Category Archives: Seven and the Ragged Tiger

My Seven and the Ragged Tiger Story

Last weekend, I blogged about Duran Duran’s third studio album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, which you can read here.   In that blog, I listed the facts of the album, including who was on it, the singles, the videos and more.  While that certainly provides the Duran Duran history, it does not describe how fans felt about that album.  Thus, I wanted to take time to share my story, my feelings about the album.  Then, I invite all of you to share your stories, too!

In 1983, I turned 8.  I lived in the suburbs of Chicago where I had everything that I could hope for, including a best friend and activities to keep us busy.  When my best friend and I hung out together, we always had the radio on, most specifically B96, the Top 40 radio station.  If we were in the “TV room”, then MTV played in the background.  For some reason, both of us preferred to have something on in the background while we played “store” or whatever else we did for fun.

As all of you know, both radio and MTV frequently played Duran Duran in 1983.  By that point, they embraced songs and videos from the Rio album.  Both my friend and I liked those songs and videos we heard from that album, but they still were more in the background rather than in the foreground for us.  Age mattered.  Duran Duran released Seven at just the right time.  Union of the Snake premiered first.  I enjoyed it but it didn’t grab me.  New Moon on Monday, though, began to really burrow its way into my brain like any good ear worm.  More than the fabulous chorus, I recall watching the video for New Moon on Monday and loving it.  (I still love it.  It is my favorite video, by far.)  I loved the storyline and thought the guys looked great!

Oh, yes, by early 1984, my interest grew to officially liking the band. Discussions between my friend and I surrounded the band for the first time.  We started to spend some of our money on books, magazines and any other merchandise we could find as we debated which guy we liked best.  Initially, I liked all of them with a slight pull to Simon.  I liked his main character role in the New Moon on Monday video.  Yet, I also liked the friendship aspect of John and Nick during that same video.  I was slightly conflicted!

Then, the Reflex premiered and changed everything!  The conflict ended as I fell hard for a certain bass player after watching the video over and over and over!  There was just something about John Taylor during that video that got to me.  Not only that, I loved the song.  Loved it!  My best friend adored it as well.  We were so ridiculous that we called each other on the phone each time that the song came on the radio or appeared on MTV.  We couldn’t get enough and our parents allowed it for some crazy reason.  Clearly, we were officially Duranies from then on!

From that point, our fandom took on big roles for each of us, individually, but also for our friendship.  Instead of playing store or swinging in my backyard, we now watched MTV all the time while we poured over teen magazines, memorizing each and every fact.  Our bedroom walls featured nothing but Duran Duran posters.  We lived and breathed Duran Duran.

So, while many Duranies claim the first album or Rio made them serious fans, for me, it was Seven and the Ragged Tiger.

-A

Seven and the Ragged Tiger Facts and Stats

Last month, I started a little series that examined the albums released during the month of October.  I would like to continue that for the month of November, even if the month is quickly coming to an end.  Duran Duran released three albums during the month of November, including Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Notorious and Red Carpet Massacre.  Each of these albums represent very different time periods in the band’s history.  Today, though, I start with Seven and the Ragged Tiger, an album released on this very date in 1983.

Seven and the Ragged Tiger Facts:
Released on November 20, 1983
Produced by Alex Sadkin, Ian Little and Duran Duran
Had 9 tracks included

3 different songs were released as singles:

  1. “Union of the Snake” (October 1983) #3 UK, #3 US
  2. “New Moon on Monday” (January 1984) #9 UK, #10 US
  3. “The Reflex” (April 1984) #1 UK, #1 US

Personnel:
The band at that time was made up of John, Nick, Roger, Andy and Simon.

Additional musicians:

  • Andy Hamilton – Soprano and tenor saxophone
  • Raphael DeJesus – Percussion
  • Mark Kennedy – Percussion
  • Michelle Cobbs – Additional vocals
  • BJ Nelson – Additional vocals

Videos:

Three videos were made from this album:

Union of the Snake

 

New Moon on Monday

 

The Reflex

 

Interview:

Here is an interview when the band discussed the 30th anniversary!

 

The Tour:

The Sing Blue Silver tour began in Canberra, Australia in November 1983.  After many dates in Australia, the band played a series of shows in the UK before traveling to Japan, Canada, and the U.S.  As most Duranies know, the North American portion of the tour was captured in the Sing Blue Silver Documentary.

 

Beyond all of the facts, Duranies have many, many memories of this album, especially since this album represents the height of Duran mania.  I would love to hear your Seven and the Ragged Tiger story.  When did you buy the album?  What did you think of it?  What do you think of the single choices?  The videos?  Did you see the band play tour?  If so, how many shows did you see?  Next weekend, I’ll share my story!

-A

The Reflex: Honest and Uncut

By Richard Bendell

Like so many other big and long-time fans of Duran Duran, I was initially drawn in by the band’s great music from the very first time I got to ‘hear’ songs, which were from the album RIO, and shortly after when we then got the chance to ‘experience’ their songs through their ground-breaking videos.  Of course, it wasn’t long after that when I also became impressed by their personalities, creativity, unique presence and great energy.  But, really it was and has always been all about their music first and foremost for me.

And, through all the ups, and even the downs I’ve followed, believed and supported them for over 3 decades now since 1982, and still do.  There were some tough years after the band splintered down to three in 1986.  But, redemption came with The Wedding Album and they’ve rebuilt and proven themselves many times over that they are not only just a great band from the 80’s, but a great band, period!

Now, we know and have learned so much about Duran over the years that it’s a bit hard to imagine there might be anything much new that we might still discover.  And, it would seem even less likely that it would be something that would literally take us right back to the glory years of the band as they were working fervently on their third album with the unmistakable title of Seven and the Ragged Tiger.

Well, 2015 is here and we’re all getting back into the regular swing of things. Here is a link to a little New Year treat from ten and a half years ago in July 2004, (seems hard to believe), that drops us right beside Ian Little, and our favourite band back in 1983.

Despite having the same first name as the writer of the article, Richard Buskin, I have no connection with the Sound on Sound article CLASSIC TRACKS: ‘The Reflex’ at all other than luckily stumbling across it yesterday afternoon on December 20th.

Simply put, it is the best, most in-depth and honest article I’ve ever read about the band, the good, the great and not-always-so-great moments.  It is truly a refreshingly honest and detailed look focused primarily at the intricacies of making of the album, and a sense of what it was like for Ian Little and the Fab 5 at that magical point in time.

It’s not quite the same of course as the Classic Albums DVD of Rio, beyond the fact it is a printed article, as funny enough the band isn’t quite center stage, or not always even its central focus.  Rather, it brings us readers closer than ever before into the whole process of what it was like to make 7ATRT, sharing what happened before and during the recording sessions, with a stream of wonderful insights and all the ebbs and flows in between along with a dramatic dash to the finish line.  In fact, Ian Little was arguably the sixth member of the band for that album, so perhaps it could even have been called Eight and the Ragged Tiger.

Regardless of whether 7ATRT is on your top list of favourite Duran Duran albums or not, this article is literally ‘a treasure that was lying in the dark.’

And, if you haven’t seen it before, I really hope you enjoy it reading it as much as I did!

(My sincere thanks to Amanda and Rhonda of the Daily Duranie for allowing me to present this guest blog and share this terrific story with everyone.)

Richard Bendell photoRichard J. Bendell is a long-time and devoted fan of Duran Duran, their music, their visuals, musical instincts, their longevity, pretty much everything! I’m an accountant by trade, but I’ve also self-published a book in 2012 about one of the most famous sporting events in history that was 10 years in the making called: 1972 – THE SUMMIT SERIES: Canada vs. USSR, Stats, Lies & Videotape, The UNTOLD Story of Hockey’s Series of the Century

Today in Duran History – Seven and the Ragged Tiger Remastered

On this date in 2010, the album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, was remastered in various formats in the US.  For many fans, this was a chance to buy a copy with much better quality than what they previously.  For example, I had the album on CD and it was placed on CD long after it had been released.  Thus, the quality was not what I hope for, especially when it comes to Duran Duran.  What else was cool about these remastered editions is the extras that came with like remixes, b-sides and single versions.  It also included a DVD of As the Lights Go Down (concert film), the videos and performances on Top of the Pops.  For example, here is the track listing:

Disc: 1
1. The Reflex
2. New Moon On Monday
3. (I’m Looking For) Cracks In The Pavement
4. I Take The Dice
5. Of Crime And Passion
6. Union Of The Snake
7. Shadows On Your Side
8. Tiger Tiger
9. The Seventh Stranger
Disc: 2
1. Is There Something I Should Know? [from `Is There Something I Should Know?’ 7″ & 12″ singles – released March 26, 1983]
2. Faith In This Colour [from `Is There Something I Should Know?’ 12″ single – released March 26, 1983]
3. Faith In This Colour (Alternate Slow Mix) [from `Is There Something I Should Know?’ 7″ single]
4. Secret Oktober [from `Union Of The Snake’ 7″ & 12″ singles – released October 29, 1983]
5. Tiger Tiger (Ian Little Remix) [from `New Moon On Monday’ 7″ & 12″ singles – released February 4, 1984]
6. The Reflex (Single Version) [from `The Reflex’ 7″ & 12″ singles – released April 28, 1984]
7. Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) [recorded live at Hammersmith Odeon, November 1982, mixed by Ian Little. From `The Reflex’ 7″ & 12″ singles released April 28, 1984]
8. New Religion [recorded live at the Los Angeles Forum February 9, 1984. From `The Reflex’ U.S. 12″ single – released April 1984]
9. The Reflex [recorded live at the Los Angeles Forum February 9, 1984. From `The Reflex’ U.S. 12″ single – released April 1984]
10. Is There Something I Should Know? (Monster Mix) [from `Is There Something I Should Know?’ 12″ single – released March 26, 1983]
11. Union Of The Snake (The Monkey Mix) [from `Union Of The Snake’ 12″ single -released October 29, 1983]
12. New Moon On Monday (Dance Mix) [from `New Moon On Monday’ 12″ single – released February 4, 1984]
13. The Reflex (Dance Mix) [from `The Reflex’ 12″ single – released April 28, 1984]
Disc: 3
1. Intro: Tiger Tiger [DVD]
2. Is There Something I Should Know? [DVD]
3. Hungry Like the Wolf [DVD]
4. Union of the Snake [DVD]
5. New Religion [DVD]
6. Save a Prayer [DVD]
7. Rio [DVD]
8. The Seventh Stranger [DVD]
9. The Chauffeur [DVD]
10. Planet Earth [DVD]
11. Careless Memories [DVD]
12. Girls On Film [DVD]
13. Is There Something I Should Know? (Music video) [DVD]
14. Union Of The Snake (Music video) [DVD]
15. New Moon On Monday (EP Version) (Music video) [DVD]
16. The Reflex (Music video) [DVD]
17. New Moon On Monday (Movie Version) (Music video) [DVD]
18. Is There Something I Should Know? [March 23, 1983] (“Top Of The Pops” TV Performance) [DVD]
19. The Reflex [April 26, 1984] (“Top Of The Pops” TV Performance) [DVD]

If you have this, what do you think of it?

-A

Today in Duran History – The Reflex!

If you’re a Duranie and you have a heartbeat (which is likely since you’re reading), chances are, you already KNOW what today is in Duran history.  If you’ve been on Twitter or Facebook this week, you should know this, but I’m not into Pop (Ha ha, I made a funny) Quizzes, so I will spill: on today’s date in 1984, The Reflex was released.

Thirty years ago, people.  Thirty years.

Now, I’m not saying you’re getting old or anything, particularly if you weren’t around to hear The Reflex on the radio the day it was released…but I was.  So….there’s that.  Happy days!!

For many Duranies, this was the song that made them cross the bridge, dance on the valentine, and swear they would be Duranies forever more.  I wouldn’t know about that, because well, I was already a Duranie for a few years before this song came out.  (again, we’re not saying old, but…)  My partner-in-crime claims this date as her Duranniversary (I have played around with the spelling of that word more than I ever care to count…I’m going with this one!), so Happy Anniversary, Amanda!!  Thirty years, thirty some shows??? (There would be more if the band ever decided to do some more shows. Just saying, because I can.)

Moving on…

I can remember hearing  The Reflex on the radio in 1984, but it really wasn’t until I was in marching band in about October of 1984 that other kids in band started telling me about the song. I would patiently stand there, listen, and roll my eyes back into my head when they would say it was new…because by then it was SO six months ago…but that Nile Rodgers remix did something special with it, and I can remember friends, even friends who *gasp* were not into Duran Duran, thinking it was cool.  Because it was.  Maybe it wasn’t the best DD song ever written, maybe it was.  One thing is certain: there was something special there…and here we are thirty years later.

-R

#DDReflex8414  (I probably don’t get extra brownie points for posting the hashtag on the blog, but that’s OK!)

I’m Walking Back…

This was a rather busy week for Duran fans despite the downtime.  Yesterday, I discussed the two upcoming releases in the Careless Memories coffee table book and the 2014 official calendar.  Beyond those announcements, there was also a big anniversary this past week, the 30th anniversary of the release of Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  Like many Duranies out there, this album was a big deal in my world.  I don’t remember when I actually got it but I do know that this was the time that I moved from being simply a FAN to being a DURANIE.  Because of the significance of this album to my life, I was super excited to hear the band’s podcast discussing the making of the album, which you can hear here.  I admit that I have listened to it more than once and enjoyed it just as much the second time as the first.  Perhaps, I even enjoyed it more.  Certain things jumped out at me both times that I feel it necessary to comment on.  (Hey, I’m a blogger.  That’s what I do.  I comment.)

Locations:
As Duranies up on their Duran history know, this album took a long time to make as opposed to the first album or Rio.  Part of this could have been due to the fact that they worked on it in three separate locations, all being out of the UK.  The reason for this, according to Nick here, was to escape London as it was “a little too crazy”.  I can only imagine as 1983 was at a very high point in Duran mania.  The guys discussed how they started in the south of France for about 3-4 weeks.  According to this, it wasn’t super productive there as they had to wait for parts to come and they spent a lot of time doing other things.  What did they do?  It seems they spent time going out, playing tennis (Simon), watching a big screen TV, and playing the game of Risk.  Now, I can’t be the only one who is completely entertained by the idea of them sitting around playing a game like Risk, can I?  I would love to play a game like that with any of them, even though, I lack military strategy.  I would rock on domestic, political strategy, though.  It sounds like Andy would have been the toughest as apparently he used some tough tactics that their managers got frustrated with.  Oh, they also ate a lot as they had a chef there.  From there, they moved on to Montserrat in the Caribbean.  There, they also had to deal with a chef.  This one apparently carried around a big meat cleaver!  That sounds like quite a scene!  Speaking of scenes, there was also some crab racing going on!  Clearly, they all had too much time on their hands!  I so wish that I was bored enough to think of crab racing!!!  Lastly, of course, after doing a couple of shows back in the UK (Prince’s Trust and Aston Villa), they moved on to Australia, which sounded pretty crazy, too.  After all, they knew about 60 fans by name by the end of their time there.  They did finish, though.  Perhaps, it is because there was no chef there!

Australia and Deadlines:
I’m glad that they talked about why they went to Australia, especially since they talked about how London was crazy and mentioned how Australia was, too, at least when it came to the fans.  Apparently, they had a tour booked to start there so they figured they could go, finish the album, rehearse for the tour, and be ready to go.  That sounds logical.  I found it really interesting that they mentioned how they had a deadline to finish the album and how as John put it, “Those were the days of deadlines.”  Clearly, this is very different from now…the days without deadlines.  Simon did say that the deadlines were what made them finish the album.  While I get the desire to have all the time in the world to finish a project and that I am well aware that art can’t be rushed, I also know that deadlines can be a good thing.  I know that the blog will always get done.  Why?  There is a deadline.  Likewise, when we were working on Durandemonium, it was a higher priority because there was a deadline.  Speaking of deadlines, Union of the Snake was the first single.  Why was it chosen?  Simple.  It was the song that was most finished.  Here, we are thinking that there was always some grand plan with single choices.  Apparently, that wasn’t always true.  The day before it was to come out, they were asked about a b-side.  They didn’t have one.  Simon and Nick stayed up all night doing Secret Oktober.  Again, this leads me to wonder about that pressure to get something done.  After all, many of us, most of us LOVE that song.  It is not only one of their best b-sides but one of their best ever!  Perhaps, Duran should think about that.

Perspective:
John mentioned how there were a lot of expectations about this third album.  He stated that the expectations following the Rio album were “massive”.  I can totally see that.  Union of the Snake felt like a disappointment to them at only reaching number 2.  Again, I can see that, knowing where they were in their careers, at that time.  Now, of course, we would all be thrilled if that happened.  Perspective and time makes a difference.  Simon thought they were the most critical about it and were uptight, anxious.  John talked about how he listened to it when the remastered vinyl came out a few years ago and that he loved it.  Nick mentioned that he thinks it has held up to the test of time despite not being sure that it would.  Roger discussed how so much of the album changed from start to finish.  The most well-known example of that is the one they cited, which is Seven and the Ragged Tiger, the title track, changed to the Seventh Stranger.  There is a bootleg out there that claims to have the demo of that Seven and the Ragged Tiger version, but, from what I know, it isn’t real.  It sure would be interesting to hear what it did sound like.

Favorites:
Unlike usual Duran fashion, they discussed favorite songs from the album.  The songs that were chosen were:  Cracks in the Pavement for the lovely anxiety it has, The Reflex (album version over Nile’s version), Shadows on Your Side and The Seventh Stranger.  Who picked which?  I recommend listening to the podcast for the answer!  Make a guess and see if you are right!  What I did think was exciting was how they mentioned both Shadows and 7th being possible songs for a setlist.  John mentioned about how he couldn’t remember what he played for Shadows and someone sent him a youtube clip with a tutorial.  They seemed worried about the tempo for the Seventh Stranger but I could assure them that the fans would LOVE it.  They would love to see/hear both performed live.

I love listening to things like this.  Any new information, any new insight into Duran and the history of Duran is welcome.  More than even that, I love to hear them interact.  I was constantly smiling while listening to this as I was struck not only by the shared experiences but by the very obvious friendship and affection between them.  Truly, they showed what long lasting friendships and working relationships sound like.  It was quite an enjoyable walk down memory lane for all of us, I think.

-A

Happy 30th, Seven and the Ragged Tiger!

I have a confession to make. I loved Seven and the Ragged Tiger when it first came out. I didn’t hear the missteps, or the way the guitar is entirely too deep in the mix. I loved every song on it, and I spent hours trying to understand what the lyrics meant. I can remember going to Wherehouse (yes, I spelled that right) Records and getting it. For that matter, I can distinctly remember the smell of the store – all of that plastic, dust and vinyl mingling together to linger on the senses and the way it always felt warm in there as I would wander aisle to aisle. That day though, I went in with my friend Marsha, knowing we were on  a mission… (Come on…you know what is next…)…to find Duran Duran. We’d been counting down the days for it’s release, and we even took to calling the record store each day that week to see if they got the shipment in early and if they’d let us buy. Of course they didn’t. So that morning we went to the store and triumphantly emerged with our copies. We hopped back in the van – Marsha’s mom had this huge van, which I could never quite understand because there were only four of them in the family – and headed back to her house.

The very first thing we did, of course, was check out the cover. We were thrilled because, well…the band was on the cover. Very important. I quickly flipped the album to the back to check out the songs, and by this point I couldn’t wait to play the album. Once we got to Marsha’s, we raced up to her room and she very carefully tore the shrink wrap plastic, pulled the album out and put it on the turntable.

What happened from there, if I remember correctly, was a lot of squeeing and giggling.  After all, in November of 1983, I’d just barely turned 13. This was a late birthday present of sorts for me (I always did love the month of November when it came to the band…unlike a lot of people, I am WELL aware that they’ve released a lot of their albums this month!), and I was thrilled with the results. I am certain it took several more listens before Marsha and I got down to the business of actually listening to the songs and not wondering aloud when our band members of choice were going to show up and take us away. (Ah, to be thirteen again.)  When I think back to that time, I think about just how naive to the world I really was. I had no idea that John Taylor was doing drugs, or that the band might not be the best of friends, or even that they were more concerned with the next party than meeting fans.  It just didn’t occur to me at all.  Blissfully ignorant and thirteen. Moreover, I was thoroughly convinced that with everything they did, they had the fans in mind. (delusional, I know.) My fantasy world was wide, wide open, and I loved living there.

Out of all the Duran Duran covers, I must admit that this one for Seven and the Ragged Tiger is among my very favorite – if not THE favorite. (Truth be told, I think All You Need is Now is a very close second these days – I know a lot of people don’t appreciate Clunie Reid’s work.  I’m odd I guess.) I don’t think this is going to surprise many of the people who really read this blog or know me – but I am one of those who looks for the hidden meaning in things. In fact, right alongside my then-partner-in-crime Marsha, we sat down with every single Beatles album there ever was (she was a huge fan) and looked for all of the clues to Paul’s “death”, of course. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google “Paul is Dead”. You’ll get it.) What thirteen year olds do that?!? Well, we did. We even found an additional “clue” not listed anywhere, and wrote the editors of a book – I think it was called the Book of Lists to tell them about it. In 1983. A bit late maybe, but with all the enthusiasm possible. So when my eyes spied this album, I was convinced that there must be a message. A hidden meaning!! I spent so, so many hours pouring over every last centimeter of this darn thing. I loved all of the symbols. I was happy to see that the band continued the slanted D. (To me, that symbol IS Duran Duran, and it was only after they stopped using it that I really felt they had lost their way. Imagine that….)The tiger eye/compass on the front left corner. The odd symbolic “7” thing on the right side of the front. The crescent moon and stars, the map as the background, the lettering…and of course all of the symbols on the back. Rivers, mountains, some really odd flowery-snowflake things. I’m still sure it all must mean something, but I never figured out what. What in the hell was the band trying to tell me… because of course, the band was definitely trying to say something. To me. Right? I felt that the album cover very much matched the themes of the videos (think about Union of the Snake or New Moon on Monday) and even of the songs…Tiger Tiger…hel-lo!! I always think of a sort of weird middle-eastern safari thing when I think of this album, and I’m sure the cover helps. Packaging and theme mattered, even back then. I love this band.

My original well-loved copy

It’s hard for me to believe this album was released thirty years ago today. I don’t know where the time has really gone, only that yes – we’ve lived it. When I see the picture of the original five on the front, I feel myself smile. I have fond memories of that time. Those were the days when, whenever I would turn the radio on, stations like KIQQ, KIIS and KROQ here in Los Angeles would gladly play their music. Shows like Friday Night Videos, Video One and even Saturday morning shows like American Bandstand were on – and Duran would get played.  They were good times. On the other hand though, I had no internet. Heck, I didn’t even own a computer!  I didn’t have friends outside of the group I knew from school. I had no way of knowing the news from the band unless it was publicized. I didn’t ever even dream of meeting the band, talking to them, or for that matter….writing a blog and chatting daily with people, friends no less, from around the world. These are good times.

Happy Thirtieth Anniversary, Seven and the Ragged Tiger!

-R