Tag Archives: Classic Pop Magazine

Classic Pop Special Edition: Top 40 Tracks and Elder Statesmen

I am continuing on in my series on Classic Pop magazine’s special edition for Duran’s 40th anniversary.  As usual, I’m going to focus on the next two articles:  Top 40 Tracks and Elder Statesmen.  The first one focuses on Duran’s songs whereas the second one takes a look at the 2000s, moving closer to present day Duran.  As much as I like reading about Duran history, I am excited about reading about more recent Duran, when I was more actively involved in the fan community.

Top 40 Greatest Duran Duran Tracks:

I am a sucker for lists like this article!  I love reading any and all articles about Duran’s best albums, best videos, etc.  I adore creating my own lists.

What is interesting about this list is that they first of all specified that they are studio tracks.  They did not include any live versions, remixes, or covers.  Then, the article states that this list “almost writes itself.”  Fascinating.  If that was not interesting itself, the author did not put them in order but instead chose to list them in chronological order.  I have to wonder why he did not put them in order from worst of the list to the best.  Too hard?  Too time consuming?  Too much risk that it would irritate readers?  I don’t know the reason.  While I won’t share the exact list here, I will give a rough description of how many tracks from different projects were chosen and then some that I might have been surprised by.

Duran Duran (1st album) – 5 tracks

Rio – 7 tracks

Seven and the Ragged Tiger – 6 or 7 tracks depending on how they might have been categorized

Notorious – 2 tracks

Big Thing – 3 tracks

Liberty – 2 tracks

The Wedding Album – 4 tracks

Medazzaland – 1 track

Pop Trash – 1 track

Astronaut – 1 track

Red Carpet Massacre – 0 (Although Skin Divers is listed as a “guilty pleasure.”)

All You Need Is Now – 4 tracks

Paper Gods – 3 tracks

In some ways, I’m not surprised by that list.  I knew that Medazzaland might not have many tracks included but I am surprised that it got more than Red Carpet Massacre.  Likewise, both All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods got more than Liberty and Notorious.  This leads me to wonder.  What 40 tracks would I list?  Could I put them in order unlike the author of this article?  Maybe it is time for some Daily Duranie homework.  What do you all think?  Should we each try to create a list of the top 40 Duran tracks?  If so, let me know and I’ll create the “assignment”!!  Personally, I think it would be fun and might give us something to do to pass Duran downtime.

Elder Statesmen:

This article summarizing the 2000s begins with the reunion.  Much of the story I have read about before.  Like many of the previous articles, however, there was a tidbit that I had not heard about before.  In this case, the article claims the band tried to get the Berrow Brothers back as managers.  If that is true, I have to wonder what would have been different.  What do you all think?  What do you think would have been different?  Would it have been better?  Worse?

Of course, the article went on to describe Astronaut and the departure of Andy Taylor.  I wondered how that was going to be covered and I think the author did a nice job just relaying the facts that are known.  Andy was not demonized and neither was the band. Likewise, the author remained neutral when it came to the now-shelved, Reportage, and the decision to start fresh, which eventually became Red Carpet Massacre.  Obviously, there are lots of rumors surrounding that time period but the author stayed clear of them all.

The article concludes with a description of the poor performance, commercially, of Red Carpet Massacre as well as the beginnings of the connection with Mark Ronson, which we know results in All You Need Is Now.  Besides the recent history lesson, the article has some extras, including a quote of Dom’s from a little blog we know and love.  (coughourscough)  It also summarizes the “key recordings” of each of the albums from the 2000s and the influence the band had on other modern day artists.  Personally, I love those little additions! They add so much!

Next week, I’ll cover Five Decades of Duran Duran and Boys on Film.  I’m looking forward to it!

-A

Classic Pop Special Edition: Notorious and A Life Less Ordinary

This is the next installment of my (now) series on Classic Pop Magazine’s Special Edition for Duran Duran’s 40th Anniversary.  This weekend I will give some thoughts about the last album from the 1980s that the magazine covered, Notorious, as well as the summary of the 1990s with an article, “A Life Less Ordinary.”  I’m anxious to compare the review of Notorious to the ones on Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  I also wonder about how the 1990s will be discussed.  Will it just be about the Wedding Album or will there be discussion on Thank You and Medazzaland?  What about the Liberty album?  Read on, people.

Notorious:

Like Seven and the Ragged Tiger, this was a much shorter review in comparison to the one on Rio.  There is no extra sections on some specific songs or the videos.  The only extras within the article are the track listing and information on the players.

Like other articles within the magazine, I like that the author placed the album in context, which includes the band’s history but also the larger world of the music business and beyond.  In this case, there is an acknowledgment that Live Aid shifted the music business in a significant way.  Perhaps, more interesting is how the article described the departure of Andy Taylor.  According to what was written here, Andy, at one point, wanted to legally stop the band from using the name, Duran Duran.  That is a new insight to me.  A Simon quote indicated that all the meetings with lawyers hurt their creative process.  (I can imagine it would be.)  Of course, there is a positive spin, which is that the situation bonded the three of them.  (Again, that makes sense to me.  I have experienced similar things with colleagues when under attack, so to speak.)

The author then discusses Nile Rodgers’s role within the album and mentions the addition of Warren Cuccurullo and Steve Ferrone.  What is interesting is that they are referred to as members rather than hired musicians, which is less than precise.  The last part of the review mentions how the album had not done nearly as well as the previous ones, chart wise, and how this disappointed John Taylor, in particular.

A Life Less Ordinary:

This article starts out focusing on Liberty, the band’s first album of the 1990s.  In it, there is mention of the poor chart performance, indicating that this led to the decision not to tour and even canceled videos for First Impression and Liberty.  Yet, that is all that is said about that album as the author quickly moved on to the Wedding Album.  While I understand the decision, I always feel like Liberty is brushed over more than it should be.

Interestingly enough, the author did mention what Andy and Roger did during the 1990s.  I was not expecting that at all but I cheer that. Fans and readers who don’t know what they were up to probably appreciate the heck out of now knowing.  Likewise, John Taylor’s marriage to Amanda de Cadenet and birth of his daughter was mentioned.  (Note that there was no coverage of Simon and Nick’s marriages and children.  Hmmm….)

The article did discuss Thank You to some extent including which songs they chose to cover and how it did in the charts.  Sigh.  I have to admit that I wish more was discussed there.  I like the stories about which songs they chose and why.  How come an album that should have been done quickly wasn’t?  Why did it do so poorly in the charts?  I would like more information there and less basic facts.

That said, there was a lot about various moments within that time period.  For example, some topics included were the Power Station reunion, John’s struggle with addiction, the appearance of Roger in 1995, John’s solo album and more.  Similarly, Neurotic Outsiders was covered in this section.  This makes me wonder even more about why TV Mania was listed in the side projects article about the 1980s.  Why wasn’t that project in the 1990s or even beyond that?  Weird.

In many ways, the most interesting part of the summary of the 1990s was the discussion surrounding Pop Trash.  In that part, the author talked about how Simon was just unhappy and did not come to the studio much.  According to the article, Nick now accepts that they should have waited for Simon to “pull himself together” as he was missing John, still hurting from the death of Michael Hutchence and more.  I don’t know much about all that but it also claims that Simon and Warren’s friendship had “deteriorated.”

Like many of the previous articles, I did learn a few new tidbits about the band, which I appreciate.  In some cases, I wish that they had covered more of one thing over another but generally well-rounded and informed.

-A

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?

-A

Classic Pop Special Edition Part 2: Rare Photos and Rio

I am finishing up my weekend by taking some precious time to go through and read more of the Classic Pop:  Special Edition for Duran Duran’s 40th anniversary.  Today, I will cover the Rare Photos and Rio album articles.

Rare Photos:

Apparently, this photos that are deemed “rare” came from Kings of the Dark Moon, by Justin Thomas, which is described as a candid photo book that focuses on the rise to fame.  I’m unfamiliar with this book.  Anyone know anything about it?  In looking at these 6 pages of photos, I notice that many of them have a familiar flavor to them.  It feels like I have seen other photos from the same time or place but not these specific ones.  No matter, I love seeing new (to me) photos of the band.  I suspect that this is a carry over from my childhood when I, like so many others, could not get enough pictures of Duran.  I remember trying to one up my friend by having a new picture that I could share with her.  It was like some sort of weird competition except that I don’t recall ever getting angry or annoyed by the results.  After all, we both benefitted by having new pictures to look at!

Classic Album – Rio:

This article obviously dived deep into the band’s second and arguably their most popular album, Rio.  It includes sections on the songs, the band members, the videos and more.  This is one album that I feel like I know a lot about so I wondered if I was going to learn anything new.  I cannot say that the article did have a lot of new information but it did a nice job of combining different sources to tell the story including interviews, John’s autobiography, and more.  I appreciated that they covered the context of recording (the band had just returned from the US), to the album cover, to the remixes, and to the videos.  It was nicely done and would be a great introduction to the album’s history.

The column about the songs on the Rio album was also nicely done.  Again, I’m not sure how much new information I learned but the author summarized what is known about the songs well.  It seems to me that each song has a fun fact included in the article.  For example, it mentions about how the beginning sound in Rio came from Nick throwing iron rods into a grand piano, played backwards.  I love those cool little bits of info!

The little blurbs on the band members were interesting and unlike what I was expecting.  I figured that they would be like how band members’ bios were written in the teen magazines I had read as a kid.  The bios would include family information, birthdates, how they got into music, etc.  These only really included information on influences, when they joined the band and their history within.  For example, Roger’s talked about when he left and when he returned.  What was interesting was Andy’s.  It mentioned that he left in 1986 but did not include any statement about how he returned for awhile during the reunion.  Weird.

The videos section highlighted some of the videos from the Rio album, including Hungry Like the Wolf, Save a Prayer, Rio and the Chauffeur.  I have to say that this section disappointed me the most.  Perhaps, I feel this way because I didn’t learn a whole lot new.  Plus, I disagreed with how the Rio video was interpreted, “Rio encapsulated everything that they were about…a glorious depiction of Eighties excesses:  girls, glamour, yachts, sunshine and fashion, all set to a high-octane soundtrack.”  I think that is what everyone thinks Rio is about.  Yet, I view that video completely differently.  I see a bunch of guys who should have no problem winning over a woman with their money, fashion, location, etc. but they end up falling on their faces as the woman is unimpressed no matter what they do.

Overall, though, this next section of the magazine was well-done.  I look forward to reading more (and reviewing more!).

-A

Classic Pop: Welcome and Conquering Planet Earth

Guess what came in the mail?!  That’s right.  My copy of the Classic Pop:  Duran Duran 40th Anniversary Edition magazine.  Right away, I can see that there is a LOT here as it is really over 100 pages.  Clearly, I won’t be able to read it all at once, not if I want to really take it in.  So, I will simply read one article at a time and discuss it then talk about the magazine as a whole.  After all, I can tell that the creators took time to worry about the details.  This can be easily seen because as soon as you open the magazine there are pictures of various album and single covers.  It reminds me, as a fan, about how much the band really has done.

Welcome:

I loved reading the welcome written by the editor.  Said to say that it is rare to read glowing words about Duran Duran outside of places like our blog or other fan creations.  Yet, this intro was all that and more.  Clearly, the editor views Duran as a band who has had adversity but has worked hard to be successful.  “They’ve marked out by a peerless flair for melodic songwriting as well as a remarkable resilience, digging in and clinging to their dreams when the naysayers foolishly try to write them off.”  Exactly.  Then, before the first article, the magazine acknowledges the graphic design and art used for the album and single covers.  I approve.

Conquering Planet Earth:

Initially, I assumed that this first big article would just be about the very early days but it goes all the way up through the 1980s.  Before I read the article, I did glance at the photos.  I assumed I had seen most of the Duran pictures before but I swear some of these images were new to me.  I love that!

The beginning part of the article focuses on the formation of the band and the Birmingham scene.  Nick is quoted in the article talking about how the Rum Runner was “more real” in comparison to the London scene due to the Berrow brothers bringing music from the States and with the look of the club with mirror tiles and neon.  That said, I’m not sure that they got the history totally right.  I think the list of people is accurate but I’m not sure things happened in the order that they are listed, specifically around the topic of lead singer.  For example, it sounds like Andy was in the band a long time before Simon and I don’t think that is true.

One aspect of the article that I found interesting was how the videos were described.  First, it implied that the reason to use video was because the band had five good looking guys.  While that is true. they also could send videos to places that were hard to get to like Australia, which the article leaves out.  That said, they  do state that the Girls on Film video might have objectified women but other videos objectified them like the Rio video.  Hmm…

Of course, the band’s success was featured as well.  The author commented that the band members’ private lives were quickly impacted by all of the fans and attention.  Now, artists would be able to post a picture or tweet to appease their fans but then they couldn’t, resulting in fans following the band everywhere, claims the author.  Interesting.  I don’t know if I agree with that idea.  Would a picture or a tweet really satisfy fans then?  I think a lot of fans would have just wanted more and more and more.  What do the rest of you think?  Would that have eased the frenzy?

Overall, I think the article did a nice job summarizing the 1980s.  I appreciate that it included some of the late 80s as too often that part of Duran’s history gets ignored or glossed over.  I also liked that the interpretation on issues like fame made me think.  Lastly, the little touches made it extra special.  For example, the article covered four tracks more deeply to show the range of Duran’s work.  I liked that and the fun little facts written in tiny writing on the side.  The magazine did not waste space!

Now, I cannot wait to have a chance to dive deep into the rest!

-A

Classic Pop Special Edition

I have to admit that this summer has not been my happiest.  I won’t go into details about why but there has been little fun and a lot of time feeling pretty lonely.  As I explain to myself that this is temporary, I also seek out little joys, things that give me something to look forward to or provide me a few minutes of escape.  Typically, the little joys include trying to make plans with friends, even if it is just for coffee, drinks or dinner.  Another method I use is to shop.  Now that only works if I don’t need to worry about money and what I’m buying is actually something I want.  I’m not someone who can just hit the mall, buy a lot of stuff and feel better.  Nope.  The shopping therapy only works with something that I would long for.  This summer, frankly, has had little of that, too, unfortunately.  My bank account is happy but I remain in the funk.  Then, finally, something caught my attention!!

Who has heard of the magazine, Classic Pop?  Wikipedia describes it as a British music magazine.  Over the years, I have enjoyed it as it typically covers a lot of artists from the 1980s.  This means, of course, that Duran has been included, time-to-time.  Does this mean that Duran is in the latest edition or something?  Oh, it is more than that!  Way more than that!

Classic Pop is celebrating the band’s 40th anniversary with a special edition!  Well then!  What does this include exactly?  According to the magazine’s website, this includes the following:

“Inside, we explore the band’s roots in the New Romantic movement and take an in-depth look at their phenomenal success in the Eighties when they defined the decade with a string ofchart-topping hits across the globe.  We also tell the story of their critical and commercial rebirth in the Nineties and bring things bang up-to-date with the band fully enshrined as elder statesmen of pop.  Elsewhere, we profile the band’s best albums including the timeless Rio, Seven And The Ragged Tiger and Notorious plus we look through the lens at their blockbuster videos that shaped the MTV generation.  We also hear from the band themselves through numerous archive interviews as well as a rare chat with former member Stephen Duffy. For your ultimate Duran Duran playlist, Classic Pop serves up the band’s Top 40 greatest songs.”

I didn’t need to read more.  The description sold me in the first sentence.  Did I also mention that it is 132 pages?!  Double sold!  So, how much is this going to cost me, I wonder, as I discover that there are choices!  Oh no!  Choices?!  Now, I’m suddenly feeling a bit overwhelmed.  What are the five choices?

Choice 1:  Collector’s Bundle

Apparently, this special edition has two different covers.  One is a 1980s cover and one includes a modern day picture.  The collector’s bundle includes two copies, one of each cover.  On top of that, you get 4 art cards.  This packages costs $42.98 if in the U.S. or Canada and can be purchased here.

Choice 2:  Cover 2 Fan Pack

This package includes a copy of the magazine with the modern day picture and the 4 arts cards.  This costs $27.99 in the U.S. or Canada. Click here to buy.

Choice 3:  Cover 1 Fan Pack

This is exactly like choice 2 except the cover includes the classic 1980s picture and can be bought here.

Choice 4:  Cover 2

This choice is just the magazine itself.  In this case, it has the modern day band picture.  It is $15.99 for those in the U.S. and Canada and can be bought here.

Choice 5:  Cover 1

This is just like choice 4 with the 1980s picture on the cover instead, which can be bought here.

Now, it should surprise no one that I indeed made a purchase.  I have no idea how quickly this will arrive to my doorstep.  That said, I promise that once it is in my hot little hands I will be covering it here by sharing my thoughts about the magazine as a whole and the various articles.  What about the rest of you?  Who has purchased a copy?  Which one did you get?

-A

Fame and Fans

This blog, generally, focuses on fans and fandom.  While we certainly talk about Duran Duran, it is from the fans’ point of view.  We rarely take the time to really think about what it must be like to be Duran Duran or anyone else famous.  Yet, I started to think a bit more lately about what fame and having fans must really be like.

I spent about a week, over the holidays, at my sister’s.  My sister is a mom to two teenage girls and one night they wanted to watch a movie with just the “girls” (my mom, my sister, my nieces and myself).  What movie was chosen?  It is one my niece got for Christmas called Beyond the Lights.  I had never heard of it before but I was open to it as it dealt with a fictional famous singer.  You can watch the trailer here to get an idea of what it is about:

As you can tell from the trailer, this famous singer is not a happy person.  She clearly isn’t thrilled with her lifestyle or her fame and is looking for someone to “really see her”.  As I watched the movie, I found myself thinking about the members of Duran Duran.  This character is frustrated by not being able to make her own choices but always doing, wearing, speaking whatever that will maintain or grow her fame.  She feels that she is not understood at all and that thousands feel like they “know” her, but no one really does.  They only know the image, not the real person.

I have to wonder if this is how the members of Duran have felt or do feel.  Do they feel controlled by others?  Do they feel trapped by their fame?  Do they feel like no one really understands or really knows them?  This reminded me of an article from Classic Pop Magazine that I recently read about Duran Duran.  In this article, the band’s success and fame was addressed.  Nick mentioned that, “It felt out of control on a nightly basis…It’s quite bizarre when you’re a prisoner of your own world.”  Wow.  It is interesting that he chose that word of “prisoner”.  Then, he related a story in which he was at a charity dinner with Justin Bieber and how Justin was never left alone even when he was eating!

This, of course, brought me right back to fans.  While I definitely understand the desire for pictures and autographs (and have certainly asked for some myself!), I do wonder if fans add to this feeling of being trapped that Nick talked about or how the movie showed.  Simon addresses this issue a bit further in that same article by talking about selfies by stating, “Selfies are the new autograph.  I don’t mind an autograph…they’re much quicker to do and feel less intrusive.  But people freak out when you say ‘no’ to a selfie.”  Does Simon or any other famous people have the right to say no without having people freak out on them?  I think most of us would say yes.  Yet, I know the argument that many fans have.  Simon and company CHOSE to become and stay famous.  On top of that, the fans are what brought their success; fans made the people famous.  Therefore, shouldn’t fans have the right to expect an autograph or a selfie?

I suspect that the best answer lies somewhere in between the never giving autographs/selfies and the always giving autographs/selfies.  I am not surprised if many/most famous people have some sort of limit about when and where they are willing to give autographs/selfies.  Simon even mentioned in that article that he would never do a selfie when he is eating.  Then, I think that fans should respect those limits.  We often ask the famous people to think about what it must be like for the fans and how the fans should be treated but it is probably good for fans to think about what life must be like for famous people.  It must not always be fun or easy to be famous or to have fans.  It seems to me that everyone (both famous people and fans) should try to be a bit more empathetic towards the other.

-A