It Was Thirty-Nine Years Ago…

So, 39 years ago yesterday, this little gem was released.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I still can’t quite believe it. Thirty-nine years? Did we do the math wrong?? It just seems hard to imagine that I’ve been a fan of this band for that long. (heh – just imagine what it must be like to have been one of them, having LIVED it all!)

When I think back, I can remember buying their debut album. First off, my original album doesn’t look like that one. It’s more like this one below:

Back then, I really didn’t know much about the band, only that I loved “Is There Something I Should Know”, which yes – I realize wasn’t on the original debut album released in the UK. I can also tell you that I didn’t buy the debut album first. For me, Duran Duran’s first album here in America was Rio.

Oh, I can hear the screams of protest from around the globe now…

As my story goes, I bought Rio first (which yes, was also a reissue with the Kershenbaum remixes. No, I didn’t know anything about that at the time). In fact, Rio was the only album available in my record store by Duran Duran on that fateful day sometime in April of 1983. That is because Rio was released in America on April 2nd of 1983…and the US reissue of Duran Duran’s debut album didn’t show up in record stores until April 25 of 1983. The original version of their debut was nowhere to be found. So yes, for me, Rio was in my record collection first. At that point, I was just 12 years old – the same age as my youngest right now (that’s mind boggling when I stop and think about it) – and I didn’t know much about Duran Duran. Heck, at that point, I didn’t know that much about music, unless it was Bach, Beethoven, or Brahms! (or Mozart. Can’t forget him.)

I guess by this logic, it really hasn’t been 39 years since I first bought their album….but I’m just going to go with it…

The very first poster I bought of Duran Duran was an enlarged version of the picture found on their US debut album. It hung on the wall behind my bed, just about my bedroom window. I couldn’t get over how tan Simon was, or Nick’s cheekbones (and hair, of course). If I remember right, I bought that poster the day I went in with my friend Marsha to buy Rio. That album purchase was a big deal, because as I recall, it was the very first record album I ever went into a store to buy for myself.

I can remember Marsha – she was the true rock music scholar of the two of us back then – explaining to me that we’d made an egregious error in buying Rio before getting their debut album. She was always so OCD and exacting about that kind of thing – I just wanted to buy their music, not caring so much about what came first or what “edition” I had. Marsha though, she was very particular about her music collection. Before Duran Duran, she’d been an avid Beatles collector (in fact I wonder a lot about her Beatles album collection nowadays, because I know she had the “right” versions of their entire catalog. She’d spent hundreds of hours – and many dollars – searching and finding just the right pressings to add to her collection even back then!), and she was well-versed in reissues, pressings, label changes, and that sort of thing.

Me? I just wanted to listen to “Is There Something I Should Know” every minute of the day….yay. I was more than slightly disappointed it wasn’t on Rio, since it seemed like since it had only just come out on the radio – it should be on that album! (See what I mean? I didn’t have a single clue)

Anyway, Marsha calmly and patiently explained that we’d have to go back to Music+ and buy the US reissue of their debut. She was insistent that we try and find the original pressing though, because for some reason, that mattered to her. I was 12. I just wanted my damn song. On one of the following Saturdays, we convinced her mom to take us back to the record store, where we each bought our now well-loved copies of their US reissued debut, along with this t-shirt:

Now, this isn’t exactly my shirt – which I still have. Mine was a muscle-tee, which meant no sleeves (if you’re going to do the 80s, do ‘em all the way, I guess…). I don’t wear that shirt anymore because, well, I’ve grown since I was 12.

Those that know me in real life could probably read this blog and say, “Yep, that sounds a lot like Rhonda.” While it’s true that I’ve had to get better about knowing the differences between say, Japanese and American album pressings, or what in fact the Kershenbaum mixes really are and how they’re different, because I write The Daily Duranie – for the most part – I have never been that great about paying attention! Certainly not when I was 12. I wasn’t that sort of collector or fan. I’m still really not! I love what I love, I don’t care what version I have, and I don’t try to get every single edition of whatever is out.

As I listen to Duran Duran’s debut album, and just so everyone knows – it has always been, and will likely continue to remain my favorite, so I play it the most often, I can truly say that I never once thought about how long I might listen to it when I bought it that day at Music+. Never did it occur to me that I’d grab it off the shelf thirty-nine years later, still proclaiming it to still be my favorite. Never once did I think that I’d see the band live, travel to shows, or make lifelong friends as a result. Sometimes I contemplate what the 12-year old in me would think if she had known on that day she was making what has come to be one of the biggest directional choices in her life by picking up that album that day at Music+. Knowing her like I do, she would have rolled her eyes at just the thought of growing old, never mind the rest of it.

I’ve said before that the one true constant I’ve had in this fandom has been the band itself. Duran Duran has been a part of my life in one way or another since just after I’d turned ten years old. Whether I’d only heard one song by them on a new radio station I was trying out, or I’d listened to their lead singer introduce new music I’d never heard of before on a podcast – the band has been a constant. They’ve smiled at me from on stage, signed albums for me, waved to Amanda and I while passing by in a lobby, clinked glasses at a bar (okay, so most of that is from Simon, now that I think about it…), allowed us to write about them every day for nearly a decade now – telling our own story of being fans, and most importantly, their music has genuinely saved me from some pretty low times during my nearly fifty years on this planet.

No, I didn’t think much about listening to the band nearly forty years after buying that first record, but I’m sure glad I am.

-R

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