Duran Duran’s album, The Wedding Album, turns 25 years old today. I always love to celebrate significant moments in the band’s history and this one is no exception. Yesterday, I had the chance to commemorate the significant anniversary through videos, interviews, performances, etc. Today, I prefer to think of my own relationship to this album. I know that sounds weird that I would have a “relationship” with an album, but I feel like I do with each of Duran’s albums. Each one has meant something a little different to me and I get to acknowledge it on dates like one.
The Wedding Album came out in the winter of 1993. At that time, I was finishing up my high school career and getting ready to attend college. February, in fact, marked my acceptance to Kalamazoo College through a personalized phone call. The end of high school and the beginning of college is a huge transition for most people and I was no exception. While college tends to represent the end of childhood, this time period felt more significant to me. At that time, my siblings had moved away as my brother was in grad school in Iowa and my recently married sister was getting ready to move to North Carolina. My dad was not living at home, either, as he was working in Georgia. As I got ready to leave home, it wasn’t just the house I would be leaving. It would be leaving my house, my town and even my state as my parents prepared to move at any time.
For me, this meant that I turned inward. The rest of the world just happened around me with little attention given by me. To say that I was self-absorbed would be an understatement. What does this mean in terms of my fandom? Pretty simple. My Duran fandom was the furtherest thing from my mind. I had no idea that Duran had even recently a new album. My home town did not have radio that captured any music I cared for and I had stopped watching MTV as it moved towards reality television. Therefore, I missed the fanfare surrounding the song, Ordinary World, for example. Now, I wished I hadn’t but I did.
Thankfully, my friend was not as ignorant to the comings and goings of Duran Duran as I was. Somehow, someway, she not only heard the album but had purchased a copy of it. When she told me about it, I was still too self-absorbed to really let that news sink in. In fact, it didn’t really register to me until she suggested that we go see Duran in concert. That caught my attention. As a kid, I desperately wanted to see Duran Duran in concert. I would have sold a kidney if it could have convinced my parents to let me go. When the band played the Chicago area in 1984, I was simply too young and my parents were not going to go with me. No way. Then, when they came back in 1987, I had moved further away from the city. This would have required my parents to drive significantly for me to go. Again, no way. By 1989, I didn’t even try. In 1993, though, I was finally old enough to go on my own. Thus, when my friend suggested going, I jumped at the chance. I figured it would fulfill my childhood dream.
Unfortunately, by the time we got tickets to the August 1993 show, the seats left were less than desirable. We ended up about five rows from the very back all the way on the left hand side. Still, I had a lot of excitement going in and begged my friend to play this new album on the way to the show. As I listened, I wasn’t sure that it felt like the same Duran to me but I was willing to give it a try. Even now, I distinctly remember my friend giving reviews of each and every track as we listened. The album finished as we pulled up to the arena and I was determined to have fun. Now, readers of this blog will know that as much fun as I had (and I had a ton!), it didn’t feel like I expected it to feel. I’m not sure why. The fact that it wasn’t the Fab Five? Where I was in my life? No clue.
After the show, I did, indeed, grab a copy of the album but didn’t really bond with it then. I know for so many Duranies that this album took a hold of their hearts immediately but that was not the case for me. No, it took time for me to bond with it. Like many others, it took appreciating Ordinary World for me to connect with it. Interestingly enough, it did not happen until after I had graduated from college. In the fall of 1997, I moved to Madison, hoping to find a home since my childhood home ceased to exist in the traditional sense. Like so many others after college, I had a lot of random jobs before my career got going. One of those jobs included working in a shoe store, which played music all the time. That fall, once again, featured a transition for me. Instead of going from high school to college, it was about finally being an adult. When I heard Ordinary World one day at the store, I finally got it. I needed to find my new Ordinary World.
Interestingly enough, from that moment, I tried to pay more attention to Duran that I had in a long time. In many ways, while the Wedding Album isn’t the album that made me a Duranie or the one that I love the most, it definitely helped keep me going through a huge transition in life. It also really kept my fandom alive.