Tag Archives: Alex Sadkin

Classic Pop Special 40th Anniversary Edition: 7ATRT and All Excess

This marks the third blog that gives a little summary and my thoughts about the next set of articles in the Classic Pop Special Edition for Duran’s 40th Anniversary.  In the previous posts, I took a look at the articles, “Conquering Planet Earth,” “Rare Photos,” and “Rio”.  Today, I’ll cover “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” and “All Excess Areas”.  Mind you, this only takes me through the first 40 pages of the magazine that ends at page 129!

Seven and the Ragged Tiger:

First thing I notice about this article is how much shorter it is compared to the one on Rio.  Then again, the first album did not get this coverage at all.  There is not the focus on the songs and the videos like Rio had.  I guess that I can understand why.  Rio was/is far more popular and one could argue that Seven was not as important in the history of Duran.  Nonetheless, I’m anxious to see how this album is covered.

The article starts out with quite a bang.  The subheading reads, “…album saw them threatened with becoming victims of their success, in danger of being overexposed, they saved their reputations – and their money – by spending the year abroad.”  Victims of their own success?!  While I don’t necessarily disagree, I don’t think I have ever read it or heard it in that way.  I have often thought about how the band members might have felt then when fame was all encompassing from fans everywhere to an insane schedule in order to maintain the success.  The article gives a quote from Simon in which he explains about how the album was about “ambition”.

The first part of the article focuses on how the writing and recording was different than the previous albums.  There is a quote from Nick about how the songs “were built rather than written”.  This is literally the first time I heard that, which makes total sense to me.  I think you can hear that with all of the various layers on the songs on that album.  According to the article, EMI started getting nervous with Ian Little producing so they brought in Alex Sadkin who kindly decided to keep Ian on.  All of that was new to me, too.  It makes me want to know more, that’s for sure!   I wish that the articles included their references so that I could check out sources for myself.

 Excess All Areas:

The picture that accompanies this article tells me it is about the side projects of 1985 as the title did not give it away.  A classic Arcadia picture leads the reader in and the subheading leads me to think the focus is going to be how the two side projects show the two sides to Duran (arty and rock sides).  As the article begins, I finally understand the title about “excess” with the sentence, “…where every artistic whim in the studio was fully indulged.”  Ah.  I get it now.

Interestingly enough, the majority of the article focused more on Power Station rather than Arcadia which does not seem typical to me.  While I knew of the history listed in the article, the author added some ideas that were new to me, including bad blood with Robert Palmer.  The article claimed that he used Power Station to jump start his own career and that he believed that he created the Power Station sound.  Fascinating.  Again, I wish that I had a list of their sources.  I did appreciate that it mentioned the second Power Station album, which rarely gets talked about ever.

The section on Arcadia was generally predictable with the art influences and awesome guest stars.  I did think it was interesting that it mentioned about how it didn’t do as well, chart wise, as Power Station, especially considering that fans now generally prefer Arcadia.  The article does include a blurb on TV Mania but did not mention John’s solo work or Neurotic Outsiders.  Hmm…

I have to admit that this section of the magazine had a few eye-opening ideas.  As I mentioned a few times, I wish I knew their sources!  Anything surprise all of you?


Calling All Duranies! Ian Little needs your help!!

Anyone ever hear of Ian Little?  Think back to a little album that rocked our worlds back in November of 1983, titled Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  Mr. Little co-produced the album, and in doing so — changed everything I thought I knew about music.

It isn’t every day that I run into a hero of mine, and I don’t JUST mean John, Simon, Nick, or Roger. Today, I ran across a retweet from a friend, and in responding to that tweet, I found myself in a position to trade messages and help someone else with a project.

Ian is currently working on a new DD project, and he needs our help to get the word out. He is writing an e-book based on his experience producing Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  He’s looking for Duranies—yes, real fans like you and me—to email him in support of this new project! Please read the description Mr. Little sent (see below) for a bit more information:

“I am writing an e-book – which I will also produce in a limited edition of physical copies signed and numbered by me – telling my story of the production of 7&TRT. It will contain stuff previously unknown to the public or even the most devoted fans and explain what it was like to live with the band for almost a year. During that time I helped them write the songs for the album in the South of France and then went to Montserrat then Sydney to produce the album alongside Alex Sadkin who is sadly no longer with us. 
I know it will be a great read for anyone with a passion for the band and the way records were made in the ‘80s. as I say it will contain material never before made public (nothing bad about the lads!), intimate moments, inside stories and things that only those involved in the creation of that classic album know.
If that sounds like something you’d enjoy reading let’s hope enough people respond to make it a reality!
So, how do we get involved? It is easy! All you need to do is send an email to Ian Little at musiceel@gmail.com and put DD Project in the subject line. Tweet the news on Twitter, post about it on Facebook, use smoke signals, post messages by skywriter, and spread the word!
Our goal is to get 1,000 Duran fans to respond. According to Ian, he is far from that goal at the moment. It is mind-blowing that a band like Duran Duran can sell out arenas all over the world and yet there is trouble getting 1,000 fans to send Ian an email about a brand-new DD project. Get on it, people!
The best part of this little story for today? Well, when I first heard about the project and sent an email to Ian, I told him I was concerned that it might be a scam. Call me crazy, but the idea of communicating directly with the co-producer of Seven and the Ragged Tiger seemed just on the other side of Crazytown. Turns out that yes, it really is Ian Little, and yes, he really did respond to me.
Yes, I did have a fangirl moment, thanks for asking. My defense is simply that he is partially responsible for my favorite song ever (ITSISK).  I couldn’t help myself.  And then he gave me a little inside secret on the writing of that song—and someday, I’ll share!
So, if you haven’t already clicked on the link and emailed Ian Little with your enthusiastic support, get on it!  Here’s the link again, just in case!
What are you still doing here reading? GO do your thing, Duranies!

Do You Believe In Shame – The Daily Duranie Review

We don’t know about anyone else, but it feels as though we’re doing twice as many reviews as normal these days….and we are NOT complaining one little bit!

This week, we are going to dive right into “Do You Believe in Shame”. This was the 19th single from Duran Duran, as well as the third and final single off of the Big Thing album.  The song only made it to #30 in the UK, #72 in the US and a whopping #14 in Italy, in spite of the single’s extra-long running time (it runs 4:24 – well beyond the “magic” 3:30 of a typical radio single). As most know, the song was dedicated to three special friends in the Duran Duran “family”:  record producer Alex Sadkin, Andy Warhol, and Simon’s childhood friend David Miles.  The song also had its share of controversy in a legal challenge due to the melody resembling that of Dale Hawkins’ “Suzie Q”.  The writing credits were changed, although Duran Duran has continually insisted they never intentionally copied, instead claiming that the similarity is due to a basic blues progression pattern found in both songs.

There will be no blues progression test at the end, or a determination of copyrights, but let’s jump in and see what the song has to offer!



This is a song that I often forget about until I hear it, and then I wonder why I don’t listen to it more often. There is a strong drum beat to begin with, and you barely notice the other instrumentation (synthesizer, bass, and guitar of course) until after the first chorus, which is a little unusual for a Duran Duran song. I appreciate that particularly in this song, the instruments act as more of a backup for the vocals rather than trying to compete with Simon’s voice….the vocal message being more important than the music here. That said, there is still balance here. The synthesizers are really no more or less prominent than the bass or the guitar, and all are kept at rather subdued levels.


Simon outdoes himself for this song, keeping his voice in the lower portion of his range, and singing with all of the emotion one might expect for a song such as this. The timbre of his voice is gorgeous and full, and reminds me of just how talented he is. As much as I love the rest of the song, the brightness he reaches with a bridge about midway through the song is in direct contrast has an almost hopeful quality, which really gives the song even more dimension. Definitely one of the best and under appreciated Duran ballads, particularly vocally.


There are very few Duran lyrics that swell up the emotion as well as this song for me. It isn’t easy to have people die, and I think that everyone experiences regret about things they should have done or should have said, even under the best of circumstances, and this song conveys those feelings perfectly.  Lines like “So why your eyelids are closed, Inside a case of rust, And did you have to change
All your poets fire into frozen dust”  convey an eerily familiar feeling for me, an make the ever-present feeling in the pit of my stomach surge back to life.  Anyone who has ever lost anyone should be able to find that emotion here in this song.


I think part of the reason I don’t listen to this song more often is because of the intense emotion it conjures up for me. That alone makes it a brilliant piece of work.  The music and vocals work together beautifully, and I appreciate that the song is subdued without losing emotionality. This isn’t the type of song you dance to, yet the band has played it live and it’s gone over brilliantly.  Do You Believe in Shame is a fine example of the depth that Duran Duran is capable of, something that I feel continues to be completely missed by media.  Their loss.

Cocktail Rating

4.5  cocktails!

4.5 Cocktails



The song’s instrumentation, to me, is such that it is definitely felt rather than heard.  It works to create quite a mood of melancholy and does not appear to have significant changes throughout the song.  Yes, there is clearly, musically, a chorus but isn’t that much different the music of the verses.  The instrumentation clearly has all of the usual Duran instruments present but none is front and center.  The instrumentation works in the background.  When there are slight changes or additions, particularly keyboards, they work to make the song, the feeling more intense.  Truly, the musicality of this song matches the focus of the song.  It really feels like grief that is  ever present.


I want to love Simon’s vocals here but…I don’t.  While I appreciate that Simon also wanted his vocals to represent the grief and match with the instrumentation, I find myself wanting something different each time I listen to it.  I have a hard time picking out the words and, while I know that I’m getting ahead of myself here, they are too good to miss.  They are too beautiful not to be understood and I always struggle to understand each and every line.  I do love the part about 2/3 of the way through when he declares how selfish he is.  The power of that section is great and I wish the entire song sounded like that.  All this said, I do give him credit for truly sounding like he is grieving in this song.  He definitely channeled everything he was feeling with the loss of his friend, David, when he recorded this.  I give him a ton of credit for that.



When I think of Duran Duran songs, I struggle to think of ones that we know truly relate to a real life experience of Simon’s.  Most of his lyrics tend to be some broad observation of some aspect of society or relationships or they tend to be more poetic.  I don’t often think personal when I think Simon’s lyrics.  These lyrics are very personal and yet they truly do capture what grief is like.  It is a song, lyrically, that everyone can relate to.  Everyone has experienced loss and the classic five stages, many of which Simon alluded to here.  Yet, like the best of Simon’s lyrics, he describes the emotions he felt in such a poetic beautiful way.


This is one of those songs that touches everyone who hears it.  It captures the experience of grief and loss well.  The instrumentation makes the listener aware while the lyrics explain the complexity of grief with confusion, angry, sadness as well as the attempt to move on.  The only part of the song that doesn’t work as well as it could is the vocals, in the verses, in particularly.  The lyrics and the message loses a  little bit when the vocals aren’t easily understood.  That said, it demonstrates the depth of Duran and the band’s ability to really create a mood with their music.

Cocktail Rating

4 cocktails!

4 cocktails rating