The Bride Stripped Bare

Studio Album - September 1978

Bryan Ferry  released The Bride Stripped bare on 1st September 1978. This album was his fifth solo album and had a mixture of his own songs and other artists songs. The album reached number 13 in 1978. Although critically acclaimed, the album didn't achieve the success it expected as it was released in the peak of the Punk Rock Boom. The first single What Goes On only reached number 67, Sign Of The Times at 37 and Carrickfergus didn't reach the top 100.

There was no supporting tour for this album but in subsequent tours in the years after this album was released Bryan has performed 9 of the 10 songs in concert.

There were several track listings and different artwork to what had
initially been intended to be a double album. Some of the unused songs eventually appeared in later years on EPs and b-sides. Broken Wings, Crazy Love, Feel The Need, He'll Have To Go, Four Letter Love with some of the other recordings remaining unreleased so far.

The original tracklisting was:

Side 1

Sign Of The Times
Can't Let Go
The Same Old Blues
This Island Earth

Side 2

Four Letter Love
Take Me To The River
Broken Wings
What Goes On
When She Walks In The Room

What Bryan Says...

The production of the album, he intimates, was an intense and emotional experience: its pervasive mood of melancholia being especially enhanced by the remote atmosphere of Montreux and its out-of-season desolation. "The only thing to do there was to make music. There were no distractions. It turned out to be the strangest album I've ever done . . . There was such a crazed atmosphere in Montreux. There was this band of musicians just stuck there. Like an Everest expedition of something. A real Men Without Women number," he smiles. "We just moved out there and dug in. I'm really searching for the words to describe it. It was possibly the most soulful musical experience I've ever been through. It was very remote and very lonely and very crazed."
The Montreux sessions provided, he adds, enough recorded material for a double album, and it was during the selection of the final tracks to be included that he began to nurse some lingering doubts about some aspects of the project.
"After the album was finished," he explains, "I became unsure about it. I wondered, for instance, whether we'd put the right tracks on it. And when I finally came back to England I became more certain that I had to make some changes. Obviously, I wanted the album out six months ago. But, really, it just meant so much to me that I couldn't face putting it out not feeling happy with it. Now I feel that it's right. It was worth the delay. I really wanted this album to stand out, you know. I think it does . . . Of course, as always, it means that it isn't a good background music album. My records never are. And that's something the listener has to contend with. In America they do like albums to be background music; that seems to be the formula for success.
"That's not what I'm interested in. Especially, at this time, with this album. I wanted it to be extracts, if you like, of various styles and moods. And to get into the kind of art-conceit of the title (which is taken from a work by the painter Marcel Duchamp), the original Bride Stripped Bare was full of strange elements adding up to one thing, one statement. To me, that' s what this album is. It has an Irish folk song, some early kind of Memphis things and an Al Green song and a Lou Reed song-I've always wanted to do a Lou Reed song. I like playing about with other people's songs. And, I hear, he was very pleased with this version."

"It's a very, very emotional album," he stresses, as the shadows crowd around him. "It's rare that I'm actually moved while we're recording, but this felt like the real thing. It seems strange to sit here talking about it, so long after the event. One is in danger of almost waxing sentimental about it. But just to see these guys virtually crying through their instruments was extraordinary. It's not something I've experienced before. It's what music is really all about."
I admit to some surprise at his abundant confidence in the album: it had been suggested by some of his more scornful detractors-"an ever growing club," he adds-that the delay in the record's appearance might be attributed to his own lack of conviction in its worth.
He is aghast at the notion. "It's absolutely untrue. God, no . . . I've been dying for it to come out. I wish it could have come out the week I came back to England. I just didn't want to put my name to anything that I wasn't sure about. That's why I changed it. Now, I'm sure about it. I don't have to defend it. I would never put out anything that I wasn't convinced about. Sure, this is a commercial art, but I'd never just put something out because pressure was being asserted on me . . . No, I couldn't do it . . .
"You know, this is such a funny business. It creates all kinds of predicaments. You make an album because you have to: because you feel that impulse . . . But at the same time, you want people to like it and to buy it, so that you become rich through it. But you can't let those factors overwhelm you. You have to squash them . . . you have to concentrate on the work, and believe in it, you know. And sometimes it's depressing, because there are certain records that you do which you feel totally right about, but they don't get through to people. They don't like them, or for some reason they simply don't want to involve themselves in the record. I feel in a sense that perhaps some people don't want to be involved with my career.
"It probably seems to a lot of people that I've been away for too long. They aren't to know that I've been working on this album. They probably feel that I've deserted them. They probably feel I've been off on somebody's yacht."

Album Track Listing

Other Tracks of Interest

Album Musicians & Credits