It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another edition of Memorabilia Medley! My calendar says that it is also February 2. This year, it’s not just Groundhog Day. It should be a worldwide holiday!
On this date in 1981, exactly forty years ago, Duran Duran released their very first single. Sorry, but I just need to think about that a little bit. It has been forty years of Duran Duran music. I was ten years old when they released Planet Earth with Late Bar as the B side. Hell, this was back when there WERE B-sides!
I have several copies of Planet Earth, in a variety of formats, including the UK 12” Night Version. I’ve included one of those copies as the headline picture for this post. There is a lot I love about the 12” Night Version, which is probably my favorite night version. One fun fact in particular is the etching found on the run-off (near the middle) of the record. “DURANIES ROCK ON”. Unfortunately, the one copy I was able to reach and grab from my record collection is also the one that some fool decided to try and scratch out, but you can still see some of it in there. (seriously, who scratches out messages like this on a record???)
I know Duran Duran isn’t a band who lives in nostalgia. Amanda and I are happy to think back on moments that have made our lives more colorful. Planet Earth being one of the biggest. Little did I know that hearing Duran Duran on KROQ in 1981 would be so impactful. I remember Rodney Bingenheimer spinning Planet Earth for Southern California tweens and teens. He told listeners to keep an eye out for Duran Duran, because he was sure they’d be huge in a year or two. I’ll admit that even at ten years old, I was dubious and cynical. How could Rodney possibly know? What was so different about this band anyway?
That was before I heard Planet Earth, of course. Within the first chord, the hair on the back of my neck and arms stood up. Then that familiar melody kicked in, and I was sold. I loved what I was hearing. It sounded completely new, fresh, and unlike anything else I’d ever heard before. I can’t help but smile when I think about that very first listen on my old radio. The sound was crackly – gotta love the reception on those old radios – but it made my heart sing.
At the time, I kept thinking that Duran Duran was the most forward sounding music I’d ever heard. I didn’t even know what New Romantic music was – only that I really liked it. After that, I listened religiously to KROQ, just hoping they’d play the damn song again. It was many months before I heard Richard Blade play it again. By that time, I had many other bands engraved in my New Wave heart. Even so, Duran Duran’s Planet Earth was the song that I came back to over and over again. I don’t know how else to explain it, except to say I felt it was – well, mine.
Last week, Amanda asked me what I would say to my 12-year old self if I could. At the time, I was fairly speechless because it was the day we’d gotten our message from Roger Taylor. I mean, out of all the things I could have ever dreamt when I was a kid – and trust me – I did a LOT of daydreaming back then – never once did I ever imagine that I’d get a message from any member of Duran Duran. Not once. Along that same line, who would have thought I’d be blogging? Hell, who thought we’d have the internet?!?
I would have never, ever dreamt I’d be this involved in a band I loved at ten. Maybe I would have told that little girl to never stop dreaming, and never believe those inner voices telling her that she’s not good enough. She is.
This day has me thinking a lot about myself back in middle school during the 80s. I keep saying it, but Duran Duran changed my entire life. I would imagine I’m not alone. It’s one thing to celebrate the year that Duran Duran first became a band – 1978. It’s another to also celebrate the year that Simon finished out the true line-up of the band we all know and love – 1980. Celebrating the very day that the music became OURS, though? Priceless. Today is that day. Forty years ago and counting. Happy Anniversary, Planet Earth.
Happy Anniversary, Duran Duran. I thank the universe for you. My heart is bursting with pride, joy, and even a little wistfulness, because on this day, I am wishing we could all be together to celebrate. We need it. We need you. Perhaps now, more than ever.