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 Post subject: Sign of the Times
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:23 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:13 pm
Posts: 311
Sign of the Times was the second single off the then forthcoming The Bride Stripped Bare album , an undoubted classic now approaching its 40th anniversary.
We were younger then. Punk was peaking, most of it now unlistenable. Discuss.


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 Post subject: Re: Sign of the Times
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:20 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 4:18 pm
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A great song, short sharp and to the point, from an album that like many I didn't really appreciate at the time but that has certainly grown in stature over the years.

Maybe it was just the wrong album released at the wrong time. Punk and new wave are everywhere and Bryan returns with an album mixing covers and new songs played by session musicians (Wachtel. Marotta). Releasing a Lou Reed cover as the first single and going on Kenny Everett's TV show wearing a fully-grown beard probably didn't help. Ironic as various punks (Siouxsie and the Banshees, for instance) were self-proclaimed Roxy fans and the Pistols' album was produced by Roxy producer Chris Thomas.

Sign of the Times should have been the first single.


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 Post subject: Re: Sign of the Times
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:18 am
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Siouxsie yes...and Steve jones...and most of them actually.
I remember what goes on then SOTT and that beard. Loved the look, and the deeper voice.
It’s all aged rather well. Happy memories


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 Post subject: Re: Sign of the Times
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 3:15 pm
Posts: 39
Location: Vancouver, Canada
'Sign of the Times' is a brilliant single - sharp, punchy, contemporary.

The issue of poor sales can be attributed to the fact that Bryan appeared to be a bit mixed up at the time as to what image he wanted to convey. Example: 'Sign' was promoted on the very popular Kenny Everett show in the UK. A good showing there meant you had a good chance of hitting Top of the Pops. But Ferry performed in a full beard - a beard in 1977 was commercial death. A throw-back to the hippy age and 'I hate Pink Floyd' sensibility etc etc.

He swiftly addressed this of course with the fantastic return of Roxy in '79 - thin leather ties, sharp jackets, sleek look. Add great songs and bang - re-launch!

Thanks of the topic
Kevin roxymusicsongs.com


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 Post subject: Re: Sign of the Times
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:17 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:40 am
Posts: 324
Location: Lancaster
A single fails to sell because the singer has a beard? I don't buy it. For whatever reason, I think singles fromTBSB weren't as widely supported by radio as their predecessors, culminating in the final release (the first time there'd been a third single from a BF/RM album) failing to worry the chart at all.
TBSB ia a dark, very adult album - a million miles removed from BF's previous single release, Tokyo Joe, just a year earlier and the pop of Dance Away that would follow the next year. Maybe radio and the record buying public just weren't ready for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Sign of the Times
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:48 am 
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A beard. I do buy it , Richard. In 1978 punk and disco ruled the roost , at least chart-wise. The old guard had been swept aside and chart toppers were ABBA, Blondie, Boney M and the Boomtown Rats.
Sales, of course , are not a measure of quality but they reflect the public mood.
As I recall the NME did a sympathetic cover piece on Ferry, and this album, but they were still in their Byron Ferrari phase.
The Kenny Everett show was peak time viewing, and my mind wonders now whether the Ferry performance of this song on it had not just had a beard, but a bird and musicians on weird sci-fi consoles.


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 Post subject: Re: Sign of the Times
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:11 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:40 am
Posts: 324
Location: Lancaster
Quote:
In 1978 punk and disco ruled the roost , at least chart-wise. The old guard had been swept aside and chart toppers were ABBA, Blondie, Boney M and the Boomtown Rats.

If punk ruled or pop ruled, this would explain things but given both were popular and were polar opposites of each other, to my mind there was plenty of room for those in the middle. Many established acts were still enjoying chart success - quite a number of them even had beards (http://www.uk-charts.top-source.info/top-100-1978.shtml) - but not, on this occasion, BF.


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 Post subject: Re: Sign of the Times
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:32 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:13 pm
Posts: 311
The beard case has been made by UKRichard.


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 Post subject: Re: Sign of the Times
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 7:23 pm
Posts: 1047
Fanatical Fandangoists,

Windswept has long consider ‘Sign Of The Times ‘ to be a phenomenal track.

Not being a ‘singles’ man, W2 is incapable of judging its suitability for that task but with regard to TBSB album itself, there can be no question that it is a classic, way ahead of its time, that represents absolute, unadulterated ‘Peak Ferry’.

Forty years on, Windswept would not change a note. Indeed, the only fault with the whole affair was that our hero omitted to include his interpretation of Van The Man’s ‘Crazy Love’. That would have been le cerise sur le gateau !

In fact, writing this gives W2 a phenomenal idea. Maybe, TBSB is exactly the theme that our hero needs for his next tour ?

What better centre piece could there be for a show than this gem ?

And yes, before W2’s fans ask, he did have exactly this jacket, shirt and tie mais sans barbe !

Salutations,
Windswept


Last edited by Windswept2 on Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Sign of the Times
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 3:15 pm
Posts: 39
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Windswept, agreed, 'Sign' is masterpiece. Topical, hard-hitting, succinct. Classic Ferry.

Deserved to be a hit, yes, but another time, another place, perhaps and it would have been. True, the issue cannot be reduced to beards - but it can in part be explained that the artist was lacking his usual clarity of phase>image. Promoters/DJs/audience didn't have a hook, something to grab onto. Ferry was always sleek. Manicured. Stylin'. And here he was coming off a flopped first single with an underwhelming ordinary-man visage.

Now, think of the alternative: Roxy re-form; sleek contemporary look. First single is 'Sign' (instead of 'Trash'). Second single is 'Dance Away' - mega smash. In this universe SofT has a completely chart history.

We are only theorizing, of course :)
Thanks for the discussion.
roxymusicsongs.com


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