Tag Archives: Big Thing

The Big Egg in 1989 – do you remember?

Oddly enough, I barely remember 1989.  I can tell you that on this date in 1989, I was living in the dorms at Cal State Fullerton, and I’m pretty sure that I knew my (then) boyfriend and I were going to go see Duran Duran at the Universal Amphitheater in March. Aside from those two things, I can’t tell you much about what was going on in the world back then.

HOWEVER…I do remember this show for a couple of reasons. First of all, they played at a venue named The Big Egg.  Come on now.  Who forgets a name like that?? Secondly, I have seen video from this show. The wardrobe choices alone are burned into my memory for all eternity. Yes, I’m poking fun…because I can, and because none of them are standing in front of me. <insert big wide grin here> Listen, the 80’s happened to ALL of us. I just thank my lucky stars that me and my frizzy, peroxide-bleached hair from back then is nowhere to be found online.

So, while I wasn’t at the show (how many of us really traveled to Japan back then anyway?)…I still enjoy when this date comes up each year so that I can search for just the right YouTube video to share.

Enjoy Maximum Big Surprise (mash-up medley of Election Day and Some Like it Hot)  The video quality isn’t great but it was the best I could find this year…

 

Happy Wednesday!

-R

 

 

 

My Own Way: Album Ranking

Welcome to Monday. It is my first day back after a nearly a week of festivities, and so I’m going to start slow…by doing my own ranking of albums.

In full disclosure, I read diffuser.fm’s take on Duran’s career, as well as Amanda’s, prior to making my own choices. Both gave me a little more to think about, but neither swayed my decisions. I know we’ve done this before, but as Amanda mentioned, I haven’t even considered it since Paper Gods came out.  Why not revisit?

My own countdown is devised so that I mention the album and the reasons for where it sits. Some albums may have a paragraph, others might have a sentence or two. I left Arena off of my list completely as it only has one studio song on it and if I were to rank live albums I would do them all.

I’ve learned that I cannot hem and haw around while I am ranking things or picking favorites. I feel a little like I’m mowing down the field of Duran Duran albums as I go through the process, quickly deciding what should go where and why – but I go with my first instinct, my gut, and don’t look back. I do fine as I begin, but somewhere around #8 I start worrying, but remind myself to go with  my gut. I look back over the list as I’m finishing and realize that for now – today even – it’s how I feel. Tomorrow?  Who knows.  That’s kind of how it’s always been for me as a fan.

Perhaps it’s really gotten to the point that I identify so closely with their career – each album marking a particular point in my own life – that it’s difficult to be objective anymore. I don’t know, but I tried. I’m sure I’m not the first fan to be stumped by ranking albums or picking favorite songs. In fact, I know I’m not!

Thank You

I just never felt they hit their stride here. While some songs, such as Perfect Day or Lay Lady Lay are so silky smooth you can’t help but enjoy them, others, such as 911 is a Joke, make no sense at all.  Then there’s White Lines, which is great live, but on the album it tends to fall flat. I can’t fault the band too much for trying something few other bands of their calibre have done, but it just does not rank high on my list of favorites.

Red Carpet Massacre

Anyone who knows me probably saw this coming, and I’m sorry for being predictable. I don’t think this album can or should be swept under the proverbial carpet and forgotten – because it is how we got here, to this place we all currently occupy. I can certainly see and hear the parallels between this album and Paper Gods. I’m glad they tried out some of the things they learned from RCM over again to get them right.

Pop Trash

I would characterize Pop Trash as the fast food of Duran Duran’s career.  Perhaps fitting? While the album is nowhere near “bad”, I never felt that there was a lot for me to sink my teeth into and devour.  It lacks the depth of some of their other work, which is why it ended up in this place on my list.

Medazzaland

Ah, Medazzaland.  If there were any album that had changed for me over the years since it’s release – it would be this one.  I just didn’t get it when it first came out. In fact, I listened to the album in full one time before shelving it for many years. Lately though, I’ve listened to it, and I’m finally starting to get it. No, I’m still not a fan of the title track (sorry Nick), or Silva Halo, but I do really like Big Bang Generation, Who Do You Think You Are, and Midnight Sun. There’s a lot hiding amongst the shadows on this album, and I think it’s worth a revisit.

Liberty

How can I rank this above Pop Trash or Medazzaland? 2am drives from Hollywood, that’s how.  Our personal experiences shape our listening choices, and for me – that’s why Liberty works. It kept me awake many times during college and beyond, so I’m going with it.

The Wedding Album

I have to admit that I agree with Amanda – while there are two songs on this album that are iconic for Duran Duran, the album as a whole isn’t nearly as impressive as others (which I recognize is tough to do when you’re Duran Duran and have had so many successes).  So it’s not that I think the album is bad – it’s that the band has too many great ones!

Astronaut

Oh yes I did rank this one about The Wedding Album. Please see the line about personal experiences.  For me, this album is all about the Fab Five. I can’t ignore it, I can’t get past that, and it was a dream come true for me. Yes, it’s pop. Sure, there are songs on it that I didn’t love and I still take it personally that they didn’t include Beautiful Colors, Salt in the Rainbow and Virus on it. Even so, I’ll take it.

Notorious

I am pretty sure that at one point or another, I ranked this lower on my list. Again, I didn’t get it. But just a week ago, I pulled the album out and gave it a good listen. What is most remarkable to me about Notorious, is that it came after Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Those albums were hugely successful. Then they had two band members leave, and rather than sticking with what they knew, they took the opportunity to blaze new territory. It was like deciding to take a giant left turn out of nowhere. As a child, I had little respect for that sort of thing. In fact, I don’t think I really understood.  Even as an adult I sometimes get caught up in what I think DD should be or should sound like – but I’m working on it.

Big Thing

Another album I didn’t really get until adulthood. The first half is as dance music as I’d expect from DD, and the latter is the culmination of some of their finest songwriting moments. The emotion that comes across threw the B side of this album is astounding, and in my opinion, it is the best DD album that no one has really heard.

Paper Gods

Here’s the thing about Paper Gods for me – I like it. I don’t know that I love it, although I’ve tried. It ticks a lot of the boxes for plenty of people, but it is also an album that I really needed to come to terms with. I didn’t fall in instant love, but I would say I’ve grown to respect each song and the work that went into making the album overall. I can’t fault an album that hit top ten, if only for a brief, shining moment.

Seven and the Ragged Tiger

This goes bad to personal experiences for me. This album is my seventh grade wrapped in vinyl. Awkward, sometimes overdone, but still well-loved. Sure, it might not be their best songwriting, but I love it all the same, and that’s why it is near the top of my list. All I have to do is hear the opening notes to Union of the Snake and I’m back on the lawn with my friends at recess, gawking at the latest edition of Tiger Beat. For me, those memories are priceless, and that is what makes music so powerful.

Rio

I know what you all are thinking.  Yes, I really did put Rio third. The trouble is, it could easily be second. Or first. The final three on my list here are probably interchangeable, if not completely tied. I cannot think about Duran Duran without thinking about Rio. If there were ever a reason why Hungry Like the Wolf is played at every single DD show – it is because of Rio. Try as we might, we simply cannot separate Rio (the album) from the band, in the same way that we cannot separate HLTW from them either. I get it. I may not always like it, but I get it. And I respect it.

All You Need is Now

It pains me that the band left this song, and many songs from this album, off of their set list this past year. For me personally, this album is easily as iconic as Rio. It describes the band, and their relationship with their audience, to a T. To think that Duran Duran wrote this album during their third decade together simply blows me away. It is an album that never got it’s justice, and it is still one of my very favorite.

Self-titled Debut

I really don’t think it is all that surprising that one of my favorite albums is the one that started it all for them, and for me. I love the rawness, the lack of expectation, and the realness of the music. There is no ego here, no trying to outdo what has already been done. It is simply music from  a band ready to take it’s place in the world.  This is an album from Duran Duran before they were DURAN DURAN, and it is the most real we’ve ever gotten from them. that is why it remains number one for me.

My choices weren’t all that surprising, but the exercise was fun. I don’t anticipate others to agree with me – in fact, you shouldn’t. We all have had our own journey, and that is what makes it all fun.  I’m no music expert, and I only have my own taste to rely on, so by all means make your own list and have fun with it.

-R

 

 

My Big Thing Story

Yesterday I blogged about Duran’s Big Thing album as it has recently had an anniversary.  I wanted to take note of when it was made, what singles and videos it had and more.  Today, though, I want to take it personal.  What was my relationship with this album and where is it today?

Before I dive into Big Thing, I wanted to provide a little context, a little backstory.  I had moved with my family in late 1985 from the Chicago suburbs to a small town in Illinois.  A lot of aspects of my life felt wrong then, including my Duran Duran fandom.  I missed my best friend and a fellow Duran fan.  In my new town, no one knew who Duran Duran was and they certainly didn’t care.  I tried desperately to hang onto my fandom but it was tough.  Heck, I even attempted to persuade new acquaintances that they should love Duran like I did.  Thus, I loyally purchased Notorious as soon as it came out, but a lot changed in the two years that followed.

In between the Notorious and Big Thing releases, MTV arrived in my new home town.  My new friends and I were glued to the channel.  We couldn’t get enough, despite our growing annoyance with Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody that played on continuous loop.  One day, I happened to catch a world premiere video.  Of course, the big event was the brand new video for I Don’t Want Your Love.  My reaction?  It felt instantly like Duran.  While the video wasn’t as cool or as exciting as some of their previous ones in exotic locations with story lines, I still liked it.  I even recorded the premiere on my VCR.  Yet, it didn’t catch my attention for long.

By 1988, I was on an island surrounded by people who were not into Duran Duran in any way, shape or form.  My classmates played a lot of hair metal bands.  While I never got into that, my love for Duran had waned.  I couldn’t share it with anyone.  My video watching became a lonely, solitary activity, which was no fun.  I soon realized that it almost made me sad to watch this new Duran video as it reminded me of better, more fun times.  I hoped that MTV would feature Duran like they once did, in order to convince my peers that Duran was the band to love.  Unfortunately, while the video was played a lot, it wasn’t enough.  My new friends weren’t open to the band.

My fandom began to sink as I didn’t even buy the album for a long time.  By the time All She Wants Is was released, the band was out of sight, out of mind, for the most part.  When I heard about the band touring, I didn’t even look at the dates or try to go.  After all, we now lived about an hour and a half from the closest concert venue and I knew that I would have no one to go with.  Emotionally, it became easier to dismiss the tour as something I wasn’t interested in rather than really think about how cool it would be.

Of course, at some point, I did buy the album.  In fact, I bought it used as one of those used cd/book/dvd stores.  Now, of course, I know each and every song, but I wouldn’t say that I ever really bonded with it, not like I have with other albums.  This has nothing to do with the music.  It has more to do with the context of when the album came out and where I was in my life at the time.

That said, there are clearly some quality music on it.  For example, The Edge of America is one of my favorite Duran tracks of all time.  The song captures a lot of what I see and feel from some of my students, a helplessness and anger directed at a country who has done harm too often in its history.  Speaking of history, I’m not sure that this album was a highlight in Duran’s catalog, not because of the music, but because like in my own life, this time period represented more of  Duran’s slide away from being the biggest band in the world (commercially and fame wise).  The tour, for example, was a massive one but had some moments that many fans look at now and question like the decision to feature dancing during All She Wants Is.

In many ways, Big Thing represents a period of real change and adjustment, I think, for both the band’s career and for me personally.  It may not represent the biggest commercial or critical success for the band, but it represents many qualities that I love about Duran.  They were not afraid to try a new direction or be influenced by the musical world at the time.  Their persistence remained despite all who wanted to shut the door on them.  The album was necessary for them to make the albums of the future.  Similarly, I continued to battle and had to push through to find a new me in my new town.

Perhaps, by placing Big Thing in Duran’s history as well as mine own, my appreciation for it will only grow.

-A

Big Thing Facts and Stats

Duran Duran tend to release their albums in the fall.  It isn’t always the case but happens a lot of the time.  The month of October, in fact, has seen three album releases over Duran’s career.  The first album they released in October was Big Thing in 1988, followed up by Medazzaland in 1997 and Astronaut in 2004.  In celebration of these birthdays/anniversaries, I thought it might be fun to take a look at each of them starting with Big Thing.

Big Thing Facts:
Released on October 18, 1988
Produced by Jonathan Elias, Daniel AbrahamDuran Duran
Had 12 tracks included

5 different songs were released as singles:

  1. I Don’t Want Your Love (everywhere)
  2. All She Wants Is (everywhere)
  3. Do You Believe in Shame (everywhere)
  4. Big Thing (UK and Mexico)
  5. Too Late Marlene (Brazil)

Peak chart position:

  • I Don’t Want Your Love–#14 in the UK and #4 in the US
  • All She Wants Is–#9 in the UK and #22 in the US
  • Do You Believe in Shame–#30 in the UK and #72 in the US

Personnel:
The band at that time was made up of John, Nick and Simon.
Warren played guitar on tracks 1, 4, 6, 9, 11 and 12 (half of the album)
Chester Kamen played guitar on tracks 2 and 3
Steve Ferrone played drums on tracks 1, 2, 4, 6 and 9
Sterling Campbell also played drums on the album

Videos:

Three videos were made from this album:

I Don’t Want Your Love

All She Wants Is

Do You Believe in Shame?

Interview:

Here is a long interview with the band, Warren, and the back-up singers from 1988.

The Tour:

The band began touring this album began with the Nine City Caravan Club Tour, in which they toured small venues starting in October 1988.  It was followed by the Big Live Thing Tour in November 1988.  Then, they added the Big Electric Theatre Tour starting in March of 1989 before ending with some festivals in August 1989.

Beyond all of the facts, Duranies have memories of this album.  I would love to hear your Big Thing story.  When did you buy the album?  What did you think of it?  What do you think of the single choices?  The videos?  Did you see the band play tour?  If so, how many shows did you see?  Tomorrow, I will share my Big Thing story.

-A

Duranie Homework: Rank LIBERTY!

Last week, I asked people to rank the Big Thing album from their least favorite song to their most favorite song.  I had a number of people participate (although I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have more)!  I now have the results!  Based on the participants’ responses, here is how the fan community ranked the songs off the first album from LEAST favorite to MOST favorite:

  1. Interlude One
  2. Drug
  3. Flute Interlude
  4. Big Thing
  5. Lake Shore Driving
  6. Too Late Marlene
  7. All She Wants Is
  8. The Edge of America
  9. I Don’t Want Your Love
  10. Palomino
  11. Land
  12. Do You Believe in Shame?

Anything surprise you?  I was not surprised to see Do You Believe in Shame near the top as it often ranks high in other polling and tasks we have done.  Clearly, the instrumentals from this album are not fan favorites.  Now, I can’t just let people sit back and enjoy the results.  Oh no, we need to move on!  Here is your new homework assignment!!

Directions:  You will rank the songs off LIBERTY from LEAST favorite to MOST favorite.  Please note:  In order to make your determination, you may need to re-listen to the album one or more times.

The songs that need to be included in your list are:

  • Violence of Summer
  • Liberty
  • Hothead
  • Serious
  • All Along the Water
  • My Antarctica
  • First Impression
  • Read My Lips
  • Can You Deal With It
  • Venice Drowning
  • Downtown

How to turn in your homework:  Once you have completed your ranking and are ready to turn in your homework, you will need to head over to the Daily Duranie message board.  Specifically, you will post your homework in this thread here: Rank LIBERTY!.  Please note:  You may have to register for the boards in order to complete your assignment, if you are not already a member.    Of course, even after you post your assignment, you may want to go back to the thread in order to see others’ homework!  You can compare your homework to others as cheating does not exist for this assignment!

Your assignment is DUE by SUNDAY, JANUARY 10TH.

What is your assignment worth?  It is worth being a part of the larger fan community and having YOUR opinion count!  Besides, this is all just for FUN!!!  Another recommendation is not to think TOO MUCH!  Just go with your gut on how you rank the songs!

I will compile all of the results to determine how fans rank the songs off of Liberty.  From there, we will move on to the other albums.  Have fun!

-A

Duranie Homework: Rank BIG THING!

Last week, I asked people to rank the Notorious album from their least favorite song to their most favorite song.  I had a number of people participate (although I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have more)!  I now have the results!  Based on the participants’ responses, here is how the fan community ranked the songs off the first album from LEAST favorite to MOST favorite:

  1. So Misled
  2. Meet el Presidente
  3. American Science
  4. A Matter of Feeling
  5. Winter Marches On
  6. Proposition
  7. Hold Me
  8. Skin Trade
  9. Vertigo
  10. Notorious

Anything surprise you?  I was not surprised to see Vertigo near the top as it often ranks high in other polling and tasks we have done.  I was surprised to see Notorious at the top spot.  I was surprised to see Skin Trade as high as it was!  Now, I can’t just let people sit back and enjoy the results.  Oh no, we need to move on!  Here is your new homework assignment!!

Directions:  You will rank the songs off BIG THING from LEAST favorite to MOST favorite.  Please note:  In order to make your determination, you may need to re-listen to the album one or more times.

The songs that need to be included in your list are:

  • Big Thing
  • I Don’t Want Your Love
  • All She Wants Is
  • Too Late Marlene
  • Drug
  • Do You Believe in Shame
  • Palomino
  • Interlude One
  • Land
  • Flute Interlude
  • The Edge of America
  • Lake Shore Driving

How to turn in your homework:  Once you have completed your ranking and are ready to turn in your homework, you will need to head over to the Daily Duranie message board.  Specifically, you will post your homework in this thread here:  Rank BIG THING thread.  Please note:  You may have to register for the boards in order to complete your assignment, if you are not already a member.    Of course, even after you post your assignment, you may want to go back to the thread in order to see others’ homework!  You can compare your homework to others as cheating does not exist for this assignment!

Your assignment is DUE by SATURDAY, JANUARY 2nd.

What is your assignment worth?  It is worth being a part of the larger fan community and having YOUR opinion count!  Besides, this is all just for FUN!!!  Another recommendation is not to think TOO MUCH!  Just go with your gut on how you rank the songs!

I will compile all of the results to determine how fans rank the songs off of Big Thing.  From there, we will move on to the other albums.  Have fun!

-A