The Bob (Medley)

Album: Roxy Music (1972)
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Songfacts®:

  • "The Bob" is an acronym for the "Battle of Britain," a military campaign during which the UK's Royal Air Force successfully defended their skies against Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe in 1940. The lyrics appear to be written from the perspective of a British soldier dreaming of a better life. As Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry explained to NME: "Most of my songs have a visual impulse behind them – except 'The Bob (Medley),' which is about the Second World War."
  • This song features the recurring sound of bombs and gunfire. Synthesizer player Brian Eno created these sounds on his VCS 3, a portable analog synthesizer also used by the likes of The Who, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin.
  • In an interview with Mojo, Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera recalled rehearsing this song with the band. "We'd start off with 'Memphis Soul Stew,' and then we'd go into 'The Bob (Medley),' this heavy bizarre thing about the Battle Of Britain with synths and sirens," he said. "We had everything in there from King Curtis to The Velvet Underground to systems music to '50s rock 'n' roll. At the time we said this was '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s rock 'n' roll. Eno would respond to something that sounded like it came off the first Velvets album, then Ferry would play something '50s and I'd play my version of '50s. I was always a terrible session player. I could never learn a solo and I stuck that 'not quite right' approach onto Roxy. Six people in a band created this hybrid."
  • "The Bob (Medley)" appears on Roxy Music's self-titled debut album. Produced by King Crimson's Peter Sinfield, the album experiments with various genres. "Thinking about the songs, some of them are collage-like, with different sounds and moods within them – they will change abruptly into something else," Ferry reflected to The Guardian in 2018. "I found that interesting, and this band was perfect for that; they were game for anything."

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