Andy Mackay

Andy Mackay (saxophone, oboe) is the forgotten member of Roxy Music. Although he helped compose a number of the group's songs -- including "Love Is the Drug," one of their biggest hits -- Mackay's contributions to Roxy Music are usually neglected, overshadowed by the dominating presence of vocalist Bryan Ferry and guitarist Phil Manzanera. Born in Lostwithiel, Cornwall, England, on July 23, 1946, Mackay traded his beloved childhood telescope for an alto sax and then joined a college band called Nova Express. He met Brian Eno at Reading University and considered forming a band with him. However, Mackay flew to Rome, Italy, to teach English, and the two were separated for a short while. When he returned he learned that Ferry was searching for a keyboard player. Mackay explained to Ferry that he could assist in shaping his group's sound with oboe and saxophone; Ferry agreed, and the pieces that would form Roxy Music were beginning to be filled. After a chance reunion with Mackay on a bus, Eno was eventually added to the band. Mackay worked as a teacher during the day and performed with Roxy Music at night. He managed to find time to record a solo album of instrumentals, In Search of Eddie Riff, in 1974; he also married his girlfriend, Jane, that year. In the mid-'70s, Mackay wrote and produced the music for Rock Follies, a British TV series about a fictional female rock group. There were two Rock Follies LPs, the first debuting on the U.K. charts at number one. Mackay continued to work with Roxy Music while releasing his own projects, such as another solo record, Resolving Contradictions, in 1978 and even a book, 1981's Electronic Music: The Instruments, the Music & the Musicians. Roxy Music broke up in 1983, and Mackay left for Ireland with his family. A year later he collaborated with Manzanera and singer James Wraith as the Explorers. The Explorers didn't even come close to matching Roxy Music's commercial and critical success; by 1986 the band was no longer together. Mackay went on to record as a solo act.
Michael Sutton, Rovi

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