The Extraordinary Magic of Ordinary World

This month, DDHQ is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Duran Duran, or as most fans call it, The Wedding Album. 

I’ve struggled with a topic for this particular post, primarily because as much as I’d like to celebrate The Wedding Album, I don’t honestly remember a lot about that period of time. I was in college, and my mind was about as far away from Duran Duran as possible. So much so, that I was actually shocked the first time I heard “Ordinary World” on the radio. I didn’t even know they had been working on an album, although I suppose I must have assumed they would be. I just don’t remember.

It is an accurate statement that Duran Duran hit it out of the park with “Ordinary World”. That iconic guitar line, along with Simon’s voice, makes the song. Any fan could be just about anywhere—the grocery store, in the car, at a mall, just about anywhere—and with the first note we are awakened like a dog to Pavlov’s bell. It is THAT kind of melody, and yes, we have Warren Cuccurullo to thank for it. There is no arguing that at the time, he brought something new to the table for the band to feed from, and it worked. The song remains fairly permanent on set lists, despite constant complaints from Warren fans about whomever is playing guitar. No one plays it the same way as Warren, and no one ever could. I don’t know why that is. Another guitarist could play the exact notes in the same way, and still not have the feeling quite right. It is something that only the most passionate of fans pick up on, and yet, it makes all the difference. I can only explain it by describing it as magic.

While I don’t remember a lot from that time as a fan, I do remember hearing “Ordinary World” on the radio. I remember how well it did as a single, and how utterly surprised I was to see Duran Duran back on the charts. That wasn’t because I didn’t think they were capable, but because the time was so different. Yet, hearing “Ordinary World” on the radio didn’t energize or excite me in the same way it probably did for many of you reading. I felt wistful for a time that had passed. In 1993, I was getting ready to graduate from college, I had no real plan for what would come next. My father was out of work, my parents were in the process of losing their home, and I bounced around from friend to friend so that I wasn’t another burden on my parents. Anxiety was not ever a welcome, close, friend; but it sure seemed to be looming around every corner, chasing after me with every step. I missed the carefree days of youth, and this song reminded me of that every time I heard it.

There are many people who are huge fans of Warren in the same way many are of Andy, John, Roger, Nick, Simon and yes, even Dom. For those people, The Wedding Album might be the equivalent to Rio, or perhaps even more aptly, their Duran Duran. (given its name and all…)  I try very hard to remember that these days, because while this time period was not my personal favorite, for many of you—it was. I can appreciate that, and I’m trying my best to do it justice here.

In 2012, Duran Duran played a gig in Durham, North Carolina. I was there, and as Simon introduced “Ordinary World”, he explained the importance of the song for the band. The band had been at a fork in the road, basically. Either they were going to keep going, or they were going to hang it up. “Ordinary World” was the song that convinced them to keep going. I’m not doing any sort of justice to Simon’s eloquence that night, but his explanation convinced me – Ms. Doubter – of its permanence in the set list at the time.  The word “convince”, isn’t right. That word makes it sound as though I’m an owner of the band, when I am absolutely not. I think the right word is “respect”. I have deep respect for the song, and obviously the band, and yes, including Warren for writing it. How could I not?

In years since that gig, I’ve witnessed “Ordinary World” do extraordinary things to people. Regular people sob openly when it is played. I’ve watched it heal, and I’ve seen it bring people together. I have also seen the song give someone strength when they needed it most, and create the strongest of bonds between relative strangers. There is indeed something very special about that song, and there is no denying it’s magic, even 25 years later.

-R

 

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