Tag Archives: Blondie

Thank You, You’re Welcome (Part Two)

Having “covered” who would do some amazing Duran Duran songs in Part 1, I’m ready to take a deep breath and assess Thank You. Was it the worst album of all-time as some snarky critics have said? Of course not. Something called nu-metal locked down the top spots years ago. However, it was a misguided album born from good intentions. Let’s try to figure out what went wrong.  

David Bowie’s Pin Ups seems to be the logical impetus for this project given the song choices. Bowie’s decision to cover The Yardbirds, Pink Floyd, and The Who was unexpected and Bowie knew that. Coming off Aladdin Sane, Bowie was at the peak of his creative powers and Pin Ups remains one of the most challenging and rewarding covers albums of all-time. It isn’t a stretch to think a band which emerged from the New Romantic scene born, at least partially, from Bowie’s artistic vision would try to emulate the project. 

Duran Duran were riding high after “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone”, so they had some creative and commercial freedom when they undertook Thank You. History has shown that the band often does their least interesting work in such situations. From Seven & the Ragged Tiger (saved commercially by a remix of “The Reflex” that wasn’t on the album) to Paper Gods, the band’s follow-up to a truly special album has been uneven at best. Thank You falls into that category but imagine what could have been if they took a slightly different path. 

Thank You Redux

1. Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel – White Lines

Such a fun cover that it has to stay. The band’s roots in NYC club culture via Birmingham justify this crossover into hip-hop. They could have taken this somewhere special, though, if they had paid respect to Liquid Liquid’s “Cavern” at the same time since that is where Melle Mel “borrowed” the song from.

2. I Wanna Take You Higher David Bowie – Fashion

As much as “Ashes to Ashes” makes sense, “Fashion” would be a more fitting Duran Duran song. John Taylor’s bass guitar would suit this track and Warren’s guitar playing fits the solo like a glove. You HAVE to have at least one Bowie song on the album, right?

3. Lou Reed – Perfect Day

A surprisingly well conceived cover of Lou Reed that pays homage without trying to change who they are as a band. It has a beautiful polished sound and LeBon’s vocal works. There is a hint of despair in his voice and the production keeps every instrument in their lane. There is restraint in the playing that would have served the band on the rest of the album. 

4. Watching the Detectives Roxy Music – Both Ends Burning

Another field day for John Taylor on bass and an appropriate nod to one of the biggest influences on Duran Duran in Roxy Music. All these years later, Duran are inducting Roxy Music into the rock-n-roll hall of fame because the connection is so strong. If you listen to “Planet Earth”, you can hear some influence from this song on Siren. A lesser known Roxy song works well here because the most popular stuff would be difficult for Duran Duran to re-invent in a unique way.

5. Lay Lady Lay New York Dolls – Lonely Planet Boy

I never hated this cover but the guitar tone was “Come Undone” all over again. Dylan influenced everyone so there is no need to point it out. I’m leaving T. Rex out of the discussion since the band (i.e. Nick) would have never allowed them to cover it in the wake of The Power Station. This New York Dolls song is begging to be turned into a synth-pop dance song like Duran pulled off with Bowie’s “Boys Keep Swinging”. 

6. 911 Is A Joke Blondie – Fade Away and Radiate

Yeah, it is cool to namecheck Public Enemy to earn hipster points but no, just no. The band owes a huge debt to Blondie for bringing dance music into punk and for giving the band a support slot when Duran Duran were trying to crack America. This moody track from Parallel Lines has enough texture to satisfy Nick and Warren in equal measure. And why not bring in Clem Burke on drums for this cover? 

7. Iggy Pop – Success

It works. Only Duran Duran could turn an Iggy Pop song into a Gary Glitter stomp. Given the band’s commercial highs and lows, it could almost be the theme song for their career. Turn it up!

8. Crystal Ship The Normal – Warm Leatherette

The band already showed how good this sounded during a tour and this is the most seminal track in the history of synth-pop. The Doors cover sounded like a cloud of pot smoke which isn’t the Duran Duran way. Bonus connection: Grace Jones covered this once.

9. Ball of Confusion Japan – Gentlemen Take Polaroids

Let’s see. Nick Rhodes “borrowed” his look from Japan’s David Sylvan. The Japan albums were a direct precursor to Duran Duran’s sound with funky bass lines and sweeping synths.  And, best of all, this cover would be a cheeky nod to “Girls On Film” which, for all I know, was a concept lifted from this Japan song. Too close to home? Perhaps, but Duran Duran earned their success and a little nod to Japan is warranted.

10. Thank You Sister Sledge – Lost In Music

Don’t touch Zeppelin. Every instrument in Zeppelin comes from the opposite place of Duran Duran. There has to be a shout-out to Nile Rodgers somewhere on Thank You Redux and I think “Lost In Music” would keep the band in a safe place for a disco cover. This could be played loud with a hint of the “White Lines” sound they had at this time. Turn it into a real rocker without losing the dance vibe. It would be dangerously fun live. 

11. Drive By

It doesn’t fit into a covers album and I need to save space so this album will fit on vinyl. 

12. I Wanna Take You Higher Again ESG – My Love For You

Maybe a little obscure at the time but ESG’s influence has come full circle in music. They have been sampled (mostly illegally) by hundreds of rap producers and their funky dance sound influenced everything from post-punk to house music. Rather than Public Enemy, Duran Duran can point to ESG as an influential band on their modern mix of funk, rock, and dance music without sounding so desperate. Duran Duran could have a lot of fun with this track especially if Nick added some melodic synths over the melody

Duran Duran History: Opening for Blondie

If you look at Duran’s tour history, you might see that during this time in early August in 1982, they were opening up for Blondie.  In fact, during the tour, they played such places as Rockford, Illinois, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  That makes me laugh.  Neither one of those places are super exciting.  I suspect that they might have been the only times they played in these very small cities.  This makes me think, though.  What did Duran Duran think of those places?  Did this tour help Duran win any fans?  What about the bands and artists who have opened for Duran?  Have they earned any new fans that way?

So, in thinking about these shows in Rockford and Cedar Rapids, I have to laugh.  I’m pretty familiar with both places after having grown up in Illinois and visiting Iowa a number of times when my siblings attended college or graduate school there.  I don’t think it would be wrong of me to say that they are not super hip.  Rockford has less than 150,000 people and Cedar Rapids has about 130,000.  They are not know to be musical meccas now and probably not even in 1982.  Yet, Blondie decided to go to these places.  Okay.  Interesting choices considering that Chicago isn’t that far away, neither is Milwaukee or even Des Moines.  Both of these cities are surrounded by farmland and a heck of a lot of corn.  I seriously wish that I was a fly on the wall in Duran’s tour bus at the time.  What did they think?  This makes me wonder about other weird places Duran has played over the years.  What is the weirdest place you know that Duran played?  I would like to know what could possibly beat or equal these Midwestern “cities”.

More importantly, I suppose, then the locations is whether or not this tour really did any good for Duran, in terms of winning over fans.  Now, I know that a lot of books and documentaries have covered the rise of the band and how they became successful.  Many times, this tour is mentioned but did it really do its job for them?  I think many Duran historians and music historians, for that matter, believe that the introduction of MTV and the use of video did a lot to get Duran fans.  Some might claim that opening for Hazel O’Connor was super important as that is where record labels first heard and saw them.  It is where they got signed to EMI.  Still, others might mention meeting the Berrow brothers at the Rum Runner as being super important to Duran’s future success but the Blondie tour?  I’m not sure.  Of course, I doubt there are statistics out there that can directly measure the number of fans before and after opening for Blondie.  I also recognize that there aren’t direct lines between events.  The Blondie tour might have opened up some doors which led to even more doors, which eventually brought commercial success.  What do you all think?  Did this tour matter to the band’s success?

Then, I flip it around to ponder whether or not Duran helped other bands reach success by having them as an opener.  In 2005, if anyone would have asked me, I would have said that the band’s opener then, Clear Static, would definitely find success.  Years later, obviously, that isn’t true.  Of course, they have also had bands who are already successful themselves like  Chic.  This makes me think of the fans.  While I think it is cool to see a new band with a lot of potential play, I love seeing a fabulous opener that is already known to me like Chic.  What about the rest of you?  Who have you seen as an opener who you thought would really make it?  Who did make it?  Who have been some great openers for shows you have attended?

-A

Duran Duran will grace the sand in 2019 for KAABOO Cayman!

Anybody up for a trip to the Cayman Islands next February?

raises hand

Am I the only married fan who sent their husband or wife a text like this yesterday morning?

“Hey, want to book a trip to the Cayman Islands for next Valentines Day?  We need a vacation, and we’re DEFINITELY going to need one after this move!”

waits anxiously for response

still waiting

He’s very slow at texting. I don’t care that he’s at work. This is important!

“Why? Is Duran Duran playing???”

DAMMIT!

I didn’t even bother answering after that. He knows too much. The thing is, it isn’t as though I’d never suggest going to the Caribbean. We’ve been to Grand Cayman at least twice that I can remember, both times on cruises, and we’ve always said we should go back and stay. Why not while the band is playing the KAABOO Festival on Seven Mile Beach??

For those who have actually been focused on work or whatever it is you do all day lately – the lineup for KAABOO Fest in the Cayman Islands was announced yesterday morning. I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw that Duran Duran is headlining along with the Chainsmokers. Several other recognizable bands will grace the sand alongside our favorites, including Blondie and English Beat. I think it will be a blast for anyone lucky enough to be in attendance.

At this point, the chances of me getting there are slim, unless I sprout wings and fly. With a major move coming up, and still having a small(ish) child living at home, getting away is going to become quite a rare luxury, particularly once we’ve left So Cal. I’d love to call it a girls’ trip and run away for several days, but just as there was no way I was getting to Hawaii, I’m pretty sure the same holds true for the Cayman Islands, sadly.

For those who are feeling a little antsy for a local Duran date—no matter where you are in the world—seeing the news of KAABOO either gives you a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe they’ll announce something near you, or it reminds you that no, they still haven’t made it to your slice of the globe.

In the meantime, I’m going to go get myself a lottery ticket. Can’t win if you don’t play! Who knows, maybe I’ll make it to KAABOO!

-R

 

How Many Shows of the Blondie Support Tour (August 2 – August 21, 1982) Did You Attend?

This week, in the continuing series about Duran tour participation, I am asking about their tour to support the band, Blondie.  This tour took place between August 2 and August 21, 1982 and separated the band’s Rio Tour into two parts.  This tour took place in the US and Canada.  As always, I refer you to the band’s official website for all the specific dates and locations, which you can see here.

If you missed any of the previous polls about other more tours, the links can be found below:

Rio Part 2 and 83 One Off Shows (September 23, 1982 to July 23, 1983)

Sing Blue Silver (November 12, 1983 to April 17, 1984)

The Strange Behaviour Tour (March 16, 1987 to August 10, 1987)

David Bowie’s Glass Spider Tour (August 12, 1987 to January 15, 1988)

Nine City Caravan Tour (October 19 to November 4, 1988)

Big Live Tour (November 11, 1988 to March 4, 1989)

Big Electric Theatre Tour (March 10, 1989 to April 26, 1989)

June 30, 1989 to February 21, 1993 dates

The first half of the Dilate Your Mind Tour (March 4, 1993 to May 9, 1993)

No Ordinary Tour (May 13, 1993 to December 10, 1993)

The second half of the Dilate Your Mind Tour (December 1993 to April 1994

The Thank You Tour (February 1995 to May 1995)

The Radio Festival Tour (May 1995 to November 1997)

The Ultra Chrome Latex and Steel Tour (Nov. 1997 to Oct. 1998)

The Latest and Greatest Tour (Dec. 1998)

Let It Flow Tour (Aug. to Oct. 1999)

Overnight Sensation Tour (Dec. 1999 to July 2000)

Pop Trash Tour (July 2000 to Feb. 2001)

The Up Close and Personal Tour (Feb. 2001 to June 2001)

The Reunion Tour (July 2003 to Dec. 2004)

The Astronaut Tour (Jan. 2005 to July 2007)

The Red Carpet Massacre Tour (Oct. 2007 to Oct. 2010)

All You Need Is Now Tour (Feb. 2011 to Aug. 2012)

How Old Were You When You First Saw Duran Live?

Which Tour Did You See Duran Play for the First Time?

Today in Duran History – Blondie

On today’s date in 1982 (a very long time ago, indeed…) Duran Duran opened for Blondie and played at the Starlight Amphitheater in Kansas City, Missouri.  This was part of a series of dates where the band opened for Blondie in between dates on the Rio tour.

In 1982 I wasn’t even allowed to cross the street in front of my house alone, much less go to a rock concert….how many of you were at this show?!?

-R

 

 

 

Today in Duran History – Blondie Support

On this date in 1982, Duran Duran opened for Blondie at the Starlight Amphitheater in Kansas City.  This was the first show that they opened for Blondie.  This tour featured 13 shows and took place in the US and Canada.  Their participation on this tour meant that the Rio Tour was split into two parts, that Duran’s tour was put on hold.

Looking back, do you think this was a good career move on their part or do you think they would have been just as or more successful on their own?  What do you think, Duranies???

-A