Notorious!

On today’s date in 1986, Notorious was released.

I had difficulty coming up with a blog topic day (as a quick aside – happy birthday to my husband!!!), so I shot a note to Amanda for help.  She responded with a couple of ideas, and as I glanced at them I realized that I have almost no memory of Notorious. The only thing I can tell you is that I was sitting in the back of my parents car on the way up to Oak Glen, California to pick apples when I first heard the song, Notorious on the radio. Picking apples was one of my favorite “Autumn” activities as a child, and I looked forward to our yearly trip to the small town for apples, pies and a picnic under the many oak trees. I remember hearing the very first note and knowing it was Duran Duran, without a doubt. I didn’t know an album was in the process of being made, and I was very surprised to hear them. I don’t remember if I even knew that Andy and Roger had left the band, to be honest, but I think that by this time I must have known. And…that’s about all I’ve got for a memory of that time.

What is interesting in hindsight is how quickly I knew the song was indeed Duran Duran.  It was instantaneous, almost like Pavlov’s bell. As soon as I heard it, I knew who it was and I could feel the excitement build within, like a glass pitcher being filled with water to the very top. Back then, I relied heavily on the radio for all of my Duran news – while maybe many of you were involved in the fan club or had other ways of getting the latest intel from the group – I wasn’t quite that connected. In many ways, I was incredibly far removed from the world of Duran Duran. I probably didn’t hear information until it was nearly stale, and somehow – I miss that complete ignorance at times. You know what they say? Ignorance is bliss.  Sometimes, I still feel that way.

I don’t think I even recognized that there was somebody else on drums when I heard the music for the first time. I have a funny way of ignoring the obvious if my psyche needs – and for me the absence of a Mr. Roger Taylor would have been pretty traumatic, so I am almost sure I didn’t allow myself to even come to terms with that little notion until much, much later.  Of course, this was also the album that brought Warren Cuccurullo to the band. The funk that can be found on this album wasn’t something I really appreciated much until many years later (although I did love the song Notorious from day one), but it was an odd time.

I guess that for me, Notorious marked a brand new beginning. It put an exclamation point on the idea that Duran Duran would continue on. I had to get used to the idea of three. Three remaining original band members. I mourned the loss of Roger and Andy. I wondered why they left, I wondered if I would ever grow to appreciate the new guys, and mostly I wondered if the band would ever be the same.

-R

4 thoughts on “Notorious!”

  1. Such an interesting post! I remember being in my room listening to Notorious for the first time. I was so disappointed. It was not the kind of energy this 16 yr old was looking for. I always liked the harder sound of pop (back in the day it was the Police and Depeche Mode). The follow-up to Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Power Station, the Wild Boys and Arcadia went down a road that I was not interested in taking. (I wanted more Wild Boys!)

    I don't remember how I heard about the band splitting up either! Then again, I knew NOTHING about JT's habits and such. I was fed a steady stream of controlled news only from the teen mags. I didnt have MuchMusic or even CableTV.

    So I went on… said good-bye to my childhood and in some ways to Duran Duran. I remember very vividly packing up all my posters, putting all my DD “stuff” in a box and shipping it to the basement. I would still have it were it not for the flood in my folks basement! :C Anyway… I went on a different musical journey, and somehow knew that I needed to let go of DD, in order to grow up… [I was completely obsessed in the height of my fandom…]I don't know how to better explain that… but there it is.

    Anyway, I remember like it was last week sitting in my kitchen in Toronto while I was at graduate school. (In a very bad place in my head, very homesick)…and hearing Ordinary World on the radio. That's when I accepted being a fan again.
    Simon's voice was like home.

    😀

  2. This post makes me think of MTV…all of my info about the band came from MTV (I never bought any of the magazines or was part of the fan club at that point). I remember being 13 and hearing the report that “another Taylor was leaving Duran Duran” and being devastated. Then Arcadia came and I absolutely loved So Red the Rose. So when Notorious came out, I remember the video more than the song…it was on MTV constantly and I'd watch their top 20 countdown every Friday as it climbed higher and higher.

    I didn't get the full album until Christmas and loved that too. I loved the funk, the guitar, the horns…loved all of it. I still think it's one of their most complete albums…even now, much of it stands the test of time (and I would kill to hear Proposition live!!! Just once!!!). Granted, the album is a huge collaboration–clearly Nile Rodgers was the glue for the band, and it also featured both Warren and Andy and Steve Ferrone…but it worked for me. (as an aside, check out the documentary “Three to Get Ready” which is a great look inside the band during this era).

    I also remember seeing Warren for the first time in the Meet El Presidente video and being happy that the band found a guitarist (you could see his chemistry with Nick even then). I was a huge Andy fan but was willing to go along w/ the new lineup and give the “new guy” a chance…keep in mind it was 1986-87, no internet, and I was a 14 year old fan with no concept of how these things worked or what the band politics were etc…

    My only other recollection is that I was disappointed that Skin Trade was the second single. I was convinced that any number of other songs–Hold Me, Vertigo, Proposition, So Misled–would have been a better choice to keep up the momentum from the success of “Notorious.” I know the band loves Skin Trade but I just don't get it…I guess we would all learn that this wouldn't be the first time Duran failed to capitalize on their momentum…!

    -Chris @poptrashed

  3. I have to admit that I never really bonded well with Skin Trade. It's not a bad song or anything, it's just not MY taste. Notorious was really the only song off the album I really loved until much later (I matured. There's no other way to explain it, and I can admit that.) Even now – I have more appreciation for the album as a whole, but it's not the first thing I will grab if I want to listen to a full album. That's just me though, and it is clearly not a reasonable representation of what the fan community likes as a whole.

    One thing I will say with regard to Warren is that in hindsight, I really don't know why I never gravitated towards him. I mean, I'm pretty good with the new people, but for some reason I just never gelled with Warren. I really think that at least part of that is because his guitar style is such the polar opposite from Andy's, and when I think to all of the guitarists I love – they are all much more similar to Andy than Warren. That said, you're right – he and Nick did seem to get along well, at least from my point of view. -R

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