded until years later, and the band broke up when McCormick joined Matching Mole, but Manzanera briefly revived the group in 1975 to record a full LP of their original music during the making of his first solo album Diamond Head; later he included two other previously unrecorded Quiet Sun tracks on his 2008 album Firebird VII, which also featured Charles Hayward.

Music career

Roxy Music (1971–1983)

Manzanera in 1973 Phil-Manzanera 1973.jpg
Manzanera in 1973

Manzanera was determined to join a professional band, and in October 1971 he was one of about twenty players who auditioned as lead guitarist for the recently formed art rock band Roxy Music. Manzanera displayed a wide-ranging interest in music. Influenced by his childhood sojourns in Latin America, and his stints at boarding school, he came to know several prominent musicians including Soft Machine's Robert Wyatt and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, who was a friend of his older brother, Eugene. [5] [6]

He joined Roxy Music in 1972; his bandmates at this time were Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno, Paul Thompson, Andy Mackay, and Graham Simpson. Roxy Music's rise was meteoric, with the band being hailed as a major stylistic influence of the early 1970s. During the next 12 years, until 1983 when the band members went on a "long break," Roxy Music released a series of internationally best-selling albums, achieving ten UK Top Ten albums and touring extensively throughout the world. Although Ferry had sole writing credit on the first two LPs, and his work dominated the group's output, Manzanera was credited as co-writer with Ferry on the following Roxy Music songs:[ citation needed ]

Manzanera also received sole composer credit on the following Roxy Music song:

In parallel with Roxy Music, Manzanera has always pursued solo projects, both recording his own albums and producing for others. His first major credit as producer was in 1975; after spotting the New Zealand group Split Enz, who had supported Roxy on their 1974 Australian tour, Manzanera produced the group's second LP, Second Thoughts , which was recorded in London.

Manzanera played guitar on three tracks of the first Brian Eno album Here Come the Warm Jets , as well as guitar and production assistance on Eno's second solo album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) .

All his previous solo albums have been digitally remastered and re-released with new artwork on his own label, Expression Records.

Solo work and collaborations (1975–2001)

As a writer, producer and solo artist, Phil Manzanera has worked with many of the luminaries of modern music, such as Steve Winwood, David Gilmour, John Cale, Godley & Creme, Nico and John Wetton. He has co-written material with many artists, including Brian Eno, Tim Finn, Robert Wyatt and Gilmour. Manzanera co-wrote Pink Floyd's single "One Slip" from their 1987 A Momentary Lapse of Reason album.

Manzanera's first solo album Diamond Head (1975) featured an all-star line-up of session contributors, including most of the former and current members of Roxy Music, except Bryan Ferry. Brian Eno co-wrote and sang on two tracks ("Big Day" and "Miss Shapiro"), Paul Thompson, Eddie Jobson and Andy Mackay all contributed, and Roxy's occasional tour bassist John Wetton (ex Family, and then a member of King Crimson) played bass and duetted on vocals (with Doreen Chanter on "Same Time Next Week"). Robert Wyatt co-wrote and sang (in Spanish) on "Frontera", and the members of Manzanera's pre-Roxy group Quiet Sun featured on the instrumental tracks. Concurrent with the recording of Diamond Head, Manzanera reunited Quiet Sun (who had not been able to make any professional recordings) and used the studio time to quickly record a full LP of Quiet Sun material, released by EG Records under the title Mainstream .

Reworked versions of two tracks from Mainstream featured on Manzanera's next major collaboration, the critically acclaimed concert recording 801 Live , which was recorded at a 1976 London show performed by the "special occasion" band 801. The group comprised Manzanera, with Eno on vocals, synth and treatments, Quiet Sun bassist Bill MacCormick, Curved Air keyboardist Francis Monkman, 19-year-old drumming prodigy Simon Phillips, and slide guitarist Lloyd Watson, who had previously performed as a solo support act for Roxy Music. The LP featured an eclectic mix of Manzanera, Quiet Sun and Eno originals, alongside distinctive cover versions of two well-known tracks, The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" and The Kinks' "You Really Got Me". The album also broke new ground in live concert recording, being one of the first live LPs to use the "direct injection" (DI) method of recording, in which the signals from the various electric instruments were fed directly into the recording console, enabling a dramatic improvement in fidelity over the earlier method of placing microphones near the various instrument amplifiers.

The success of the live album led to the creation of a more permanent incarnation of 801, without Lloyd Watson. Manzanera's old schoolmate Simon Ainley (who was later a member of Random Hold with Bill McCormick) took over from Eno as lead vocalist, who only provided treatments and textures. Francis Monkman, Bill and Ian McCormick and Simon Phillips became part of an all-star session group that also included Tim Finn and Eddie Rayner of Split Enz (who had by then relocated to the UK), former 10cc members Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, saxophonist Mel Collins, Roxy Music's Eddie Jobson and drummer Dave Mattacks. The 'new' 801 recorded the studio album Listen Now , was released in November 1976, although according to Ainley the initial recordings had begun in December 1975, well before the original concert line-up of 801 was put together. The studio LP was not a commercial success and the group disbanded after a short UK tour. A live performance at Manchester University in Nov. 1977, with Ainley on vocals and guitar, and appearances by special guests Andy Mackay, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, was recorded on 24-track tape, but the recording remained unreleased until 1997. [7]

Manzanera's second solo album K-Scope (1978) was originally intended to be the second 801 studio album, and indeed it featured many of the same personnel from Listen Now, including Ainley, Bill and Ian McCormick, John Wetton, Simon Phillips, Mel Collins, Tim and Neil Finn, Eddie Rayner, Godley and Creme, and keyboard player Dave Skinner. According to Ainley, he was slated to perform the lead vocal tracks, and he contributed to the composition of the track "Slow Motion TV", but by his own account he had a severe cold the day he began recording his vocals and couldn't hit the notes; as a result Manzanera replaced him with Tim Finn, and Ainley contributed only rhythm guitar to a couple of tracks. The LP was eventually released under Manzanera's name, but shortly after it was released Roxy Music reformed, and Manzanera's solo projects were put on hold until the group disbanded again in 1982.

His third solo album Primitive Guitars (1982) marked his tenth anniversary as a professional musician. It was intended as a retrospective of his musical influences and stylistic growth, interpreted through a series of solo pieces that represent various stages in his life – childhood in South America, adolescence in London, his work in Roxy Music and 801, and other projects. Manzanera plays all the instruments, backed only by a drum machine, except for one track that features John Wetton on bass. In between tracks, Manzanera inserted snatches of dialogue recorded at various rehearsals. [8]

In the 1990s Manzanera performed in concerts all over the world, including at Guitar Legends, the five-day guitar festival in Seville, where he was musical director for the event as well as playing with Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Jack Bruce, Vicente Amigo, Dave Edmunds, Joe Satriani, Steve Cropper, Aterciopelados, Robert Cray and Richard Thompson. He has also played in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Spain, France, Italy and the UK, including a ten-date European tour with the Cuban band Grupo Moncada. He played at WOMAD festivals in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Manzanera ended the 20th Century by appearing with Bryan Ferry at the British Gas Millennium Concert at Greenwich, the first time they had performed together in 18 years. Manzanera produced in 1993 the highly acclaimed album Severino from the Brazilian rock band Os Paralamas do Sucesso, which included a participation by Brian May.

Firebird V11 (2008) was another all-instrumental album, recorded with a 3-piece backing group that included his old Quiet Sun bandmate Charles Hayward on drums, Polish jazz pianist Leszek Możdżer and bassist Yaron Stavi from the Gilad Atzmon band. It includes two original Quiet Sun tracks, written in 1970, which had never been previously recorded. [9] As the title indicates, the album is a tribute to, and feature for, Manzanera's signature guitar, the red-and-black Gibson Firebird V11 guitar which he has played throughout his career – he can be seen holding the guitar in the "centrefold" photograph on Roxy Music's second album For Your Pleasure in 1972, and a photographically distorted image of it was used on the cover of Primitive Guitars.

Roxy Music reunion and later work (2001–present)

Manzanera during a concert in Munich, 2006 Phil Manzanera.JPG
Manzanera during a concert in Munich, 2006

The Roxy Music "long break" came to an end in 2001 with a critically acclaimed, sold-out, 52-date world tour. In the summer of 2003 Roxy played 10 dates in the US, followed by 13 European gigs in 2004, including performing at Live 8 in Berlin.

Manzanera has a state-of-the-art studio, Gallery Studios, in West London. The first recording was Robert Wyatt's album Cuckooland , and the client list also includes Brian Eno, David Gilmour, Annie Lennox, Kevin Ayers, and Chrissie Hynde. Wyatt's critically acclaimed album, Comicopera , was recorded at Gallery in 2007.

Manzanera began singing on his own albums with Vozero in 2001, followed by 6pm in 2004 and 50 Minutes Later in 2005. He appeared at The Strat Pack celebration concert at Wembley Arena in 2005, alongside other musicians such as Hank Marvin, Ronnie Wood and David Gilmour.

He also collaborated with Eno and David Byrne on 2008's Everything That Happens Will Happen Today .

Between 2003 and 2008 he collaborated with Colombian artist/sculptor Lucho Brieva on the Corroncho project. The project sprang from a Spanish version of the track Complicada, written by Brieva's wife Chrissie Hynde. The resulting album comprises a set of songs about two corroncho characters ("corroncho" being the pejorative name given by people from Bogotá to fellow Colombians from the Caribbean Coast, particularly Barranquilla). The album includes the musical styles of salsa, cumbia, pop music, ballads and chillout and has guest appearances from Robert Wyatt, Paul Thompson, Enrique Bunbury, Chrissie Hynde, Annie Lennox, Quimi Portet, Gilad Atzmon, and one of Cuba's top pianists Aldo Lopez Gavilan. [10]

While his 1990 solo album Southern Cross was an album of Latin music, Phil Manzanera started in 1999 a series of solo productions that reflect his past achievements in a modern context. Many musicians from past times turn up again on the recordings, like Brian Eno, Andy Mackay, Robert Wyatt, Bill MacCormick and many others. On The Sound of Blue even a couple of former musical themes turn up reworked. These albums also feature Phil as lead vocalist.

In 2015 he directed the final concert of the Notte della Taranta Festival, in Salento (Italy.) [11]

Other efforts

Guitars and sound

Manzanera has played a variety of instruments throughout his career, but he is best known for his "signature" guitar, a 1964 'Cardinal Red' Gibson Firebird VII, with gold-plated pick-ups and tuners. This guitar became widely known to fans after Manzanera posed with it during the photo session that produced the inner gatefold photo for Roxy Music's second album For Your Pleasure in 1972, and he has used it regularly throughout his career. Manzanera also frequently uses two custom-made Gibson Les Paul guitars, one of which (picture above) features a mother of pearl inlay in the shape of an iguana. On tour and in the studio, Manzanera also regularly plays Fender Stratocasters, a Fender Telecaster, and Blade guitars. [13] On the evidence of the cover photographs for the 801 Live album, he also played a Yamaha SG-2000 guitar (as used by Carlos Santana) during the 801 period.

Beginning in the early days of Roxy Music, Manzanera's guitar sound was often heavily treated using various electronic devices and techniques, including processing the output of his guitar through Eno's synthesizers, both in the studio and on stage. This allowed him to create a wide range of sounds and textures, many of which are not immediately identifiable as having been produced by an electric guitar. On his solo album Primitive Guitars, all the sounds on the album except the drum machine and the bass played by John Wetton (on one track) were produced by Manzanera's guitars.

Personal life

In 1977, Manzanera purchased St. Anne's Court, in Chertsey, consisting of a coach house, which Manzanera converted into a recording studio and a main house, designed in 1936 by the architect, Sir Raymond McGrath. The gardens were created by Christopher Tunnard.

The recording studio was used to record Manzanera's solo albums and Roxy Music's Flesh & Blood and Avalon . The main house later featured in the television production Poirot .

Manzanera sold the property to 3Dlabs founder, Osman Kent, in 1997. [14]

Awards and honours

Asteroid 72801 Manzanera, discovered by Marc Buie at Kitt Peak National Observatory in 2001, was named in his honour. [15] The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 18 May 2019 ( M.P.C. 114955). [16]

Selected discography

Studio albums

Live album



As producer

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

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Eddie Jobson English keyboardist and violinist

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<i>Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)</i> 1974 studio album by Eno

Taking Tiger Mountain is the second solo album by English musician Brian Eno, released in November 1974 by Island Records. Unlike his debut album Here Come the Warm Jets, which had featured sixteen musicians, this album utilized a core band of five instrumentalists – Eno himself on keyboards and guitar, guitarist Phil Manzanera, bassist Brian Turrington, drummer Freddie Smith and percussionist Robert Wyatt – and featured far fewer guests. Manzanera, who had played with Eno in Roxy Music, also participated in the writing and production. To help guide the musicians, Eno and Peter Schmidt developed instruction cards called Oblique Strategies to facilitate creativity during the recording process.

Ian MacCormick was a British music critic and author, best known for both Revolution in the Head, his critical history of the Beatles which borrowed techniques from art historians, and The New Shostakovich, a study of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. MacDonald was instrumental in popularising Nick Drake during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

<i>Viva!</i> (Roxy Music album) 1976 live album by Roxy Music

Viva! Roxy Music was the first live Roxy Music album. It was released in August 1976 and was recorded at three venues in the United Kingdom between 1973 and 1975. The recordings were from the band's shows at the Glasgow Apollo in November 1973, Newcastle City Hall in October 1974 and the Wembley Empire Pool in October 1975.

Andy Mackay Musical artist

Andrew Mackay is an English multi-instrumentalist, best known as a founding member of the art rock group Roxy Music.

William MacCormick is an English bassist and vocalist. He is the second son of Ewen and Olwen MacCormick who married in 1946 after serving together in the RAF. His older brother, Ian MacCormick was born in 1948. After attending primary schools in Brixton they were both awarded free places at Dulwich College. There Bill met Phil Targett-Adams and they developed an interest in playing music. In 1966 Bill's mother worked with Honor Wyatt, the mother of drummer Robert Wyatt, and Bill saw his band Soft Machine play their first gig in August 1966 at Coombe Springs in Kingston and, thereafter, became a regular visitor at Honor Wyatt's house in Dalmore Road, West Dulwich, where the band lived and rehearsed. In 1968 Phil Targett-Adams and Bill formed a band at Dulwich College with a floating membership except for drummer Charles Hayward, two years their junior. Under the name Pooh and the Ostrich Feather they played gigs around the school and at parties. Bill and Phil both left Dulwich College in 1969 and they reunited with Charles Hayward the following year to form a band called Quiet Sun. They recruited keyboard player Dave Jarrett and, briefly, sax player, Dave Monaghan, but were unable to find a suitable bass player. Bill, who was to sing and play drums, learnt the bass parts to the various compositions in order for the band to rehearse and continued as the bass player until the band broke up in the summer of 1971.

Quiet Sun

Quiet Sun were an English progressive rock/jazz fusion band from the Canterbury scene consisting of Phil Manzanera (guitars), Bill MacCormick (bass), Dave Jarrett (keyboards) and Charles Hayward (drums).

<i>Mainstream</i> (Quiet Sun album)

Mainstream is the only album of the UK band Quiet Sun.

801 were an English experimental rock supergroup band originally formed in London in 1976 for three live concerts by Phil Manzanera, Brian Eno, Bill MacCormick, Francis Monkman, Simon Phillips and Lloyd Watson.

Lloyd Watson was an English rock and blues guitarist.

<i>801 Live</i> 1976 live album by 801

801 Live is the first live album by 801. It was originally released by Island Records in the UK in November 1976. It was subsequently released by Polydor Records in North America in March 1978.

"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.

Random Hold were a British rock band, originally active between 1977 and 1980, with a reformed band under the same name active between 1981 and 1982.

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

Diamond Head is the first studio album by English rock musician Phil Manzanera. It was released in 1975, originally on Island Records in the UK and in the US on Atco Records. The sound quality on the US album was deemed to be worse than the UK album, so the UK import became a popular seller in the speciality record shops who sold Roxy Music and other UK bands. The diesel locomotive featured on the cover art is a EMD E9.

<i>Firebird V11</i> album by Phil Manzanera

Firebird V11 is a studio album by Phil Manzanera, guitarist of rock band Roxy Music. The album's title refers to the guitar model Firebird VII, made by Gibson, a guitar with which Manzanera has had a long career and that was used on this album.

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

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<i>Olympia</i> (Bryan Ferry album) 2010 studio album by Bryan Ferry

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<i>Listen Now</i> 1977 studio album by Phil Manzanera/801

Listen Now is the only studio album by 801, whose live debut was released in November 1976. For this release, the group was officially billed as "Phil Manzanera/801".


  1. Phil Manzanera at Allmusic
  2. Roxy Music biography at Allmusic
  3. Phil Manzanera discography at Rolling Stone [ dead link ]
  4. Phil Manzanera at the Internet Movie Database
  5. di Perna, Alan (12 April 2018). "Phil Manzanera Talks Roxy Music History, Gibson Firebirds and His Neighbor and Occasional Bandmate, David Gilmour". guitarworld. Archived from the original on 21 June 2019. Retrieved 20 March 2020. I actually met David when I was 16, around 1967, when I came back full time to the U.K. from South America. I wanted to be a professional musician. I said to my mother, "I don't want to go to university." And she said, "My God, what are we going to do?" And my brother said, "I know this guy who has just become a professional musician." And it was David Gilmour. My brother had been up at Cambridge University, and he said, "Let's go and talk to him. Have lunch and ask him what you have do to become a professional musician?"
  6. Manzanera, Phil (April 2006). "Confessions Of A Teenage Floyd Freak". Mojo. Archived from the original on 30 June 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2020 via Brian Eno is MORE DARK THAN SHARK. My brother Eugene [Targett-Adams] was at Cambridge University and when he was up there he had met David and he arranged for us to have lunch together. I was seventeen at the time and David had just joined Pink Floyd. I met David in a restaurant opposite where he lived on Brompton Road - he was sharing with Syd I think. My brother was buying - he had a proper job in a bank. We had this conversation. He said keep practising the scales or keep taking the tablets. I think we went up to the flat and he showed me his guitar.
  7. "Random Hold Archive – Simon Ainley interview". Archived from the original on 31 July 2012.
  8. [Ted Mills – album notes for Primitive Guitars, CD Universe]
  9. "Phil Manzanera – Firebird VII CD Album". 4 May 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
  10. "Corroncho :".
  11. "La notte della Taranta del 22/08/2015". Rai. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  12. "Phil Manzanera". IMDb. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
  13. "The Official Roxy Music Tour 2001 - Manzanera equipment".
  14. Davidson, Lauren (11 September 2017). "Buy a modern masterpiece that has housed politicians and prostitutes, grew the UK's first dahlia and has a secret master bedroom" via
  15. "72801 Manzanera (2001 FE192)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  16. "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  17. Note that the CD cover and its manifesto designed by Italian artist Silvia Vacca