According to Wikipedia, the song Hungry Like the Wolf was released in the UK on this day. This, of course, makes me both smile and cringe as the same time. Am I the only one who responds in that way? I’m sure that there are a lot of Duranies who love, love, love that song and others who might express outright annoyance or dislike. Why is there so many mixed emotions, though, within the fandom, at least from what I have seen?
Let’s start with the positives and why this song might make Duranies smile. It goes without saying that this song played a significant role in breaking the band in the U.S. We all know the story. It was all about the video, really, that did it. Before the video was released, Duran was getting minimal attention and radio play. Then, the video began to play on MTV, which I suspect the network was excited about. After all, it was an interesting video to watch with a adventurous storyline, exotic location and attractive people. I’m sure it would got more viewers than a basic boring in the studio performance. After the video got more play, then the band started to sell more albums and to get more radio play. So, I think we can all appreciate that this song/video helped make the band more popular in the States.
Speaking of the video, I’m willing to bet that it is a video that many fans fell for the band with. I’m not in the same boat on that but I will admit that the video is one that is hard not to love. I fell for the storyline and the Indiana Jones vibe with it, not to mention how good all the guys look in it.
So, if the song and video helped the band reach tremendous success and made people fans, why do so many cringe now when they hear it? If I had to summarize what I think the reason is in one sentence, I would mention how it is too often the ONLY song/video that people think when they did Duran. Let me give a couple of examples to prove my point. Recently, my school had a staff development day. The administration decided to welcome us to the day by playing songs to represent the staff. My song? Of course, it was Hungry Like the Wolf. People know I’m a Duran fan and the only song they could think of was that. Then, I think about the various Howl at the Moons I have been in. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Howl at the Moon is a chain of dueling piano bars where the audience makes requests and the musicians play them. Whenever I have asked for Duran, the song that has always been chosen is HLTW.
Then, there is the fact that Hungry Like the Wolf is the song Duran Duran has played most in concert, according to Setlist.fm. Why is that a problem? I think it frustrates some fans that the song is almost always played. Setlists are not limitless. The band cannot play as many songs as they want. They have to limit the number for obvious reasons. If the band didn’t always include HLTW, they could add a different song in its place. Fans could hear something different. Now, the reason that is often played include what I mentioned above. Fans get it but they aren’t always thrilled about it. All that said, in fairness, the band has tried to change it up a bit throughout the years as seen by the following videos:
There have been times that I really got annoyed when the song appeared in the setlist and allowed it to sap some of my enthusiasm. Now, I just try to remind myself that the song is played because it is well-known by fans and non-fans alike. It is a song that is significant to the band’s history and success. I cannot ignore that. Would I like something different in the setlist? Sure but it is not going to happen so I would be smart just to accept that and try to appreciate it. Of course, it really helps now that there is a lot of DoJo during the song. For some reason, that really helps make it better…
What about the rest of you? How are you feeling bout Hungry Like the Wolf these days?