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The Gentleman’s Rock Star


Rock stars usually have a hard time getting old—something to do with youthful vigor and willingness to destroy instruments—but once in a great while, you find a singer who looks better at 50 than he did at 25.

Of course, it helps if his younger self had a predilection for tiger-stripe jackets.

The gentleman in question is Mr. Bryan Ferry, frontman of the dearly departed Roxy Music and a British trad in full, and we’d like to take a moment to appreciate just how awesome he’s become.

He’s back in the spotlight thanks to a new album that continues his proud tradition of inviting semi-clothed supermodels to appear on the cover. (In this case, Kate Moss.) It’s a part he’s been playing since the glam-rock days: a gentleman lost in a maze of finer things. That means beautiful women, Savile Row suits and the louche sophistication of a lounge singer who’s served time in the House of Lords.

It’s a complicated way to be a trad, but these are complicated times. The “gentleman in exile” vibe means that while he’s seen his share of tabloid attention—most notably, a doomed relationship with Jerry Hall that ended with him being pushed over for Mick Jagger—he’s managed to stay aloof from just about all of it. It also means that when he took a shot at a late-career “sings the classics” album, it seemed like a perfect fit. Nowadays he gives off the same vibe you might get from a latter-day Clooney: he knows who he is, he knows how he’s coming off and he’s at peace with all of it. Trad or no, it’s hard to aim higher than that.