“I can nearly understand …” Roxy Music sets a groove on fire with classic Avalon track, “The Main Thing”.

The Main Thing – Roxy Music (1982) 2012 Remastered FLAC HD Video

“The Main Thing” was my very favorite track on Roxy Music’s eighth and final album, Avalon, from the spring of 1982. It was recorded in 1981–82 at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas, and is generally regarded as the culmination of the smoother, more adult-oriented sound of the band’s later work. It was the band’s most successful studio album, reaching No. 1 in the UK (for 3 weeks) and staying on the album charts for over a year. Although it only climbed as high as No. 53, Avalon is notable as the band’s only platinum record in the US.

A single, “More Than This,” preceded the album and was a Top 10 hit in Britain, Australia, and several European countries. The title track was released as the album’s second single and also became a UK Top 20 hit. A third extract, “Take a Chance With Me”, with a remixed version of album track “The Main Thing” on the b-side, reached the UK Top 30 and was Roxy Music’s last UK hit single to date.

Avalon was a huge hit for Roxy Music in 1982 and it is unfortunately the last album they ever recorded. The band has always had a considerable cult following, especially in Europe, but seldom achieved the commercial success of other popular bands. It seemed that the success of Avalon would ensure the band continued to reach for similar artistic and commercial achievements, but it never happened and Avalon stands as their final work.

“The Main Thing” is one of the lesser recognized songs on the album but it has always appealed to me due to it’s insistent and infectious groove…..the driving beat was close to the disco music popular in the day, but more sleek and sophisticated….the hallmark of all Roxy Music songs.

My original video for this track (#25 wow!) was a complete disaster…it’s long been a source of avoidance for me because it was just a really dark and ugly video. When I think about remaking some of my old stuff, “The Main Thing” is always one of the first that comes to mind….I always thought I’d just update what I’d done keeping the original concept (moonlight on the water, hearts, spinning “love”, and embracing couple art) with better, brighter result….I started with that video and began adjusting and in the end there was barely anything left of the original; (I guess I’ll keep my first effort up for awhile to link to the new one, but it really needs to disappear eventually; watch it if you dare https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXt1q-TXVZA

In keeping with my last double scoop for Yes’ “Soon” (Single Edit and Long Edit), I may also crank out an extended video for the 12″ version. Thanks for watching as always!

*** For those with an interest in multi-channel audio****
Avalon was one of the first SACD’s I bought when I got my SACD/DVD-A player and I loved what they did with the multi-track….wow, I wish there was some way for me to share that experience for the biggest fans of “Avalon” tat don’t have the capabilities….just something really special!

In 2003, Virgin reissued Avalon on Hybrid Super Audio CD with a new 5.1-channel surround sound remix by the original production team of Rhett Davies (the producer) and Bob Clearmountain (the mixing engineer). The original 1982 stereo mix is left intact and is the same for the CD layer and for the HD layer, allegedly being transferred from analogue master tapes to DSD and processed in DSD throughout the process. The surround part of the HD layer includes the full album in the original running order plus the bonus track “Always Unknowing”, whose original stereo mix is only available on CD on the 4-CD boxed set The Thrill of It All and in the 2012 Roxy Music Complete Recordings boxed set.

The guitar parts in “The Main Thing” and “Take a Chance With Me” are noticeably more prominent in the multi-channel mix than in the stereo mix. Guitar, saxophone, synthesizer, and percussion parts are often placed in the rear part of the sound field, while lead vocals tend to stick to the front centre, as opposed to being mixed in dual-mono in front left and right like in the somewhat traditional 2.0 stereo mixing.

In an interview with Sound on Sound regarding the surround-sound remix of Avalon, Clearmountain stated “This record probably means more to me than anything I’ve ever done. I’ve had more comments and compliments on this album by far than anything else I’ve ever done.

Look at my hand
There’s a soul on fire
You can lead me even higher
The main thing
Everybody knows
When a good thing’s gone
You can really turn me on
The main thing
You run through here
With your words of sand
I can nearly understand
The main thing

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