Ladytron: Roxy Music's lunar landing with mellotron, oboe, and synth
Roxy Music LP cover
Ladytron is one of Roxy Music's most noteworthy tracks released on their 1972 debut album. One of the song's strongest points is its ability to encompass the band's philosophy of sound that harmoniously combines classical instruments with familiar rock sets and newly-introduced synthesizers.
Ladytron's developed song structure includes eight sections, and the arrangement literally juggles instruments with extra catchy oboe and saxophone parts. Special attention should be paid to the 66-second song opening in which Brian Eno sought to create the atmosphere of lunar landing with the VCS3 synthesizer and mellotron—an electro-mechanical keyboard instrument that reproduces pre-recorded sounds.
Bryan Ferry's layered lyrics fell subject to speculation over Ladytron's meaning, among which the most intriguing is the suggestion that the narrator is trying to seduce an android-like sci-fi woman. Some are inclined to draw parallels with the Greek classics, specifically Homer's Odyssey and the myth of sirens who cause shipwrecks by luring sailors through song. Concerning the word Ladytron itself, it seems to be inspired by the mellotron—specifically the Greek word "tron" meaning 'tool'—which plays an essential part in the arrangement.
Listen to Ladytron by Roxy Music:
Curiously, it has been suggested that the opening oboe part of the song quotes some passages of the clarinet opening from Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3, although the similarity between these melodies is vanishingly small.