“Slave to Love” is the first single released from former Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry’s 1985 album, Boys and Girls, The single was released on 28 April 1985 and spent 10 weeks in the UK charts in 1985 and peaked at number 9. It was featured on the movie Nine 1/2 Weeks where the entire song was played in one of the scenes.
This is an achingly beautiful ballad. The music has a Latin flair, a melancholy — if not downright sad — melody against a lazy, swaying samba beat. Ferry’s unique flutter of a voice is reminiscent of old-time jazz-age singers and post-war tenors. The song clearly has a 1980s aura to it, yet “Slave to Love” was not a slave to the gimmicks of the era, sounding more timeless and classic than other radio hits from the mid-’80s. The dark tone of the song reflects the inner struggle that the narrator feels, helpless and bound to passion for a woman he fears he is losing:
“You’re running with me/Don’t touch the ground/
We’re the restless hearted/Not the chained and bound/
The sky is burning/A sea of flame/
Though your world is changing/I will be the same¨.
” It’s a heartbreaking lyric that Ferry caresses with an intimate delivery.