These Foolish Things is the debut solo studio album by Bryan Ferry, who at the time was still Roxy Music's lead vocalist. The album was released in October 1973 on Island Records in the UK, and Atlantic Records in the United States. It was a commercial and critical success, peaking at number 5 on the albums chart in the United Kingdom. The album is considered to be a departure from Roxy Music's sound, because it consists entirely of cover versions, mainly of standard songs. The album achieved Gold status by the BPI in the United Kingdom in May 1974
Most of the tracks on the album were personal favorites of Ferry's, and spanned several decades from 1930s standards such as the title track through 1950s Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.
Rhapsody praised the album, calling it one of their favorite cover albums.
When Ferry was asked about the album, he said "It's a very catholic selection, I've given up trying to please all of the people all of the time. Some will like it for one reason, some for another. And some will presumably dislike it for the wrong reasons though I hope the general point of it will be understood. It's amusement value. I think."
Reviewing for AllMusic, critic Ned Raggett wrote of the album "Throughout Ferry's instantly recognizable croon carries everything to a tee, and the overall mood is playful and celebratory. Wrapping up with a grand take on "These Foolish Things" itself, this album is one of the best of its kind by any artist." And the critic, Robert Christgau wrote of the album "Ferry both undercuts the inflated idealism of the original and reaffirms its essential power. Along the way, he also establishes "It's My Party" as a protest song. And just in case we're getting any highfalutin ideas, the title track reminds us that pop is only, well, foolish things, many of which predate not only Andy Warhol but rock and roll itself." The New Rolling Stone Album Guide review states "These Foolish Things pits Lesley Gore against Bob Dylan, and not just for effect. Ferry views pop as a kind of continuum, extending through all sorts of Tin Pan Alley and Brill Building craftsmanship and incorporating visions as radical as Dylan's and as banal as Gore's. Within such a sensibility discerning what deserves to be dismissed as "trash" and what deserves elevation as "art" is not a simple problem. And such designations are so often determined by context that their order can be reversed almost at will. By altering tempos and singing every song with the deadpan emotional blankness he largely avoids with Roxy, Ferry exposes these issues as effectively as any pop singer in history."
Bryan Ferry – lead vocals, acoustic piano
Eddie Jobson – keyboards, synthesizer, violin
David Skinner – acoustic piano
Phil Manzanera – guitar solo (10)
John Porter – guitar, bass guitar
Paul Thompson – drums
John Punter – additional drums (7, 8)
Roger Ball – alto and baritone saxophones, horn arrangements
Ruan O'Lochlainnb– alto sax solo (11)
Malcolm Duncan – tenor saxophone
Henry Lowther – trumpet
Robbie Montgomery – backing vocals (1, 8)
Jessie Davis – backing vocals (1, 8)
The Angelettes – backing vocals (2-7, 9-13)
Producers – Bryan Ferry, John Porter and John Punter.
Engineers – Steve Nye and John Punter
Assistant Engineer – Andy Arthurs
Cover Design – Nicholas De Ville
Photography – Karl Stoecker
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