Tag Archives: Duran Duran reunion

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

My Astronaut Story

Last month, I began a little blog series in which I took a look at the albums Duran Duran released during the month of October.  After giving facts and statistics about those albums, I then shared about my relationship with those albums.  I discussed Big Thing and Medazzaland.  Today, I turn to the last of the October albums, Astronaut.  I revealed the stats surrounding the album here and now I offer a little bit about myself and this album.

Astronaut represented the Fab Five’s reunion, the return of the five original members.  It represented my return as well.  In the early 2000s, I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to Duran Duran at all.  I spent my time working, as a young teacher often does.  I remember sitting at my then dining room table on many Saturdays and Sundays creating curriculum.  If that wasn’t enough, I attended graduate school then as well.  I needed to add some teaching certificates in order to continue teaching students with special education needs.  On top of that, I figured that a master’s degree wouldn’t hurt.  Those two activities kept me plenty busy.

Despite (or maybe because) of my schedule, my social life lacked activity.  The city I lived in was new to me and making friends isn’t something I do easily.  Luckily, I had one lifeline, the internet.  Around the time of the reunion, I joined a fandom, but it wasn’t Duran.  It surrounded a little sci-fi teen drama called Roswell.  Looking back, I smile at the focus of my fandom.  It wasn’t super serious but there was something at the heart of the show that I related to.  Perhaps, it was the focus on people who felt alienated despite appearing like everyone else.  I have felt that way my entire life.  The combination between having internet access and admiring a TV show led me to message boards.  These message boards then provided the means with which to meet some people.  These people are, for the most part, still friends of mine (no pun intended).

As the Roswell fandom died down, I discovered that one of my Roswell associates was a Duran fan as a kid just like me.  That’s all it took.  It felt like someone lit a match over gasoline.  The fire caught instantly and grew quickly as we began sharing pictures, memories, and memorabilia with each other.  This led to searching the internet for the current status of Duran Duran.  Luckily, for me, grad school just ended and I found myself with more time and more money.  I spent my time reading every piece of Duran news I could find and my money buying albums I didn’t have.

Of course, part of what fed this fire was the idea that the original five reunited.  To say that I was excited would be an understatement.  I distinctly remember the first time I heard the song, Sunrise.  The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as goosebumps appeared on my arms.  It was beautiful and it was Duran.  For me, as someone who had been working her butt off for years, I felt like this reunion was my reward.  It felt like the world was adjusting itself back into proper alignment after being off kilter for decades.  For me, the end of the Fab Five coincided with a hard move.  After hearing Sunrise, I felt like the wrong of my move as a kid was made right.

Needless to say, I dove back into the fandom.  Unlike my childhood fandom which centered around watching MTV and buying magazines, now it was all about being online and chatting with fellow Duranies.  In early 2004, before the album came out, I joined and lurked at many Duran message boards, looking for a similar home to the one I had found with the Roswell fandom.  Duran’s official website had one, but it didn’t work for me.  I hated the chaos of how it looked and found it hard to follow.  More than that, it felt unfriendly to people like me, people who had stepped away from the fandom.  The official fan community appeared friendlier in terms of board format but also seemed to be tough to break into.  Finally, I found myself at DuranDuranFans.com.

This tiny message board looked great!  The group there was small but clearly liked each other.  While I wasn’t certain that I could break in there, either, I thought I had a better shot with a smaller group.  On top of that, the board had information regarding a little convention in New Orleans that was to take place in the fall.  I needed something to break me out of my boring, yet somewhat unfulfilling all work and no play existence.  Attending something like this, out of state, pushed me out of my comfort zone but also to a place of growth.

The convention took place a few weeks before the album dropped.  Yet, many in attendance possessed a copy already.  I took advantage by listening to the album there for the first time.  I loved what I heard.  Looking back and recognizing that this renewed fandom was so adolescent, so teenage crush like that I would have loved the album, no matter what.  I loved that the band was back together, which meant that the music had to be great.  Now, I still enjoy the album quite a bit but recognize some elements that could have been better.  That said, it represents the beginning of the second and more significant chapter in my fandom story.  It always will bring back positive memories.

In looking back on the three albums that Duran Duran has released in the month of October, I’m surprised at how well my fandom story lines up with Duran Duran’s history.  Big Thing represented a period of transition for the band and the same was true in my own life.  Likewise, Medazzaland represented a time in which the remaining members of the band were trying to hold on to their career.  The same might be said for my fandom at the time.  Lastly, Astronaut represented the return of the band from the 80s and my fandom followed right along side.  It will be interesting to see if the same thing will be true when I examine the albums released in November in future blogs.

-A

Astronaut Facts and Stats

Astronaut Facts:
Released on October 11, 2004
Produced by Dallas Austin, Don Gilmore, Nile Rodgers, Mark Tinley and Duran Duran
Had 12  tracks except for in Japan which had 13

3 different songs were released as singles:

  1. “(Reach Up For The) Sunrise” (Australia 20 September 2004, UK 4 October 2004) – Charted No. 5 in the UK on 10 October 2004; Charted No. 89 in the US on 13 November 2004
  2. “What Happens Tomorrow” (31 January 2005) – Charted No. 11 in the UK on 6 February 2005
  3. “Nice” (European radio release, iTunes download)

Personnel:
The band at that time was made up of John, Nick, Roger, Andy and Simon.  With backing vocals by Sally Boyden and Tessa Niles.

Videos:

Two videos were made from this album:

(Reach Up for the) Sunrise

What Happens Tomorrow

Electronic Press Kit (EPK:

The Tour:

The tour begin in January of 2005, despite having played a few gigs at the end of 2004.  The band played a show in UK before moving to North America for the spring.  The summer saw shows in Europe, the U.S., and Japan.  The band returned to the UK around Christmas.  Then in 2006, the band played in different cities in Europe before a doing a mini-tour of the U.S.

This album represents a significant time in Duran’s history.  The reunion that many of us longed for and never thought we would see come to fruition.  A lot of fans, including myself, jumped back in.  It began the second half and most significant part of my fandom.  I toured for the first time, really, and saw many shows.  I also made many friends.  It was a fun time!  My whole story will come next week.  Until then, I would love to read your stories surrounding this album!

-A

Today’s Date in Duran History – Denied!!

Ok, so if you’re paying attention and reading the blog, you’ll remember that yesterday I posted the daily point of interest being that on that day in 2001, reunion rumors for the original five broke out on the internet. I am beyond tickled that today’s tidbit, always in good turn, is that on this day, also in 2001, The Powers That Be (otherwise known in fandom as TPTB…it’s true, check it!) denied such rumors of a reunion on dd.com.

*gasps for overdramatical effect* How I wish this blog had audio sometimes….

The plot thickened…and I’m fairly certain, given what I know about DD fans, that this statement did nothing but continue to fan the flames of gossip, intrigue and rumor about such things. I can almost see the posts now…

“Well, you saw it – management said it wasn’t happening, and until they come out and say it really is happening – I don’t believe it.”

“Do you REALLY think the band is going to admit that they’re reuniting until they’re ready?  Don’t be stupid!  Management is never going to tell us first anyway. ”

Better yet…

“Since when does the band ever bother to really use this website anyway? Remember when a fan hacked into this site just to update it so that people would know what was going on?”

Well, we all know what ended up happening, don’t we? And…I’m pretty sure we can all guess as to why management needed to deny the rumors until the band was ready. Contractual issues between band members past and present (well…I guess that’s past and past now), a web page needed to be constructed and so on. Darn those gossip web sites!!

I still smile when I think about the evening I went online and read the news about the reunion. I must have read the press release five or six times before it really started to sink in. My brain refused to believe what my eyes were reading, and I’m sure that I was not the only one feeling that way. There are many, many times when I really wonder why I got so involved in this community. Like anyone else, I’ve seen my share of cut throat behavior, both in-person and online , and it can really be disconcerting.  But then I think back to pivotal moments I’ve experienced as a fan, and I realize: I wouldn’t want it any other way. This is a perfect point to close this week (for me, since Amanda will be writing tomorrow through Sunday), so I bid you all adieu til Monday.

-R