To my complete surprise, we are celebrating another milestone birthday, and a fairly significant one at that today. On this date 35 years ago, the single for Planet Earth/Late Bar was released.
First of all, the math MUST be off because I’m only 25, right??? I just don’t get it….
Secondly, this just does not seem possible. In a lot of ways I’m almost humbled by the thought, because I really think Duran Duran is about the only “thing” in my life (with the exception of my own children) that I can say I’ve stuck with since nearly day one. I can’t quite say day one, because I didn’t grow up in the UK and didn’t hear about Duran Duran until 1981…but it’s pretty close. It’s been a crazy road, and I’m sure many of you out there are nodding your heads in agreement. This band has been around through the thick, the thin….from pubescence to, well…let’s just call it middle age.
The history is just there. Aside from my family, there isn’t any one thing that has been in my life longer than Duran Duran. Whether that paints me as loyal or significantly impaired probably depends on the day, but it is what it is. I often joke that I’ve loved Duran Duran longer than I have my husband (not a joke I tend to make while discussing plans for a lengthy summer DD road trip with him…), but it is true in some sense, and it all began with Planet Earth. As it should.
On Twitter, someone asked about the first date I saw Duran Duran live. My first concert was in 1989, I didn’t see them in 84 or 85 when they toured here. So my first experience seeing them was after Roger and Andy left the band. I saw them in March of 1989 at Universal Amphitheater (which has since been demolished), during their Big Thing tour. I was in nearly the back row of the theater, my favorite band member had left, and yes, it was a let-down in some sense because standing there that night (which does not feel all that long ago), it felt a little like a consolation prize for not seeing them in 84. Oddly, I clearly remember them playing Planet Earth that night, and for me, it just felt hollow. The bones were there, I suppose, but the feeling or spirit wasn’t right. I didn’t get to see the REAL band (in my head at the time, that’s how I saw it), so I was seeing what was left. I had no idea of course that they’d continue on from there and that I’d see them many more times over the course of their career. I just knew what was in that moment, and it didn’t feel quite right. I don’t know if I’d call that night a disappointment, but I think I knew I missed out. Time machine forward to the 78-03 tour, where I saw the band at the Pacific Amphitheater. This was when I saw the original five members for the very first time. They played Planet Earth again that night, and as my husband will gladly tell anyone who asks, I stood there completely dumbfounded for at least the first three songs and likely longer. I couldn’t talk, couldn’t move, couldn’t quite believe what my eyes and ears were experiencing – and I was nowhere near the front. I can’t imagine what I would have done had I been anywhere closer. For me, that night brought me full circle. There was something very, very, special for me about seeing the band I first fell in love with playing Planet Earth. I own the CD from that night, and I still get goosebumps when I play it. The memories flood my head, and I know that I won’t ever forget. I still feel that way each time they play it. Yes, the line-up has changed, but this time, the spirit remains intact.
Of course, I still haven’t had the good luck to see them play Late Bar – the B side – to Planet Earth yet. I keep hoping they’ll throw it in one of their sets I’m seeing at some point so that I can die happy. It’s funny because Amanda’s favorite DD song is Planet Earth, and one of my very favorite is Late Bar (along with ITSISK and Secret Oktober). Different sides of the same single. Pretty accurate, I’d say.
Planet Earth was the beginning of this crazy journey. The band says they don’t like to look back, which is fine. In a lot of ways I sort of think it really our job to look back from time to time, and I embrace that task. After all, I wouldn’t be writing this today if it hadn’t been for Planet Earth. I love having milestones such as these to mark not only the band’s career, but also my life. Each song represents a memory, and every once in a while, it’s good to be transported back for a short visit.
The best part, of course, is that the journey isn’t over. March is coming. Shows are still being announced, tours will begin, and new memories will be made. I am humbled by the very thought that in a small way, Daily Duranie helps to keep these experiences and memories fresh in people’s minds, we try to create new opportunities for fans to gather, and the fun just keeps on coming!
Happy 35th Birthday Planet Earth!