Yesterday’s winner: Picture W
On today’s date in 1987, Duran Duran played the Five Seasons Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This show took place during the Strange Behaviour tour, and most notably for many fans – it was the first tour after Live Aid which signified the end of the “Fab Five”.
Happy (early) 4th of July to my fellow American fans, and to the rest of the world – have a lovely weekend!
We’re back looking at some cover versions of Duran songs, and on a whim I decided to see what might be out there for Rio. If you haven’t had the chance to check out what Moby chose to do with Rio – you can find a blog on that here.
Additionally, I searched on YouTube and found a few to share. Curiously, many of the covers I found out there were acoustic – and many isolated that incredible bass line that fans know and love.
So I couldn’t help but include this one because BNL is well…BNL. You either get them or you don’t, but you can’t deny that they can sing and harmonize. Unfortunately this is another band that has split over the years, but I still love their old stuff…
I never quite know what I’m going to find on YouTube…and this is one of those kinds of covers. This one is slower and more subdued than the original, but the spirit of the song is still there, and it reminds me very much of being on a boat…which is appropriate given the song and the video I’ve linked for this takes place on a boat!!
This one claims to be the rocking version. I have to say that if they’re gonna claim something like that, they’re gonna need to rock a little harder than Duran Duran does when they play it live, and I’m not hearing that here…but a valiant effort nonetheless. I’d have liked seeing what else they could do with it, but I sense this is one of those songs you don’t dare change too much. Unless you’re Moby. 🙂
Ok, so I cheated. One of the versions I found online was uploaded by someone named Dam Breetai, and when I read that it’s the heavy metal version, I had to hear it. I mean, what could they POSSIBLY have done to the song? Turns out, it’s a remix (of sorts) of the original. A little turned up guitar (I actually think it’s an entirely new track), but Simon is still there to remind one where this song came from. I don’t know how great this really is, but I had to include it just for kicks.
There are a ton of acoustic versions out there…and this is just one that I found. I must give props for harmonization.
This version is the edgiest rock version I found. It’s hard rock, and I have to say that musically – I like it. Vocals, in my opinion aren’t really that great, but he does do this whisper of “I’ll tell you something, I know what you’re thinking” before he launches into the chorus that is kind of cool. Instead of the typical saxophone solo we’re used to hearing, this one has heavy guitar and an even heavier short drum fill that makes it his own.
Check out the covers and let us know what you think. There are pages and pages of Rio cover versions on YouTube and I only chose a few… but if you’ve got one that we absolutely have to hear or post, send it or comment below with the link!
On today’s date in 2012…A Diamond in the Mind (CD & DVD) was released!
If you were one of the wonderful attendees to Durandemonium last October, you had the good fortune to see Diamond in the Mind on the big screen during our private viewing party! I knew the show would be great on a theater-sized screen, but it exceeded even *my* expectations….either that or we were all so show-starved that we couldn’t help ourselves from getting up and dancing in the aisles!
Makes you kind of wish for another show….
On today’s date in 1982, Duran Duran played Chance in New York City. This date took place on the Rio tour.
Incidentally, on today’s date in the year 1999, my son was born. There’s not really a DD connection there unless you count that he’s one of three very lucky (my words, of course!) kids born to a Daily Duranie writer!! He’s 15 today…it has been a wild ride, and I would expect nothing less in the years ahead. He has a nasty habit of continually surprising me, but at least life is never dull! Happy Birthday, kiddo.
It is week 9 of our latest book club! The focus is Mad World and this week, we are reading and discussing the chapters on A Flock of Seagulls, Modern English and Soft Cell. We would love to have you all read along and join in the discussion!
I love this song and always have. That said, I never placed it into a soon to be destroyed by nuclear war context. As I read the lyrics and think about it, I can definitely see that. As a historian and social scientist, I find it fascinating when I am able to put songs and musical genres into societal and/or historical context. I understand a society and a time period more and I understand the song more. I now get to do that with this song, too. Very cool.
Of course, Robbie Grey of Modern English, expanded on this idea. I love that the song was also trying to show the good and the bad with people. Even the lyric about “mesh and lace” was to show this. Once again, I am reminded that song lyrics can seem straightforward on the surface and be much more when you dig a little deeper.
He also tells a story about how the band went from playing to 200 people in England to playing to 5000 people in Florida. What struck me wasn’t the idea of a very quick rise in fame that so many from this era experienced, but how Robbie saw the audiences in Europe compared to the audiences in America. European audiences he described as “thoughtful” whereas American audiences just wanted to have fun. I wonder if he would say the same now. Do others agree?
“I Melt with You” is as 80s iconic as anything else I can think of – I know that when the words “New Wave” are uttered amongst friends, this is always one of the first songs they mention. (I know this because I tested my theory at a neighborhood block party last week!) They also mention things like “Madonna”…and that’s when I openly cringe and tell them that it’s time to re-educate themselves on proper New Wave. I’m not invited to many neighborhood parties…
I never knew what the song was about, to be honest – but of course the line “Never really knowing it was always mesh and lace” sticks in my head as easily as “You’re about as easy as a nuclear war”. I really think I spent most of the 80s dancing to the music and not really listening to the words. That came much later.
I don’t know a lot of Modern English’s catalog. Like Jonathan, I was always very satisfied with just hearing “I Melt With You” and never felt like I needed more. So I was genuinely surprised to read that Robbie Grey used to shout rather than sing and that this song was the first he actually sang that way. I always liked the rawness of his voice – it added texture to the song.
Like Amanda, I was surprised to read that there was such a difference between American and European audiences. I mean, Duran has said similar things (I will never forget reading a blog from Roger Taylor that called American’s “raucous”. He didn’t mean it harshly, only that we’re apparently really loud and crazy. That stung, because I don’t see us quite that way. I don’t really understand the difference between the screaming “hard-core loyalty” they talk about from fans in Italy and the roar of the crowd they find here in America, but I have to think there really must be a difference.), but I just don’t really know what it means. I went to the UK for several shows a few years back, and to be completely honest I found the UK audiences to be very subdued to what goes on here at home. I mean yes they cheer, but it’s different. Would I call it thoughtful? I’m not quite sure that’s the right word.
Who doesn’t love this song? I have loved versions by other artists as well as the Soft Cell version, but I have to admit that this is my favorite out of them all. Is it that I know this one the best? Is it that I fell in love with this one first? Is it simply that this version really is the best? I suppose it doesn’t matter why I love it. I just do.
I love the fact that, according to the band’s Marc Almond, they went with this song to cover because doing a “soul song” was the most “un-electronic” thing to do. I suppose that is a little like Duran covering Public Enemy’s 911 Is a Joke. It just seems so out of character and, for Soft Cell, it truly was as so much of the rest of their material was shocking in many ways. Yet, Marc goes on to say how they put their sound to the song, which included, “cold, electronic sound with a passionate vocal.” That description could fit so much of the music I love. Truly.
Marc Almond continues to say that the success surrounding “Tainted Love” made them uncomfortable because of their new young fans and the controversial nature of the rest of the work. I would feel the same way, if I were them. That said, I’m not sure a lot of other artists would have given that two thoughts. A lot of artists would have just seen dollar signs and dollar signs only. I never heard Duran, for example, say that they had any concern about the Girls on Film video after attracting a lot of young fans. Perhaps, it isn’t because they weren’t concerned about their young fans but because they didn’t think the video would be harmful. Still, it is nice to see that Soft Cell did give some consideration to their young fans.
Without any disrespect intended, this is one of those songs that I could go without ever hearing again and not feel the least bit slighted. Once upon a time, I loved “Tainted Love” in the same way I loved “Hungry Like the Wolf”, but time (and radio) has ruined both for me. That said, I have always liked Soft Cell. I loved that their videos were meant to shock, and that they did. I like the avant-garde “art school” nature they had, and I think their videos are superbly odd. I would characterize Soft Cell as the really strange contemporary art that a lot of people rush past in a museum because they don’t get it – and yet you’ll find me standing there staring at a rotting piece of cheese boxed in clear acrylic because I’m trying to understand what the artist is saying. I love that stuff!
I think the real reason I liked Soft Cell and Marc Almond so much was because of something Marc says so eloquently, “Living in sleazy eighties Britain, repressed people leading secret lives, frustrated living in bedsits – it was the total antithesis of what Duran Duran were doing, which was singing about this glamorous life, and living in Rio, and sailing in ships on beautiful seas.” I love an escape. Duran Duran were living a life I had absolutely zero chance of ever experiencing myself – so that attracted me as much as John Taylor’s cheekbones or Roger Taylor’s quiet and brooding eyes ever did. On the other hand, I liked the darkness and obscurity that Soft Cell had to offer. It was the opposite of Duran Duran, and I liked that.
I respect Marc’s feelings for “Tainted Love” in the same way that I completely respect what “Hungry Like the Wolf” is for Duran Duran – you can’t (and shouldn’t) deny what those songs have done, and he’s right, they have to be embraced because people associate you with those songs. I think the problem with a band that has MANY of those songs is that they end up having to play a greatest hits show every night along with a few newbies – and for those of us who don’t need the reward of the hits in order to still support the band, we always end up wishing for the stuff no one else knows anything about. It’s probably a very good problem for a band to have.
Don’t forget to check in with us next week as we chat about A-Ha, Joy Division, and The Smiths!
-A & R
On today’s date WAYYYY back when in 1981….Duran Duran played at Gaumont in Southhampton. This show took place during the Faster than Light tour. I know that somewhere out there, at least ONE of our UK friends must have been there!
Happy last day of June, everyone!