Legendary British artist Bryan Ferry — widely regarded as a master of the cover song — announced today that he will release fresh interpretations of four classic love songs May 6th on BMG. The Love Letters EP will be the first all new Bryan Ferry recordings to be released since 2018.
Today, Ferry shares the title track “Love Letters,” in his words “a beautiful haunting ballad with a simple country flavored piano,” originally written by Victor Young and Edward Heyman, recorded by Dick Haymes in 1945 and later popularized by Ketty Lester in 1961. Watch the official video below.
Each new recording on Love Letters brings Ferry’s uniquely wry and dramatic style to these beloved songs and adds to his tradition of interpreting works from across the musical spectrum. He notes:
“I like expanding my repertoire by covering songs from different genres and different times. It can be an interesting challenge, finding the best way to interpret them in my own style – whatever that may be.”
Alongside his own peerless songwriting both as frontman of Roxy Music, one of the most influential British acts of all time, and as a solo artist renowned for bringing innovation and classic style to rock, Ferry is one of the greatest proponents of the art of the cover version.Love Letters is no exception with fresh reinterpretations spanning multiple genres and generations.
On Love Letters Ferry also takes on “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” by Burt Bacharach with lyrics by Hal David, popularized by Dusty Springfield. “I’d always wanted to do one of their well-crafted songs, and this is one of their most famous,” he says.
Elsewhere, Ferry puts a fresh stamp on the iconic love song “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” written by Elvin Bishop in the ‘70s, a U.S. No. 3 hit which has been used in countless film soundtracks, as well as “The Very Thought Of You,” which Ferry calls one of his all-time favorite songs. The song was written and recorded by Ray Noble in 1934 and recorded by many others including Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole.
Recording Love Letters began in Nashville while Ferry was on tour in 2019, with work on the EP continuing in London in 2020. In the U.S., the band included Luke Bullen on drums, Chris Spedding on guitar, Neil Jason on bass, Fonzi Thornton on backing vocals and Waddy Watchel on guitar. Back in London recording continued with Tom Vanstiphout on guitar, Chloe Smith on keyboards, Tugg (Nathan Curran) on drums, Marina Moore on viola and Lucy Wilkins on violin.
Since the release of his first solo album These Foolish Things in 1973, itself a collection of the doo-wop, rock ‘n’ roll and R&B songs so vital to his musical development, Ferry has paid tribute to songbooks from some of the most acclaimed artists of all time – from Stephen Sondheim to Lou Reed, Lennon/McCartney to Al Green. Ferry’s covers of classics like “Jealous Guy” (a U.K. Number 1 single), “Let’s Stick Together” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” have come to be regarded as the definitive versions.
Bryan Ferry has sold more than 30 million records worldwide, and in 2019 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Roxy Music. Additionally, to celebrate Roxy Music’s 50th anniversary this year, each of their eight studio albums will be reissued via Virgin/UMe as special anniversary editions with a new half-speed cut, revised artwork and a deluxe gloss laminated finish. The first 2 LPs, Roxy Music and For Your Pleasure will be released on April 1st, 2022, with the remaining albums coming in paired drops throughout the year. Also out this May is Lyrics, a book of Ferry’s evocative aspirations and romantic longings, introduced by the author, including an insightful essay by James Truman and a previously unseen portrait of Ferry by Antony Price on the book’s cover.
Love Letters EP Tracklist:
1. Love Letters
2. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself
3. Fooled Around And Fell In Love
4. The Very Thought Of You