A Song For Europe

Album: Stranded (1973)
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Songfacts®:

  • Named after the British entry for the televised music competition Eurovision Song Contest, "A Song for Europe" finds Bryan Ferry traveling through Europe lamenting a lost love. With cafés, bridges, and landmarks such as the Seine and Notre-Dame serving as his backdrop, the Roxy Music singer dolefully reflects on happier times with his former sweetheart. The song then concludes with Ferry singing in Latin and French. "It's a pun, of course, on the Eurovision Song Contest, one of the more bizarre events in the calendar," Ferry noted to Melody Maker in 1973. "It sounded very European to me, so I thought I'd use Latin and French and do it as 'A Song For Europe.'"
  • While he generally preferred to write alone, Ferry started to collaborate more with the other Roxy Music members on Stranded. "A Song For Europe" was co-written with saxophonist Andy Mackay. Ferry told Rock's Backpages in 2001:

    "I think the first time we all wrote together was on Stranded, by which time they'd started to present me with stuff. So, you know, I felt obliged, even though I wasn't short of material, to incorporate some of their music into the songs. That worked very well with Andy, because he had more musical training than anybody, including me. So he would produce changes where the chords were a bit more unusual and developed. And that produced good things like 'A Song for Europe' and, later, 'Love Is the Drug.' Andy had this European music background, where my background was much more American: Black singers and blues and various other forms of 20th-century music. It actually made for a good combination."
  • Eddie Jobson performs the sweeping classical piano parts on this song. Jobson replaced Brian Eno after Eno left the band a few months prior. "I played the piano alone. Everything else was overdubbed to the piano, including the drums, timpani, and the electric piano, which I also played. Andy came up with the basic chords," Jobson explained to Roxy Music biographer David Buckley. "The piano approach was European classical mixed with a little Charles Aznavour lounge. Remember, this is only two years after I was a strictly classical player: I hadn't quite figured out how to play rock yet."
  • Some critics have noted melodic similarities between this song and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by The Beatles.
  • This song came out a few months after the UK became a member of the European Union on January 1, 1973. The UK remained a member for almost four decades before voting to leave the political and economic union in a controversial referendum, colloquially known as "Brexit," that took place on June 23, 2016.
  • Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan covered this song for Dream Home Heartaches... (Remaking/Remodeling Roxy Music). The 1997 tribute album was organized by Duran Duran bassist John Taylor.
  • "Red Army Blues" by Scottish folk-rock band The Waterboys is based on this song. In Ray Dexter's book Song-by-Song: Volume 1: Angst, Big Music, Raggle Taggle, and Rock, The Waterboys frontman Mike Scott revealed he took the chord sequence from "A Song For Europe" because it was one of his girlfriend's favorite songs.
  • Stranded is Roxy Music's third album and their first without Eno. It was also the band's first album to peak at #1 in the UK. Nevertheless, Ferry said to Mojo in 1995 that "not having Eno on that album meant that it suffered a bit, it lost a bit of edge."

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