The Daily Duranie 30 Day DD Challenge continues to have a lot of participants, which is great! Yesterday’s question was: Your favorite video. Unlike the first day’s question, this was a much closer result. Only 20 videos were listed as opposed to the 34 different songs that were given as answers the previous day. Obviously, many videos were left out. Once again, Save a Prayer led the informal poll but was followed very closely by New Moon on Monday, Nightboat and Rio. Interesting to note is that Nightboat was not given as a favorite song. Today’s question in the Daily Duranie 30 Day DD Challenge is: What is one song from an album that should have been a single but wasn’t? This question has brought up some discussion and has gotten me thinking.
As previously discussed in this blog, singles used to be a big deal and now not so much. Obviously, this question implies that, at some point, the wrong single was chosen or that another single should have or could have been released and wasn’t. If the right singles were chosen, perhaps, more records would be sold, popularity would have increased, etc. Rhonda asked a question this morning that is a good one. Who exactly decides the singles? My follow-up question is why choose the ones they did?
In thinking about these questions, I started thinking about the songs that they chose. We all know that Planet Earth was their first single. My understanding and I could be wrong is that they thought Girls on Film would be the strongest single but didn’t want to release that one first. This leads back to Rhonda’s question. Who was the “they”? I don’t have the answer for this. I suspect that the label had a lot to say about it. Perhaps, the band could say that they would like such and such to be the single but that the label could veto their suggestion. At other times, the label could just pick the single. Isn’t that what happened with Careless Memories? We know that CM didn’t do as well as PE or GOF and I heard/read that the band blamed the label for insisting on that one. So, what about the rest of Duran’s career?
There were many singles off of Rio. I have heard many times that the band doesn’t like My Own Way and that was chosen as the first single. Maybe they still didn’t get much say then or decided they didn’t like it later. Of course, we know that they have been successful in getting some songs released as singles. The record label didn’t like the Reflex after Nile Rodgers got a hold of it. Yet, the band pushed and they were right to do so as that song hit number one in a lot of places, including the US. Singles seem to become more problematic as the career moved forward with a couple of exceptions. There is a scene in Three to Get Ready when the band is talking about how they would like to have the next single released right now as Notorious wasn’t doing as well as they had hoped (even though it really did relatively well, at least here in the US). Yet, it seemed that the label wasn’t on the same page. Of course, many people have questioned the choice of Meet El Presidente as it did not do well at all. Then again, the singles off of Big Thing and Liberty didn’t do super well, either. Liberty, in fact, was the first album that didn’t have at least 3 singles. Again, I’m left to wonder whose decision that was.
Then, Ordinary World and Come Undone happened. Those singles were super successful. Who knew or understood that these songs would be popular and would renew interest in Duran? What criteria was used to decide these songs or any of the songs? Clearly, these questions became more and more popular in the fan community once the band reunited. Many have argued that Sunrise wasn’t right for the first single off of Astronaut, particularly because it was on the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy soundtrack, which had been out for a long time. Then, others have wondered and continue to wonder about the choice in What Happens Tomorrow? How come there wasn’t a third single off of Astronaut? Was that a record label choice? The questioning over singles continued and intensified during Red Carpet Massacre. Many fans have argued that the reason that album wasn’t a success is because of the poor choice for a single. Many didn’t like Falling Down and felt like the band should be advertising the work with Timbaland. Again, who made that decision and why? Again, Rhonda pointed out that now they don’t have a label to dictate, veto or compromise with. Will this decision about singles be different now?
No matter what happens from here. It is obvious that the choice of singles or lack of choice of singles is a discussion that will continue within the fandom forever because it is a classic case of what-if. I think that every fan has a criteria that she or he would like the powers that be to use when deciding singles. Some fans want more upbeat, make you want to dance type songs and others would prefer something along the line of Save a Prayer. The reality is that singles are supposed to get the public’s attention and to sell more albums. That said, figuring out which songs would do that can’t be easy even though we have our opinions about it!