Tag Archives: EMI

Hammersmith 1982 – So much has changed, yet stays the same.

It used to be that I enjoyed watching concert videos of Duran Duran because I wasn’t able to see many shows, particularly those from the 80s. I didn’t go to my first Duran Duran concert until 1989, so these concert videos represented a world that I was not involved with, and I often felt like I was on the outside looking in. Even so, I would watch whatever I could find, over and over again in fascination.

Nowadays, I watch them almost incredulously. It is difficult for me to make sense of who they were then versus who they are now. I don’t know if that will make sense to many of you. I suppose in some small way I see them differently now? They’re not on quite as high of a pedestal (assuming they are in fact on any sort of pedestal at all). I see Simon in these videos, for instance – and I see this untouchable, unattainable, enigmatic, person. I didn’t know him, I never met him, and he may as well could have been in a dream rather than reality. That’s how Duran Duran was for me as a child. I still don’t know Simon, but I’ve stood with him in a picture. I’ve waved to him. He’s REAL now in a way he wasn’t then. The band is just a little more real to me as a whole. Even so, I still have a hard time watching these videos and reconciling the fact that the people in this video are the same people I go to see perform now.  It isn’t that the band has changed, it is that I see them differently, I think.

I am the first to admit that when I was ten, the hero-worshipping going on in my head and heart was huge. They may as well have been knights in shining armor. I proudly hung their posters on my wall, and believed they could do no wrong, even when I was presented with evidence that may have proven otherwise. At the time, they were exactly what I needed them to be, because I was a child. I needed and wanted that fairy-tale existence, and although sometimes I will slip and say that I wished I had met them in the 80s, I realize that it would have completely destroyed me to have done so. The unfair expectations that I would have placed upon them would have been enormous. No one could have possibly lived up. When I watch old performance videos like Sing Blue Silver, those old feelings are stirred up a bit. Those memories and feelings behave more as childhood nostalgia than pure hero worship these days, but to be fair there’s still some gushing going on. I mean, I am still a fan.

On the other hand, in adulthood, I think my feelings now are more along the lines of fondness and deep respect. How can I help but not respect Simon, John, Nick and Roger? They’ve stood the test of time, not only with me, but with millions of people worldwide. That’s mind-blowing in this day and age. I don’t giggle when I see them, unless of course I’m about to be hosed down with Simon-spit (and I’m not really sure I giggle about that at the time…I’m too busy ducking for safety!). I think that might be a side-effect from writing the blog, but I’m really not sure. I just know it is hard to see the John Taylor in Sing Blue Silver or even in videos like “The Reflex” and make sense of the fact that yeah, that’s the same John Taylor that I see onstage now. The struggle is real and my brain does not compute.

So much has changed, yet so much really is the same, I suppose!

In 2009, EMI released videos of these early shows, including Hammersmith 1982. I thought it would be fun to watch some of the clips again today. I couldn’t find the concert in entirety so I just chose several to watch. Enjoy!

 

-R

A November Duran Duran Update!

A few things have happened in the past week that we haven’t really covered yet – so here’s the DD update!

ASCAP Golden Note Award

Late last week, Duran Duran was presented with the ASCAP Golden Key Award for songwriting. Simon, Nick and Roger were present for the awards (John Taylor was presumably in LA at his home) at One Embankment. Receiving such an award is a massive achievement and they join the ranks with other past recipients such as Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder and Elton John. To fans, however, this is no surprise. We fell in love with songs like Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf but their talent goes well beyond their hits. Songs like The Chauffeur, Secret Oktober, Palomino, Land, Still Breathing, Planet Roaring and so on, are all perfect examples of why the band is so deserving of being recognized by ASCAP.

MTV EMA’s

In other award news, Duran Duran did not win the EMA for Best Live Stage, despite the best efforts of fans worldwide taking their time to vote. Martin Garrix was this year’s winner…but in our eyes, Duran Duran should have won hands down!

A Lesson in Copyright Law

The Fab Five lives on….this time, as members in a lawsuit over US copyrights. (Do you ever get the feeling that the band will never, ever, be fully rid of one another?  It’s like a marriage with children…you can end the marriage, but the kids are the ties that bind. No matter what!) That’s right, Andy Taylor is once again involved with the band, but only because of a lawsuit against Gloucester Place, part of EMI Music Publishing, which is owned by Sony/ATV – a US company.

This is where copyright law gets complicated. The copyright agreements are with Gloucester Place, and the band served that company notices terminating the grant of US copyrights to Duran Duran works (“works” is a term used quite frequently in entertainment law. The basic meaning is anything the band produces.) Gloucester Plan is asking the High Court (of the UK) to declare that the members have breached their music publishing agreement.

The band, on the other hand, is using US law, where songwriters have an “inalienable right” to call for a reversion to their copyright after 35 years (as an aside – this is where I sit back and ask myself, “Has it really been that long?”).  Nick Rhodes explains, “This provision was instigated to help rebalance the often unfair deals which artists sign early in their careers when they have little choice to try to get their first break, with no negotiating power and virtually no understanding of what their copyrights really mean for the future.” When the band requested the reversion back in 2014, they considered it a mere formality, until Sony (it always comes back to Sony somehow, doesn’t it?? They can’t seem to be rid of Sony either.) decided to challenge their right, calling it a contractual technicality.

According to Ian Mill, the Queen’s Counsel for Gloucester Place, the terms of the writer’s contracts were that they would not “seek to obtain a reversion of their copyrights” under the US copyright law and that they would be in “breach of contract should they do so”.

Since the agreements were made in 1980 – the agreements were made with the band members personally and are referred to as “the writers” – including Andy Taylor. Only Simon, Nick and Roger appeared in court, however.

Ultimately, this implication of this decision goes well-beyond the likes of Duran Duran. Many of our favorite bands of this same period (and beyond) would likely face similar fights in court. Any publisher who chooses to fight the protective measures of the US copyright law would find a home for themselves in the UK and set up shop there.

I’ll be interested to see where this lawsuit goes from here.  All in all, an interesting update for this time of year.

-R

source:

Belfast Telegraph UK

Her Name is Still Rio.

Who wants another remaster of Rio?  Anyone??  Buehler??

Recently, Duran Duran announced that the band was about to set sail with another remaster of everyone’s favorite album….Rio. As explained through the band’s Facebook page:

The only difference between this and the 2009 Special Edition (which is no longer available) is that this is in a digipak and not in booklet form. So it is a sort of repackage/reissue of that release.

That said, many in the community are wondering pretty loudly as to why this release is so necessary. The overwhelming majority of comments I’ve seen have had this sentiment, “With all due respect, how about stopping the reissues and finishing the new album?”

Fair enough. I suppose that upon first glance it does seem a little…well, overdone at this point. After all, it’s been wisely pointed out by more than one fan that Liberty, The Wedding Album, Thank You, Medazzaland and Pop Trash have yet to receive this kind of treatment. Is it really smart to reissue Rio again?

Originally Rio was owned/distributed/etc. by EMI – a label that is no longer in existence. The 2009 remastering was also done by EMI (with very little input from the band, as I seem to recall).  The remasters of Rio, along with the others done by EMI, did not continue to be printed after EMI was sold off.

So where did that portion of Duran’s catalog end up?  At Warner. For the first time in many years, the band has been reunited with their catalog, which is something John in particular has mentioned.  I don’t think it’s really much of a surprise to see that Rio is being reissued once again. The album continues to sell well for the band because it is the music that made them most popular, so why not reissue it under the Warner label?  Warner didn’t buy the catalog for it to sit somewhere and just collect dust, after all.

Also, Isn’t it the least bit interesting that this summer, Duran Duran will play festivals, introducing that music to people who, unlike the rest of us, might not have been around to hear it in the 80s? Even if they never play a single new song from the “yet-to-be-named-publicly” album that we call DD14 at any of these festivals, they will expose new audiences to songs like Rio and Save a Prayer…and those songs can be found where?? On a fantastic remastered digipack of Rio. This reminds me a little of the summer TV reruns, “If you’ve never seen it, it’s new to you!” ….”If you’ve never heard it, it’s new to you!”  Say what you will about reissues, if they’re trying to find a new audience, it’s not a bad way to go.

Furthermore, if you were a band from the 80s that is looking to reinvigorate your fan base and bring in some new lifeblood…why wouldn’t you play festivals known for attracting young people, and reissue your biggest selling album at the same time?  You play some festivals, get people interested and talking about you, make some sales on an older, yet still very viable release, and then release your brand new album…which is reportedly meant for a much wider audience than their current fan base.  (I’ve had people ask where I’m getting that – listen to the final 20th Anniversary Katy Kafe with Simon. They talk quite a bit about it, and yes, it really DOES make sense!) Those same people who bought your older music, thinking they’ve found a new band, will then hear new music and make those purchases. It happens all the time with plenty of bands, and it is a proven marketing method. Whether it will work as well for Duran Duran or not is yet to be seen, but I’m very curious to see if it will.

I know that there are many in the community that scoff at the idea of Duran Duran’s attempts to bring in new vitality to their long time fan base. I can understand why. We all were witness to what happened with some of their previous attempts, and I think to a certain degree, we’re selfish as all get out. We don’t necessarily want to share the band with new generations of fans. We’ve loved them since Day One, and dammit they’re OURS. Those are honest feelings, and I get it. I don’t know if the band or label really gets that, but I’m not sure it’s necessarily important that they do. Is it really healthy though to expect the band to cater solely to their long time fans and NOT grow their fan base? Is it really smart for them not to try? I don’t think so.

Selling music is a business. The band has to make money or else it’s really just a very expensive hobby. Duran Duran, while they say they’re not in it for the money, they are definitely accustomed to living a certain type of lifestyle that is beyond the reach of most. They want to see their music reach as many people as possible…and last I checked, the population of 40-somethings in the world isn’t necessarily growing. It isn’t as though we’re all going to bring a friend who has never heard Duran Duran to their next shows and suddenly convert them. No…it’s younger people coming up in the world that they’ve got to expand and reach to find. Like it or not, that’s the reality. If they want to sell their album beyond the 300,000 or so copies that they might be able to sell to their fan base in varying forms…they’d better come up with some music that has a snowball’s chance in hell of being played by people who aren’t already their fans. Again, like it or not, that’s the cold, stark truth.

While sure, I sit back and wonder aloud here on the blog about whether they’re going to alienate long time fans in the process, there is a huge part of me that wants to see them do well. Why wouldn’t I? I’m a FAN and I support this band. Isn’t that the point? I’d love to see the album take the world by storm, all the while knowing that I’ve been around to watch the entire plot unfold. I haven’t heard the album yet, I don’t really know what they’ve got up their sleeve(s), but I’m trying to keep an open mind. It really is what we should all be doing, and yes, it can sometimes be difficult.

I think that as long time fans, Duranies, die hards….whatever you’d like to call us, we have a habit of being overly cynical. I certainly fall into that ditch on occasion, without question! We think we’ve seen it all and we think we know the band’s career better than they might – because you know, we’re objective. <wink, wink> There are a good number of fans out there that believe the band has already reached the apex of what they can hope to achieve. I’ve witnessed the discussion, I’ve heard the chuckles when the idea of reaching beyond the fan base and finding a younger audience is mentioned, and I’ve read the comments of, “good luck with that. Hope you don’t end up losing your entire fan base in the process.” I’m ever-so cautiously thinking that maybe we shouldn’t all be quite so sure. This is a band that I wouldn’t necessarily count out, and wouldn’t it be AMAZING to see them take off like a rocket or hear them on the radio again? It’s not wrong to hope for that, or at least be open to the possibility. After all, I still love them, and I want to see them do well with music that they are really and truly proud of creating. Don’t you?

-R

Today in Duran History – Hammersmith & Rio Revisited

On today’s date in 2009,  the remastered versions of Live at Hammersmith ’82 and Rio were released.  Do you have them?

What is really great about the remastered Rio is that the Carnival mixes stand next to the originals (and even the night versions and some demos) here – so if you ever had a question about their sounds, here was your chance to really hear the subtle, yet significant differences. While I think that for most people, the CD set was probably overkill, for the Duranies I’m probably writing for out there loved it. I know I still play these in my car, which yes – means I love them. Which do you prefer – the UK originals, Kershenbaum mixes or the night versions?

Hammersmith, on the other hand, is a fascinating show to have and hold.  If you think about this show, it was recorded in November, just before the band took over the US charts by storm. Yes, they were already famous, but in 1983 they were about to take over the entire world. Go ahead, take another listen. When you experience the show with that frame of mind, it puts an entirely different emotion into your listening, not to mention that the set itself is really kind of kick-ass. Thirty-one years later and they can still put on a show that will knock you out flat if you’re not expecting it. Not that I really need it, but the CD reminds me why I’m still a fan.

Happy Monday!

-R