Classic Pop Special Edition: Five Decades and Boys on Film

This week’s edition of covering the Classic Pop magazine’s Special Edition for Duran’s 40th anniversary features two articles:  Five Decades of Duran Duran and Boys on Film.  The first article focuses on an interview with John Taylor and the second talks about the band’s videos.  Two articles I’m very excited to read and to write about!

Five Decades of Duran Duran:

This article appears to be a repeat from a 2012 interview with John Taylor that coincided with the release of his autobiography.  Despite the fact that it is not new, I’m still excited to read it and see how John interpreted Duran’s career.

This article is broken up into decades starting with the 1970s.  This part included how the band formed and their influences.  Frankly, this history lesson was one that I feel like I have read a bunch of times.  That said, while I feel like I know the history of Duran and could tell it in my sleep, I always appreciate it as it is important to know it.  One part that is interesting is how the article includes a little timeline with some big moments.  In the case of the 1970s and early 1980s, it had the forming of the band, signing with EMI and releasing the first single, Planet Earth.  The history teacher in me approves.

The part on the 1980s was exactly what I thought it would be.  It covered each of the albums from the debut self-titled album, Rio, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Notorious and Big Thing.  On top of that, the side projects of Arcadia and Power Station, and the departure of Roger and Andy were covered.  Their Live Aid performance was also mentioned.  Much like the part about the forming of the band, I didn’t learn anything new.  That said, the timeline focused on the release of the first album, the Girls on Film video, the departure of Roger and Andy, the Notorious single and the Big Thing release.  I think some of those choices were interesting.  For example, I don’t know that I would have picked Big Thing to cover in that timeline.

The 1990s consisted of just a few short paragraphs, which included information on Ordinary World’s success, the poor performance of the album of covers, Thank You, and John’s decision to leave the band.  I’m fascinated that this section was so short.  Clearly, the author did not feel like the 1990s was worth much time and focus.  It isn’t that I disagree but I am surprised by that.  The timeline included the rise of grunge (weird), Ordinary World’s release, Thank You’s release, John’s departure and the parting from EMI.  This timeline almost completely matched the paragraphs about the same time period.

The 2000s part was definitely the most interesting to me.  It went over the reunion, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre and All You Need Is Now.  Out of all of that, I zeroed in on the transition from Red Carpet Massacre to AYNIN.  In the article, John is quoted as saying, “We’d disconnected with the vibe” with RCM but that it helped to create the perfect timing for Mark Ronson.  John continued by claiming that the band did not have a lot of trust with each other during Astronaut and weren’t always open-minded.  He stated, “All You Need Is Now is a total Duran Duran album, much more so than Astronaut.  But we didn’t have Mark then.  We needed a producer…who totally understood the Duran Duran DNA.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Boys on Film:

This focus of the article, Boys on Film, is exactly what you think it would be, which is about the band’s videos.  The feature gave credit to their video directors, including Russell Mucahy and Godley and Creme.  Like much of Duran’s history, it starts out discussing the video of Planet Earth to Girls on Film to the Sri Lankan videos especially Hungry Like the Wolf.

What is interesting to me is the discussion surrounding Girls on Film.  While we know why the band had a video like this and how it was received, I hadn’t read much criticism of the video from the band before.  In this article, Godley feels like the band wanted it more arty with style and fashion.  Similarly Simon feels like the video overshadowed the song’s message about the mistreatment of fashion models.

I also appreciated the discussion of the Rio video.  While the article talked about the suits and image of the yacht, the fact that the author included this quote from Nick makes me happy, “For me, the thing that stands out in the Rio video…is the humour in it…”  He continues to say, “A lot of the videos I liked best really had great humour in them.”  I totally agree!

The article wraps up with a discussion of the Wild Boys video with only inserts about A View to a Kill and Girl Panic.  Obviously, the author did not think the rest of the videos mattered that much.  Uh.  I don’t think I agree with that decision.  If I had written the article, I might pick a few different videos as examples of the types of videos Duran has done.  On that note, next week I’ll cover “The Mark of Greatness” about Mark Ronson and the 2010s as well as an article about Stephen Duffy.  Should be interesting!

-A

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