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

3 thoughts on “Happy 30th, Seven and the Ragged Tiger!”

  1. 30 years, wow. I was a freshman in college then and remember going to pick up the album the day it came out. I can't remember the name of the store but I remember the mall.

    Rhonda, remember back then when TBS would show music videos all night long on Friday and Saturday nights from about 11pm to 6am? I remember we would go out partying and then come back to the dorm and sit in the basement and watch videos for hours. It was an awesome time.

  2. I do remember that time…it's really sad (IMO) that we have to rely on YouTube for such things now. It's just not the same.

    I sat down a few weeks ago to watch some videos – I wanted to see all of The Killers videos (I hadn't seen them). I went through YouTube and found them all (or at least what I thought to be all of them) – while it was great to see the videos, there is just something lost in comparison to the days of MTV, Friday Night Videos, Video One…and many others…in fact there was even a video show I watched on our local Spanish TV station. They played a great variety. Don't laugh – I passed Spanish in high school because of that darn show!! 😀

    -R

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