Tag Archives: Duran Duran 40th Anniversary

Happy 40th Anniversary to the Fab Five!

If there was ever a day where I should wake up already knowing what in the heck I’m going to write about, it should be today…and I do.

Forty years ago today, there was this band who played their first show at the Rum Runner that included the full line-up whom most of us have come to know as the Fab Five: Simon, John, Roger, Nick & Andy.

I’ve been waiting patiently all year to write that very sentence. I thought I’d be doing so many things this summer to celebrate, such as in the UK, for one. Definitely thought I’d be seeing shows, or at the very least, hanging out with Amanda. I mean, how often does one get a chance to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a favorite band??

Simon said as much in a interview included in the UK based-magazine, Classic Pop, which circulated the internet yesterday. “I think 40 years is quite a landmark for a band, you are going some if you an make it 10 years now.”

Life has dealt a very different hand, for the entire planet. There will be no concerts, no in-person celebrating, or gathering. I see no reason why we can’t at least spread some joy online. This is one milestone that at least deserves smiles. As I sit here trying not to think about how and when I might travel overseas again, I’m grateful I still have this band to keep my spirits up.

I wish I could say that I was one of the souls in that audience at the Rum Runner on the 16th of July, 1980. When I first heard Duran Duran on the radio, I felt like molten gold was flowing through my veins. I wonder if I would have felt like that if I’d been in the crowd that first night? Then again, I’m not wishing for more years on this already-pushing-fifty body of mine. I wasn’t even quite ten when the band played at the Rum Runner!

Articles such as the one posted yesterday, give me a little bit of excitement and joy for what lies ahead. While I’m curious about the sound, as always (aren’t we all?)—Simon describes it as “naked, raw, the grass is slightly sharp and twinkly rather than smooth”, my interest is very much in the lyrics. “It’s modern and very honest, the lyrics are quite something. I won’t be doing a lot of talking about the lyrics because they really speak for themselves.”

He knows exactly what to say in order to get the attention of THIS fan, that is for sure. Momentarily, I even forget we’re in the middle of a pandemic and actually allow myself to think about the time – that glorious, stupendous evening – when this band is finally allowed to play a show again. When *we* are allowed to be together again. Can you imagine? Planet Roaring immediately comes to mind.

Who could have foretold that the band’s 40th anniversary would fall during a pandemic? In some ways, it is the type of irony that could only happen to Duran Duran. This band is truly like the Phoenix, and I have little doubt they’ll rise above the ashes post-Covid. In others, I just shake my head.

This post is supposed to be happy, although I find it to be a bit on the bittersweet side, at least for me. So, I’ll end it on a better, more nostalgic and personal sort of note.

Happy anniversary, Duran Duran. I feel as though I’ve been with you since nearly the beginning – at least since your music made it here to a little radio station named KROQ in Los Angeles. Since the moment I first heard the opening chords to Planet Earth, I feel as though you’ve always been in the background of my life in some way or another. Oddly, I never saw this ending with me writing about you, or about being your fan every day…but you know, who can really predict crazy things like this?

I have a lot to be thankful for. Your music not only got me through school, but also through a lot of my life. I can pinpoint songs and albums that coincide with precise lifetime milestones of mine, and I count myself very lucky to say that I really did have you to grow up with, and…grow older with. Not many people can say that about their favorite band, that is for certain.

Not only has your music been my soundtrack, but it has also been the force that has brought me to some of my closest friends, and favorite people, on the planet.

I hope to never forget the memories I have of going to my very first convention in New Orleans: the devil horns, the vibrant hue of Jessica’s red hair when she first opened the door to our shared hotel room that weekend, the utter joy I felt sitting at the table with new friends over dinner, and the sheer peace I finally felt knowing that I really did belong. Thankfully, the video of Amanda and I, along with many others, singing to Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf at Howl at the Moon has never surfaced….

I met my best friend that night, too. No one really understands Amanda and I, our friendship, or how we’ve remained friends this long. I just know I don’t question it. We are forever linked as a direct result of this band, and that is something I can’t ever express enough thanks for. Luck, indeed.

As I sit back and think on the nearly 17 years I’ve known Amanda, it isn’t where we’ve traveled, or what or whom we’ve seen, that my mind drifts off to first. I think about those lengthy car trips where we talked for hours, or the way that she and I pretty much know how one another will respond to one thing or another. I would have never ran into Amanda if it hadn’t been for Duran Duran. It is crazy, and if I could hug those guys for anything – it would be that.

The one constant I’ve had in my life over the past (nearly) 40 years has been this band. They’ve been with me through middle school bullying, high school boyfriends, college breakups, marriage, moving, childbirth (x 3…can’t forget that last one in 2008!), the death of a parent, high school and college graduations for my kids, a major move to the country, a global pandemic (really?? I mean… come ON!!), many milestone birthdays, and nearly losing my husband to a stroke. Duran Duran lives on, and so do I.

It’s early for a cocktail, and I’m not with Amanda to do this correctly anyway – but I’ll hold up my coffee mug in a toast to all: band, DDHQ, and everyone else on the band’s team (that includes pretty much everyone reading, I think). Congratulations. Don’t be afraid to mark this milestone, because you’ve outlived a lot of other bands, and critics that said you wouldn’t make it. You did, with style, grace, and fortitude, beyond measure. Happy 40th Anniversary.

-R

Whole Album Preference

On this date, in 2007, twelve years ago, I saw Duran Duran play in New York City. What made this particular show so memorable was the fact that the show took place on Broadway. For those who weren’t around or don’t remember, Duran Duran had a rather unique promotional plan for the album released that year, Red Carpet Massacre. This included doing a small run on Broadway in which case they played the whole album before doing an electro set and finishing up with a mini-classic Duran show. While I cannot say that this was my favorite show experience, it was a special one for the performance. Looking back, it felt like a long show and the setlist proves it:

The Valley 
Red Carpet Massacre 
Nite-Runner 
Falling Down 
Box Full o’Honey 
Skin Divers 
Tempted 
Tricked Out 
Zoom In 
She’s Too Much 
Dirty Great Monster 
Last Man Standing 

INTERVAL 

Electro Set 

Showroom Dummies 
Last Chance on the Stairway 
All She Wants Is 
Warm Leatherette 
I Don’t Want Your Love 
Skin Trade 
******************** 
Notorious 
Reflex 
I Take The Dice 
Ordinary World 
Planet Earth 
View To A Kill 
Sunrise 
************* 
Girls On Film

That’s 26 songs! In fairness to more recent shows, some of these songs were not played in entirety but still. On top of a really long show, I loved hearing/seeing a whole album played in order. While RCM is not my favorite album, seeing them perform each track made me appreciate the album more and helped me to connect with some songs. Then, there was the electro set, which was simply amazing. The electro set featured the four band members at the front of the stage using keyboards to play more electronic versions of some tracks. To this day, I am still beyond thankful that I got to see it. All of that was then capped off with a bunch of hits that most in the audience would know and love.

Now that I’m thinking about this show, I would really love if the band wanted to do something similar to this…say next year for their 40th with three sets (whole album, electro set, others). The big question then is which album should they cover? In the case of the show I went to in 2007, they played their newest album. If we were lucky enough to get a new album next year, I think it would be very cool to hear the entire album from beginning to end. But what if there was not a new album? What then? I know that many, many fans would love to hear Rio in entirety. I get that feeling since it is a classic one and that is album that won many fans over. For me, I wouldn’t reject it. I know that I have heard each song off of Rio live but definitely not in order. That said, I’m not sure I would choose it over others.

I think if I had to choose one album to listen to live from start to finish, I might pick the first one. To me, it is where the story starts, which would be particularly cool for the 40th anniversary. Then, the final set could include songs from each of the rest of the albums. To me, that would be a super cool way to celebrate the band’s history. The show, then, would capture the complete story. Here’s another idea. What if the next album was released in 2020? Maybe then, start with the first album. Have the electro set feature hits from Rio onward until the last set, which would focus on the last album. Then, it really would be the entire history, of sorts.

What do the rest of you think? Which album would you love to see/hear live in entirety? What if the band set up a show like they did those on Broadway? How would you like to see it done?

-A

Like Never Seen Before: Duran Duran DVDs

I have been enjoying the recent set of questions of the day. I originally started the set by asking about who owns what album and in which format. This started because I was curious about what I have always suspected, which is that there are a number of fans who don’t own certain albums (Medazzaland, Pop Trash, etc.) Then, I also wondered about how Duranies consume their music. Much of what I suspected proved true through the daily surveys. Soon enough, though, I began to be curious about videos and various DVDs released over the years. This led me to find a complete listing of videos released over the years. Many of these I could have listed myself but others I have forgotten about. Here’s the list:

  • Duran Duran Video Compilation (1983)
  • Duran Duran Video 45 (1984)
  • Dancing on the Valentine (1984)
  • As the Lights Go Down (1984)
  • Sing Blue Silver (1984)
  • Arena (An Absurd Notion) (1984)
  • Three to Get Ready (1987)
  • Working for the Skin Trade (1988)
  • 6ix by 3hree (1988)
  • Decade (1989)
  • Extraordinary World (1993)
  • Greatest (1998)
  • Live from London (2005)
  • Classic Album: Rio (2008)
  • Live at Hammersmith ’82! (2010)
  • A Diamond in the Mind (2012)

As I look at the list, I have some observations and also more that I want to know from our fan community. I notice that the number of DVDs released has slowed way down compared to the 80s. I understand this. After all, there are other means for fans to watch various media featuring the band. That said, the very last video compilation was Greatest in 1998. There have been a lot of videos released since then: Someone Else Not Me, Sunrise, What Happens Tomorrow, Falling Down, All You Need Is Now, Girl Panic, Pressure Off and Last Night in the City. Would fans like a DVD with all of these, even though they are available online? I can only speak for myself and say that I would. While I can pull these videos up online, I would love to be able to easily see them all at once. Plus, I’m sure that the band would do amazing things with packaging. Perhaps, another idea would be for the band to do a complete video DVD with all videos. Wouldn’t that be cool for the 40th anniversary?

What about live videos? How many of those have there been? There have been 5 of those covering these tours: Rio Tour of 1982, Sing Blue Silver Tour of 1984, Strange Behaviour Tour of 1987, Reunion Tour of 2004, and the All You Need Is Now Tour of 2011. Honestly, I wish there were more, lots more. This leads me to another idea. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a DVD that features live clips of every tour? I cannot imagine that the band wouldn’t have footage of every tour somewhere in their archive. Maybe this could be a way to showcase how awesome they are live. That would be a cool set of questions I could ask, too. What song should be included for each tour, if we can only pick one song per tour? Or if we cannot get a DVD focused on each tour, maybe, we could pick one more tour to have a live show for. Would we want a DVD of Paper Gods like we have heard as a possibility or something else? Maybe a show from the Wedding Album, for example? The first tour?

The last set of DVDs are documentaries or behind the scenes footage. The most well-known is Sing Blue Silver but many fans mentioned how much they loved Three to Get Ready after asking about it on the question of the day. Extraordinary World is hard to come by as it was not available on regular DVD, at least not in the States. Maybe they could re-release that one. What about more documentaries in the same vein as Classic Albums: Rio, where the band explains each of the tracks? Which album would you want covered that like? Of course, there were some documentaries as part of other DVDs. For example, there was a documentary attached to Live from London. Is that enough to cover the reunion or would we want more? Would we want a documentary about a different era than 1984, 1987 and 2004? I think yes. What other footage exists that could be turned into a documentary? Could we get a documentary about the 40th anniversary?

In thinking about the DVDs that already exist makes me want more. I want more videos, more live shows, more documentaries, more of everything. I cannot be the only one, right? It also gets me to think of other questions that could be asked with the questions of the day. On that note, I might just have to put on one of the DVDs that already exists. Happy viewing to me!

-A

A Chance to Find the Phoenix for the Flame

My colleagues and I use a framework at work called “Thinking Like a Historian” in setting up our lessons for United States History. Part of this framework includes asking students to do a variety of tasks in order to reach complete understanding. For example, they have to analyze events by looking at cause and effect. Another means of reaching understanding might be by asking the question, “What if?” I particularly like this one. What if the South won the Civil War? What if women didn’t get the right to vote through the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920? What if Stalin let the Soviet Union’s military back off in World War II? As you can imagine, the questions are limitless. Part of the fun is that there is no right or wrong answer. The answer is always a guess.

Obviously, the fun could be expanded beyond history but even to Duran Duran and the band’s history. What if MTV wasn’t around? What if the band decided not to go with teen magazines? What if the band didn’t reunite? Now, typically, this question applies to past events but we could apply it to the future as well. So, here is the question I pose. What if the band does not do anything for the 40th Anniversary? Now, before you all freak out, I am not asking this because I have some insider info that the band is not planning to do anything. I have no clue what they are going to do or not do. I am just asking the question to determine how much this celebration really matters.

I haven’t really thought much about the 40th Anniversary. Yes, I heard some fans starting to groan in 2018. For them, they assumed that 2018 was the date of the anniversary since the band formed in 1978. Heck, the band used to have t-shirts that said 1978 as a means of honoring their history. Those fans wondered why the band wasn’t doing anything in 2018. They felt that the band was missing an opportunity there. I cannot say that I was one of those fans even though I got where they were coming from. Maybe, I didn’t sweat it because I was so busy in 2018 with the Midterms. I also understood why the band might celebrate 1980 instead of 1978 since that was when Simon joined the band. So, I didn’t worry too much. I assumed that it might be 2020 before we saw some sort of celebration.

Since I figured that I would have a couple of years before any sort of announcement of shows or events, I just quietly started to save and talk some general ideas of participating with Rhonda. I won’t lie in saying that I have been saving money in hopes of making it back to the UK in 2020, assuming that there would be something amazing happening there. This idea appeals to me greatly. I would love to take a big trip with Rhonda. It has been far too long. On top of that, I really do love the UK and would love to see my friends there. But what if it doesn’t happen?

Would I be disappointed if there is no big party in the UK in 2020? Yes. Would I be sad if there was no celebration at all? Of course. I think most fans would. What are some of the reasons to be sad? First, I suspect that fans want to have something to push the band to do something really cool. People want something beyond just creating new music or headlining a few festivals (not that those aren’t cool). Obviously, a big anniversary would do that. After all, we have all learned the usual pattern. The band goes into the studio and creates new music. Often, this process takes years. Then, the band promotes the new music. They do it, first, through interviews and performances on TV before otherwise before hitting the road. Those concerts are filled with many of the new songs before the process starts over. Duranies know this pattern, get it and even like it. We all get excited by the new music and we definitely get thrilled with any sort of touring. But I think fans would like something more or different and an anniversary could provide the reason for it.

What do I mean by saying something different or special? I’m not even sure. Maybe it could include special releases or unreleased tracks. Perhaps, it would be special shows or a residency. I could see some special events beyond typical concerts. No matter the form, I think that fans want to see something. I think Duranies want to really celebrate Duran Duran. After all, this band means a lot to people. Maybe this would be a chance to really show how much.

On top of that, not doing something would definitely feel like a lost opportunity beyond the fans. Would the anniversary and everything that could come with it create some publicity? Some attention? I would think so. Then, how much money could those things bring in? Not only would the diehard fans buy but I could see other people who might have liked the band at one point purchasing as well. Could that bring people back into the fandom?

So, it seems to me that the answer to the question, “What if Duran does not do anything for the anniversary?” is simple. It would be a lost opportunity.

-A

Early Summer Nerves

Every year, I make a Duran Duran wall calendar for Rhonda and myself. This calendar includes photos we have taken at concerts. Various dates are highlighted. Unlike most calendars, these dates are not always national or religious holidays. No, they tend to be dates of Duran concerts we have attended or dates that singles or albums were released. As I turned this calendar to May, I noticed that there weren’t many dates listed.

Why are there not many dates listed on our personalized calendar? The simple reason is that we have not attended many shows during May. Is that because Duran has not played many concerts in this spring month? Let’s check out the handy dandy complete concert list on the band’s official website. Here’s what I saw:

There were 0 shows in May for the following years: 1980-1981, 1983-1986, 1988-1992, 1994, 1996-2003, 2006-2007, 2009, 2013-2015, and 2017-2019. That’s a lot of years that did not have shows in May. What about the years that did have May dates? Were there many shows those years?

  • 1979 – 2 shows
  • 1982 – 1 show
  • 1987 – 22 shows all in Europe
  • 1993 – 8 shows mostly in South America
  • 1995 – 8 shows mostly in the US
  • 2004 – 1 show in the UK
  • 2005 – 7 shows in Europe
  • 2008 – 20 shows in the US
  • 2010 – 3 shows in Europe
  • 2011 – 3 shows in Europe and 9 more that were scheduled but canceled
  • 2012 – 4 shows in South America
  • 2016 – 3 shows (1 in US and 2 in UK)

So, in looking at the band’s tour history, it makes a ton of sense that we would have not many shows on our calendar for the month of May. On top of the fact that there are few years that had dates in May, many of them were outside of the US. The only years that could have applied to me easily were 1995 and 2008. In 1995, I was in college and not paying a ton of attention and in 2008, I went to one of the shows. One. Anyway, I wonder why May seems like an off month. I would get why a band would not want a ton of shows in months like January when it is winter and potentially a tough time to travel. But May? The only thing I can figure out is that they are often really busy in the spring and summer and May provides a break between two really busy times.

Now, in fairness, I cannot say that I’m terribly sad that the band has not done more in the month of May. I know. That sentence does not seem right, but it is. May is an incredibly tough time for me to get away. It is the last full month of the school year and my school district does not allow any personal days after the end of April. This means that if I were to go to shows in May, I would either need to lie (not my preference) or get special permission. I have done that before and it wasn’t fun. Anyone remember 2011? I fought my district for months to get permission to go to the UK for some shows. Eventually, the district gave me permission only to have the shows get canceled. I would rather not go through that again. No, it is so much better to just be able to go on tour easily with personal days or during the summer.

This brings me to 2020, the date of the band’s 40th anniversary. I have no clue what the band’s plans are. At one point, there was some talk on a Katy Kafe about doing something in Birmingham in the summer. I’m all for that!!! That said, I need those shows to be after June 12th and before August 24th. While I’m at it, it would probably also be good to avoid July 13th-16th. I promise that I could make anything else. Not only could I make it but I guarantee that I would be well-rested and beyond excited! I’m even saving as we speak!

-A

Give Me a Sign

Sometimes, it takes me a little bit before I realize something. I generally like to make many observations before I start to make make some inferences, some conclusions. In this case, I have been thinking about the VIP package for these upcoming shows without really thinking about what is included. It took me a few days of just looking at the bag before I started to really think about what I could learn from it, which I know sounds weird. Stay with me, though.

First of all, while I noticed that the bag was white, red and black, I didn’t really think about why that might be significant. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, see picture below.

What’s the big deal with the color scheme? Well, when I bought tickets to shows coming up in February, I assumed that these shows would be shows connected to the Paper Gods tour. After all, I tend to think that any show is connected to the most recent album until new music comes out. Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule. Shows in 2003 weren’t connected with Pop Trash but with the reunion. That said, shows in 2009 still feel like they are a part of the Red Carpet Massacre era.

So, I assumed that these February dates would be like the shows in 2017 or 2016 in that they would be Paper Gods focused including the set list. Now, I am not so sure about that. First of all, there were discussions on the most recent Katy Kafe about songs that the band is “dusting off” to play at these songs. If they were keeping things exactly as is, I doubt be practicing new (old) material. Then, there is the color scheme. Paper Gods was all about light blue, pink, light purple. It was not black, white and red. Could this be a sign that these shows won’t be really be Paper Gods focused in the same way? Obviously, I don’t have an answer but I like there is a mystery, an unknown. It makes me more excited about the shows. Will I be disappointed if it is still Paper Gods tour like? No. What about if it feels new? I would be good with that, too. I’m not picky. It just makes me wonder where these shows fit in the Duran tour timeline.

While I ponder that, I examined the bag some more. As I stated in the blog post about this package, the bag has the song titles in order on the bag. These titles seemed to be in order by album. Is that really true? The answer from what I can tell is sort of. The first album is listed in this way: Girls on Film, Planet Earth, Anyone Out There, To the Shore, Careless Memories, Night Boat, Sound of Thunder, Friends of Mine and Tel Aviv. No Is There Something I Should Know. No b-sides are listed. The Rio album seems normal with no b-sides listed. Then, it moves right into Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Still there is no Is There Something I Should Know. Interesting. No Wild Boys. No A View to a Kill. Uh. Notorious through Pop Trash all seem normal and in order without any sort of b-side or bonus track listed.

What about the most recent albums? Astronaut does not list any bonus track like Virus. Red Carpet Massacre does not include Cry Baby Cry. What about All You Need Is Now? This one has the 14 tracks from All You Need Is Now to Before the Rain. Paper Gods only has the 12 main songs listed. No bonus tracks there either. I’m not sure what if anything that means. No matter, I still find it interesting. They clearly decided to include only songs that appeared on albums, rather than the one offs. Bonus tracks and b-sides were not listed either. I wonder how much space those songs would have taken if they did.

While I think it is super cool that they listed the songs on the bag, I have to wonder if this isn’t a step into that 40th anniversary celebration. After all, it could be a way to acknowledge the songs found on the studio albums. What do the rest of you think? Should they have included those songs that are missing or is it good to focus on songs on albums only? All in all, these little signs make me wonder what is going to happen from here. I like to see these little shifts. I give me the security knowing that they are still working, still trying to think of new ways to send out the Duran brand.

-A

Classic Pop Special Edition: Paper Cuts and Extraordinary World

Ignoring the question of are there shows or aren’t they for now, I will  share my thoughts about the final two articles in Classic Pop’s Special Edition for Duran’s 40th Anniversary:  Paper Cuts and Extraordinary World.  Obviously, the first articles focused in on the Paper Gods album and Extraordinary World dealt with winning an award in 2016.  Of course, I will give my overall thoughts about the magazine as a whole at the end as well.

Paper Cuts:

This article starts out on an interesting, more somber note.  The author states that it took Duran a long time to craft the Paper Gods album but quickly points out that Duran won’t be making many more albums.  They quote John, “We’re not going to make many more albums.  We have to make the most of it when we do…”  Ouch.  While I’m not stupid and recognize that none of us are getting younger, I still don’t like thinking or imagining a time when Duran no longer exists as the band does now.  Emotionally, I cannot handle that thought.

The beginning of the article discussed how long the album took.  One quote that grabbed my attention came from Simon, “At this point, if we make anything that’s at all less than our previous records, it would signal the beginning of the end.”  Wow.  If I had read that quote before, I didn’t pay it enough attention.  I can see why he would say that or why they would feel that way.  At the time, I was so anxious for more Duran Duran that I just wanted the album done.  Now, I can recognize the need for quality.  It is hard to rush art.  John provided the counterargument indicating that he didn’t want to just tinker with the music for little to no reason.  That’s a fair point, too.  I’m sure it is a delicate balance.

While there is a lot of interesting information in this article, the part that drew my attention focused on the band’s history regarding female fans.  The author describes their music as unisex, appealing to both men and women.  Simon stated, “We had our noses absolutely rubbed in it that Duran was ‘music for girl’.  But there’s something in our music that speaks of compassion, which insecure teenagers do need.  I think our teenage audience picked up on that.  A lot of bands at the time excluded women, by trying to a lads’ band.”  Nick continued with, “We’re not frightened of our fragility and sensitivity, which a lot of rock artists are.”  I completely appreciate this about them.  Even as a kid I knew that I would be safe with Duran Duran.  They were not looking to use me or other women in the way that I felt from other bands.

There was some discussion about the back catalog, especially since Duran had signed with Warner.  The band indicated that they would like to release their old material “properly” while at the same time avoiding bad deals like having Hungry Like the Wolf used in all food commercials.  There was mention of Reportage, the album recorded with Andy but never released.  They seemed to think it would be possible if mixing was done and with Andy’s permission.  I bet fans would be excited about that!

Extraordinary World

This article originally came out in 2016 when Duran received the ASCAP Golden Note Award for songwriting at a London ceremony.  This particular award is given to artists who have achieved significant career milestones.  Some other winners include Elton John, Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder and more.  That’s pretty cool!  I don’t remember hearing about this award before.

The author then gave credit to everything Duran has accomplished in their careers.  Interestingly enough, Nick commented about how these days there is little “mystique” to pop music as artists and albums seem to be on some sort of assembly line in order to get released quickly.  Needless to say, he is not a fan.  As much as I would love to have new Duran music all the time, I recognize that I value things more when I have to wait and anticipate them.  If I went to Duran concerts every day, I would probably cease to be excited about them and that would be super sad.

This article ended with a discussion about Duran playing festivals.  Simon’s argument was that festivals are the real test.  It is one thing to play to fans but to play at a festival, you have to be really good.  That’s fair from their perspective.  I can understand that.  From a fan’s perspective, I hate festivals.  Enough said.

Overall:

I really think that this magazine was well put together.  Clearly, there was a lot of attention to detail with little extras included frequently.  Visually, it is very Duran with a lot of images, cool graphics, logos and more.  In my opinion, it was well worth the money.  What did the rest of you think?

-A

Classic Pop: The Wedding Album and Pop Art

I am loving this Classic Pop magazine special edition on Duran Duran’s 40th Anniversary.  Over the past few weeks, I have read a number of articles and commented on my reactions in a series of blog posts.  Not only do I have more articles to read and write about today, I will only be about half way through the magazine.  There is so much here!  Today, I will cover the articles about the Wedding Album and album art.

The Wedding Album:

This review is similar to the one for Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Notorious as opposed to the lengthy one on Rio.  The extra features for this article include a blurb on the players and the tracklisting.  I’m not sure how many people are interested in who added vocal samples but it is nice to have the information in one place that is easy to find and read.

I’m always intrigued by the subheadings of these.  In this case, the author describes the album in this way, “going back to their roots and injecting a heavy dose of introspection.”  Interesting.  When I think of the album as a whole I am not sure I hear introspection in all of the songs.  In fact, I tend to think more about awareness to the world in a way that hadn’t been included much in the past along with some songs of introspection.

Again, the author begins by providing context, including what the music world was like in 1993 and how a lot of people had written off Duran.  Some, claimed the article, called Duran “Done Done.”  I never heard that and am horrified by it.  It never ceases to amaze me how cruel critics have been to Duran throughout the band’s career.

As you can imagine a great deal of the review focused on the creation of the songs and Ordinary World.  The articles talked a lot about how they wrote and recorded in a home studio which provided the setting for a focus on no frills, back to basics songwriting.  As far as Ordinary World goes, it told the usual story about how it was written about the death of Simon’s friend and got the band back into the spotlight.  Despite knowing all that, I didn’t realize that promo cassettes of the album were sent out in 1992 to various media outlets that contained a different track listing including the songs, Stop Dead and Time for Temptation.  If you don’t know there, here they are:

Pop Art:

This article chose to narrow its focus to the band’s album art.  The art for singles is also included.  I, for one, appreciate the fact that there was an entire feature dedicated to this.  Typically, when people cover Duran Duran, they usually discuss the band’s history, music and videos.  If there are any extras, then fashion is brought in.  Rarely have I ever seen anything that covers the fabulous album covers.

I love the fact that the article moves through the chronology of the band’s design from their early posters created by John Warwicker to Malcolm Garrett’s designs on the first albums all the way to the Paper Gods album cover.  Many of the various album and singles’s art were covered in detail.  For examples, I adored reading about the Planet Earth single cover.  I think it is my appreciation of art that makes me really love that it goes into such depth on both the images but also the design, including what the entire package might mean or represent.  If you are someone who loves analyzing Duran’s covers, this article is definitely the one for you!  If that wasn’t enough, it mentions Nick’s book of photography, Interference.  Lots of good stuff.

Next week, I’ll cover Top 40 Greatest Duran Tracks and Elder Statesmen.

-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