Written by lead singer Bryan Ferry, this song is about a love affair that fell apart. Asked in 2014 by Entertainment Weekly why the song endures, Ferry replied, "For some reason, there's something in the combination of the melody and the lyric that works for people."
Avalon was Roxy Music's last album and their biggest seller. The band started out as more of a glam rock outfit, but they later turned to melancholy pop, with this song being the apotheosis of that sound. Brian Ferry embarked on a successful solo career, but remained far more successful in the UK, where his 1985 album Boys and Girls went to #1.
In America, this song got some traction when it featured in Sofia Coppola's 2003 film Lost In Translation in a scene where Bill Murray sings it in a Tokyo karaoke bar. When the song was first released, however, it had little impact on the charts, bubbling under at just #102 on the Hot 100. Many college radio stations played the song, but commercial stations stayed away for the most part.
Roxy Music occupied just a small niche in America, where they hit the Top 40 just once ("Love Is the Drug" - #30 in 1975), but they were far more successful in the UK.
Ferry's vocal ends at 2:45, leaving the last 1:45 as a synth-driven instrumental.
Ferry told The Mail on Sunday June 28, 2009 about the Avalon album: "I started writing the songs while on the west coast of Ireland, and I like to think that some of the dark melancholy of the album comes from that place."
10,000 Maniacs covered this in 1997 on their album Love Among The Ruins
. Mary Ramsey sang lead, as original Maniacs lead singer Natalie Merchant had just left the band to go solo.
Miles - Washington DC