Yesterday’s winner: 1984 Sing Blue Silver Tour
Which song has BETTER LYRICS: Girls on Film or Planet Earth?
Yesterday’s winner: 1984 Sing Blue Silver Tour
Which song has BETTER LYRICS: Girls on Film or Planet Earth?
From the looks of my Facebook and Twitter timelines, we’re all still deep in the throes of celebrating Rio. I must admit that as I tore the cellophane shrink-wrap, it never once occurred to me that someday, I might be celebrating the thirty-fifth anniversary of Rio’s existence….on a blog.
The same holds true for the item worthy of celebration today. On this date in 1980, some guy in pink leopard pants auditioned for Duran Duran. You might recognize his name – Simon Le Bon.
I used to say that I couldn’t imagine Duran Duran without him. I’m wrong about that of course, because I’ve heard some of the early (before it was ever Rio or Girls on Film) music without him. It might have been Duran Duran…but it wasn’t DURAN DURAN. Simon was definitely the missing piece (or the missing link!! ha!). I definitely can’t imagine their concerts without him. Yes, Amanda and I love to give him a hard time, but there is a lot of love, too.
So while the 40th anniversary might begin next year, it’s a good thing they plan to celebrate for a few years because it wasn’t really Duran Duran until Simon joined, and today – we’re going to celebrate that turn of fate.
Happy anniversary to Simon as we celebrate the day he began this crazy ride!
Yesterday’s winner: Planet Earth
Which VIDEO do you like better: Girls on Film or Night Boat?
Every once in a while, DDHQ will ask a question that gets me thinking. Today became one of those days when they asked fans what three songs best represents Duran Duran’s sound.
First of all, I didn’t ever answer the question. My intentions were good, but life got in the way, and I didn’t even think about it again until late in the afternoon.
Second, where do I even begin?! Not only is there a large catalog of music to consider, but the styles are as varied as their hairstyles. If I take the question seriously, I suppose the best place to begin is, well…the beginning. 🙂
I think the first album must display the humble beginnings of this band. That music is what led them, creatively speaking, in a forward direction from the Rum Runner. That said, I think one song has to come from there. The question is, which one?
My heart says Friends of Mine, but that’s more of a favorite than it is anything else. Next would be Planet Earth, but is that MY beginning (as a fan) or the band’s, I am not sure. So then I think about Girls on Film. It isn’t my favorite off of the album, but it does display their ingenuity (camera clicks), and I think of the bass line along with the keyboards and guitar…and it does add up to quintessential Duran Duran from that period. So, I’ll go with Girls on Film.
The next song is tougher for me, because when I listen to Rio, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Notorious, Big Thing, or Liberty…every single album changes enormously. Not enough to where I’d say “that’s not Duran Duran”, but I think you all know what I mean. Personnel changes, style changes…but it is all still Duran Duran at heart. So where do I go from here?
I think I have to go for the obvious, which is a little painful…but it’s honest: Ordinary World. I would have EASILY preferred Rio, or even Hungry Like the Wolf on some days (!!), but then I’m ignoring a very important part of their history. I believe Ordinary World is the turning point, the apex when the band collectively decided to keep going and give it their all, whether as the Fab Five, Fantastic Four, or Terrific Three….not that I don’t think they did it before then, I just mean, it all came together beautifully, in that moment.
So that leaves one. Goodness. I could have easily done this in five songs. Four songs seems tough, but three? ACK! One song. Ok. So again, I’m struggling with the changes in sound. Sure, Astronaut brings us back to the Fab Five and Sunrise would have been an easy pick, except that it’s now 2017. We’ve had a few remarkably different albums since then. What song defines their sound best? Do I pick something off of Paper Gods because it’s most recent? Do I pick from All You Need is Now because it’s a fan favorite? What about Red Carpet Massacre, where does that album fit?
I’m going to work through this the only way I know how – train of thought writing. (which ought to be interesting…) Astronaut was the album, or so I thought, because it brought the band full circle. When I think of the song Sunrise, it brings me right back to all the promise of the Fab Five returning. The trouble is, that didn’t last, and I don’t think it’s a fair representation of their sound. Then there’s Red Carpet Massacre. Out of all the Duran albums, this sounds the least like anything else they’ve done. That doesn’t make it bad, just not quite what I think represents DD. That brings me to All You Need is now and Paper Gods. On one hand, All You Need is Now is like the first part of DD’s career revisited. It is comfortable (for me), but there weren’t a ton of surprises, and I didn’t feel like it was innovative…but I loved it right away and still do. Paper Gods has been a different journey. While it’s forward-thinking, it’s still very much the Duran Duran I know and love. In a lot of ways the album feels and sounds very much like the story of DD’s career. When I listen to only a song or two, I feel like I’ve only heard a single conversation. It is the one DD album I own that I listen to from start to finish without skipping around, which is different. I think that’s why it is hard for me to pick a single song and say “Yep, that is the ONE song that tells it all.” Instead, I find myself thinking about the bonus material. Planet Roaring tells the story of how I feel to be a fan, and if there is any one song that is 100% complete Duran Duran on that album (although it’s only a bonus), it is this one. My problem with picking it is simply no one knows about it but fans.
Earlier today I perused the replies from other fans on the original post. The one thing I noticed, overwhelmingly, was that fans mainly chose hits, or in other words…songs that can be found on many a set list.
I don’t think that’s an accident. In fact, I would imagine that when the band sits down to think about what they’re going to play on tour, they consider songs that appropriately culminate their career. After all, they are picking a handful of songs that walk (or dance) an audience through their entire career. It’s kind of like Duran 101 when you go to a show! Duran Duran wants to pick songs that an audience knows. That’s why choices like Secret Oktober, Fallen Angel or even Virus don’t get played. No one knows them, and as much as it pains me to say, I get it. I don’t love it, but I get it.
So what to do about that third song? The rebel in me says to just go for it and pick Planet Roaring because in my heart, it’s the one song that should be on the main album that isn’t. My head tells me that I should be more methodical. I hate that, so tonight I’m going with my head for two out of the three choices, and my heart for the third. (Two out of three isn’t bad!)
Girls on Film
I’m curious though, what did you pick? My choices aren’t necessarily the best or even the right ones – they’re just what I picked tonight (I’m writing this on Monday night!), and I cannot guarantee I’d pick them again tomorrow. I’m sure that not one of you would pick the same as me, so it’s your turn…what would you choose!
Yesterday’s choice: The Reflex
Which song would you rather have LEFT OFF the setlist: Girls on Film or Save a Prayer?
I’ve been thinking a lot about why I became a Duran Duran fan lately. Not just that I heard a song and fell in love with it, but what really drove me into fandom? Almost more importantly, why have I stayed?
When Amanda and I were writing our manuscript, we tried to answer that question. We answered it by citing the band’s history and writing about all of the things that most of you know that made the band different, unique, and wonderful. Not necessarily the wrong answer, but probably not the entire story, either. We’ve been told that we need to dig deeper and really answer that question for ourselves. Rather than use the band’s history to hide behind, we should probably examine our own.
I can’t speak for Amanda, obviously. I only know my own history. She and I didn’t meet until the “second-half” of my fandom got started in 2004. Prior to that, particularly when I was in middle school, it was a very different tale.
I remember hearing Duran Duran for the first time on KROQ, although truth be told, I had obviously heard them several times prior because one of their songs had been included on a particular K-Tel compilation of mine. The backstory is that I had either asked for records without being terribly specific, or my parents, at a loss for what to buy me for my birthday and Christmas, were fond of getting compilations—records that had recordings from a variety of different artists and put together in “themed” albums. I had one 80s themed compilation that included Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film” on the B side. I didn’t even notice that until much later on! It wasn’t until I heard KROQ play “Planet Earth” that I began to take notice.
The funny thing, or…maybe not so funny…is that I am not entirely sure it was really the band that stirred my interest initially. I mean, yes, when I heard “Planet Earth” for the first time, I did like the song. Enough that I remember going to school that very next day intending to tell my friends. I excitedly told them about this new band I heard, and one of them—the bossiest one of the group— already knew all about them.
At first, I was totally deflated because I thought I was going to bring something brand new to the discussion. Very quickly though, I realized that this could be the “thing” that united us. We were a group of misfits that didn’t necessarily fit in anywhere else. Before any one asks, yes – I was that aware. I think most of us who don’t quite fit in are generally pretty aware of the situation!
As I go through the semi-painful process of remembering the less-fanciful parts of my childhood, I’m realizing I spent much of it alone. I was one of those kids (and really, one of those adults) that didn’t really get along easily with a lot of people, particularly other girls. Even in kindergarten, for a variety of reasons, kids singled me out. That continued into elementary school when boys started categorizing girls into “dogs” (ugly girls) and “foxes.” (cute girls) I’ll give you two guesses where I fell, and it wasn’t pretty.
Then there were the times my teachers would want us to pick partners for projects or PE. I HATED those exercises, because I’d immediately be on edge. I’d hope someone would grab my arm or something to partner up, but when that inevitably wouldn’t happen, I’d panic and try to find a friend, only to see that they’d already paired up. Without fail, I’d be the last to not have a partner, and my teacher would have to take pity and “assign” someone to me, which typically annoyed the other kid involved. I personally believe there’s got to be a certain type of hell for teachers that pose those situations for kids.
So, middle school comes around, and Duran Duran shows up on my horizon. I embraced the band as though it were a lifeline, and to be fair, at the time I think they probably were. This band was the ONE thing that bonded me to other kids my age. Yes, I played clarinet, and yeah, I was in band. At our school, we didn’t really have time to chat with other band members, and it wasn’t like high school where we spent much time outside of class together. After school I practiced music and did homework alone, until Duran Duran came along. So you bet I grabbed onto that one, tiny little thing—liking a band—and ran with it.
Not much time went by before Duran Duran was everywhere. All over record stores, on the radio, in magazine stands—and their pinups were all over my bedroom. I lived and breathed them right along with my friends from school. I may not have had the coolest haircuts, or wore the latest styles, but I was a fan of Duran Duran. As my group of friends later discovered , we were among the first to fall in love with them. We were still total outcasts, and the popular girls still gave us disdainful looks in the hall. Even so, we had something that brought us together with other groups—outcasts and otherwise. For me, it was the first time in my life that I finally felt included.
I think that’s part of the reason why I am still a fan today. I don’t have a job that I report to, and I am not one of those women who hangs out with other women. (I never really did learn how to function well with other women in a group.) I spend most of my day alone. This band is my source of inclusion.
I’m still working on writing my history and digging deep to find the reasons why I’m a fan. I suspect that will take some time. I’m only just beginning to scratch at the surface. I challenge you to do the same. Why are you really a fan? Go beyond the music and really think about who you were and your life circumstances when you first heard them. What drove you into fandom?
Yesterday’s choice: Danceophobia
Which song would you rather be LEFT OFF the setlist: Only in Dreams or Girls on Film?
Yesterday’s winner: Girls on Film
Which song would you rather see LEFT OFF the setlist: Careless Memories or Is There Something I Should Know?
Yesterday’s winner and the song that most people have not seen live but want to is: Like an Angel
Now, we switch gears. There are songs that people have often seen live in concert. Therefore, we want to know which of these frequently played songs should NOT be played live for at least awhile.
Which song would you like to see REMOVED from the setlist: Girls on Film or Planet Earth?
Every once in awhile, I run across some things online that really makes me pause. Obviously, for the sake of this blog, those things aren’t immature, unprofessional statements made by and to U.S. presidential candidates that embarrass me as an American, but things related to Duran Duran. I have seen two in the last 24 hours that I thought I would share and react to.
Apparently, Cleopatra Records is releasing the 1979 Duran Duran demo featuring John, Roger and Nick as well as former lead singer, Andy Wickett. This demo contains the following track listing and will be available both on CD and on clear vinyl.
1. See Me, Repeat Me
1. Girls on Film
2. Working The Steel
I have many reactions to seeing this. First, these tracks have been widely circulated among Duranies in the form of a bootleg for about 10 years now. For the fans that have heard these songs, I wonder if they find this news exciting at all. Second, I have to wonder HOW this is getting released. Did Duran Duran have to sign off on this? I would imagine and yet I have seen nothing official from DDHQ. Then, from what I know from various Duran documentaries, Andy Wickett sold the rights to the song and seemed to be a little upset about how the whole situation went down. Lastly, I’m all for Duran history (as you all know) and all for others to learn Duran Duran history, which makes this a very interesting announcement. That said, I would first recommend getting familiar with the Devils, which feels more like Duran Duran to me.
Want a taste of Andy Wickett’s version of Girls on Film, though? Here is an interesting animation he did in 2006 which features the song about a minute in:
This morning, after sleeping a ridiculously, but much needed amount of time, I discovered this video below posted to my Facebook wall:
This video is over 2 years old and, obviously, features Simon. Here is the thing. I highly recommend watching it. Simon is truly entertaining here on so many levels. That said, I have no idea what this video was actually made for and I can’t seem to find anything about it. While that is interesting, in and of itself, I find it fascinating that it has surfaced now. This video is 2 years old. Why is it being shared now? I could assume that it is just me and that I missed it when it was released but I’m usually pretty familiar with the latest Duran footage due to writing this blog, at the very least. So, does anyone know anything about this video? Why was it done? What was the purpose?
On that note, I’m going to continue to shake my head and wonder while I get back to work!