Tag Archives: Rio album

The Way You Did When You Were Younger

The other day my friend messaged to me to say, “Guess what I’m listening to?” Now, this isn’t the first time I have gotten this exact question or something super similar. I always know that the answer has something to do with Duran Duran. Turns out that my friend was listening to Ordinary World. Once my friend identified the song, she went on to say, “I know. This is not your favorite song or album.” Obviously, we have had conversations about Duran Duran and this particular era before. Sadly, when we have talked, it is not quite the same as if, say, Rhonda and I were talking. My friend’s knowledge about Duran is limited. I struggle to explain everything I think without overwhelming her with information. Nonetheless, the conversation got me thinking.

This friend of mine (no pun intended), a fellow teacher, is about ten years younger than me. While we share much in common, the age difference comes up, especially with something like Duran. I remember playing the video for Planet Earth in my classroom when the most recent anniversary of the song came up. This friend came in and said, “I wasn’t even born then.” Oh boy. That’s great. Anyway, the first Duran songs she heard were, in fact, ones off of the Wedding Album, which makes sense based on her age. To her, this is Duran Duran. After all, this was her first exposure to the band. The brain put the sound of the Wedding Album as the default Duran Duran sound. That isn’t necessarily bad but explains why she doesn’t see the big deal out of the Rio era, for example. She doesn’t get it when I explain that most of the original Duranies turn to the first three albums as the default sound. After all, that was the first Duran Duran we heard. The Duran Duran we fell in love with.

Interestingly enough, the Wedding Era sound is her favorite despite me trying to expose her to other eras. She cannot connect in the same way that she did to Ordinary World and Come Undone. I, on the other hand, find myself seeking out a Rio like sound whether that is the Rio album itself or an album like All You Need Is Now. After all, that is the first Duran I heard. While I can appreciate the Wedding Album sound, it isn’t what typically comes to mind when I think Duran or when someone mentions the band. No, I think about that early 80s era.

So, in thinking about all of this, I have another question. If I wasn’t a kid in the 1980s and I didn’t hear that early Duran, would I have still become the Duranie that I am now? Would the Wedding Album instead be my go to sound if I was born ten years later or would I simply not be into the band? What about my friend? Would she have become a bigger fan if she was born ten years younger?

Then, I broaden this thinking. Was it just about the music? Did I become a fan just because I liked songs like Save a Prayer or New Moon on Monday? Or did it also have to do with everything else that was in place then? For example, I know that I heard Duran first before I ever saw them but what if MTV wasn’t a thing? What if they didn’t make videos? What about all of the media attention? I couldn’t escape seeing Duran Duran on the cover of multiple magazines when I went to the store. They couldn’t be avoided, really. If all that wasn’t enough, Duran Duran merchandise was everywhere. I had Duran Duran pajamas for crying out loud that I bought at my local box store. They were simply everywhere. So, did I become a fan because of the music, the other things or a combination of both?

One thing I always find interesting when talking with my friend is how little video played a role in her life. When talking about Ordinary World, she, in fact, stated, “Yeah, I think I saw the video once on VH1.” I had to take a deep breath after that. Well, then. This has led me to ask about other videos only to discover that she has never seen Hungry Like the Wolf with its exotic locale and missing Simon storyline. She must struggle to really understand why I am so into Duran and how that happened. After all, I do think the context matters, including all that media attention but also where I was, personally, coming from at the time that first heard and saw Duran.

As the conversation moved away from music, I couldn’t help but to think how lucky I was to grow up in the 1980s in order to experience all that I did with music and pop culture. It made me not only the fan I am now but also the person I am.

-A

Simon at BCA Luncheon

Teaching is an interesting gig in that some aspects of the job that I like are also the ones that can frustrate the heck out of me. I was reminded of one of those this week. My job is an intense one in that I’m always busy and there is always way more than needs to get done. This allows for days to fly by. At the same token, it rarely allows me to check in with the rest of the world and when I do, it involves quick glances or short replies. I don’t have the time or the focus to dive into something happening in the world or in Duranland. While I’m glad that my work days don’t drag, I am sad that I miss out on things, particularly when it comes to fandom.

This week, Simon participated in a luncheon as part of the 2019 Cultural Summit, an event put on by the Brevard Cultural Alliance (BCA), which is ” the professional organization representing the arts and cultural sector on Florida’s Space Coast.” The goal of the organization is as follows: Brevard Cultural Alliance provides artist residencies in numerous public schools, has a thriving Art in Public Places temporary exhibitions program, helps buildcollaborative working groups on issues of importance to the sector, supports the development of cultural destination, and holds capacity-building workshops for artists and cultural organizations. BCA administers the County Community Cultural Grant program on behalf of the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners. BCA and the Space Coast Office of Tourism coordinate promotion of events for participating organizations through the Cultural Marketing Initiative. BCA promotes area artists, arts organizations and arts and cultural events to our residents and our visitors.” Simon’s luncheon was a live interview where they advertised that “he’ll reflect on the past, present, and future of Duran Duran, of the music industry, and what success as an artist means.”

This all sounds fascinating to me, especially since people could buy tickets to attend. The idea reminds me a bit of John’s book talks and readings in which fans could buy tickets to hear him read parts of the book and then to also ask questions. I was lucky enough to attend one of those so I can imagine how awesome it must have been for those fans who attended this. (I know Rhonda said something on Twitter about how much we would love anyone who actually attended share their experience via a guest blog. Let me repeat the offer. We would love to from someone there what it was really like!) So, what have I seen about this event? Since I’m playing catch up here, I’ll do my best to share what I could find out about it.

In my search, the first place I looked was at the band’s social media. Both Facebook and Twitter had some photos and video clips. In one of the clips, Simon shared one experience on MTV in which they were joined by Keith Haring, a famous artist in the 1980s. I remember seeing that clip somewhere, sometime. I tried to find it on YouTube with no luck. That said, I remember the first time I saw it how cool I thought it was that this artist was working at the same time that Simon (and I think Nick) were talking. I loved how Duran always had connections to visual artists like Keith, Andy Warhol and more. Simon’s appearance at BCA reminds me that the band’s love of art and connection to it remains strong.

Another video clip focused on how songs really help to connect to other people. In some cases, it might let people know that they are not alone and in others it sheds light into something that others might be going through. I know that this connection that Simon spoke to is what really matters to me. I fall in love with songs when I find a connection to them. Maybe I’m a Duranie for this reason–maybe I have felt a personal, emotional connection to more of their songs than anyone else or the connection is simply stronger with Duran’s music. I think back to the first few listens of Paper Gods. It wasn’t until I found myself relating to some of the lyrics that I really liked the album.

Of course, there was some other press about this luncheon besides what was shared by DDHQ. One article was in Florida Today, which you can read for yourself here. It mentioned a few fans, including ones who met Simon decades ago, named a daughter Rio, held up lots of Rio album covers and more. Simon touched on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, studio work and that he hopes that Duran’s music will just be there. (I think it is safe to say that for many of us it will be. Always.) I appreciated both the recognition of the fans as I always believe that we are a big part of the story but I loved what Simon said about the music.

From what I saw, heard and read, this was a pretty magical experience for those in attendance. Simon seemed charming, personable and open from the video clips I saw. I recommend seeking out the band’s social media as well as people who attended social media. It seems to me that when band members do this type of thing the fans just eat it up. We want to see the band members in a different setting. People would like to ask questions directly. The band members don’t seem untouchable then but relatable, human. More importantly, it works to bring a stronger connection with the fans to the band member but also between fans as I saw lots of fans talking and connecting afterwards on social media. This is the type of thing that keeps fandom going, in my opinion. Good for Simon for participating and good for the fans who attended.

-A

Classic Pop Special Edition Part 2: Rare Photos and Rio

I am finishing up my weekend by taking some precious time to go through and read more of the Classic Pop:  Special Edition for Duran Duran’s 40th anniversary.  Today, I will cover the Rare Photos and Rio album articles.

Rare Photos:

Apparently, this photos that are deemed “rare” came from Kings of the Dark Moon, by Justin Thomas, which is described as a candid photo book that focuses on the rise to fame.  I’m unfamiliar with this book.  Anyone know anything about it?  In looking at these 6 pages of photos, I notice that many of them have a familiar flavor to them.  It feels like I have seen other photos from the same time or place but not these specific ones.  No matter, I love seeing new (to me) photos of the band.  I suspect that this is a carry over from my childhood when I, like so many others, could not get enough pictures of Duran.  I remember trying to one up my friend by having a new picture that I could share with her.  It was like some sort of weird competition except that I don’t recall ever getting angry or annoyed by the results.  After all, we both benefitted by having new pictures to look at!

Classic Album – Rio:

This article obviously dived deep into the band’s second and arguably their most popular album, Rio.  It includes sections on the songs, the band members, the videos and more.  This is one album that I feel like I know a lot about so I wondered if I was going to learn anything new.  I cannot say that the article did have a lot of new information but it did a nice job of combining different sources to tell the story including interviews, John’s autobiography, and more.  I appreciated that they covered the context of recording (the band had just returned from the US), to the album cover, to the remixes, and to the videos.  It was nicely done and would be a great introduction to the album’s history.

The column about the songs on the Rio album was also nicely done.  Again, I’m not sure how much new information I learned but the author summarized what is known about the songs well.  It seems to me that each song has a fun fact included in the article.  For example, it mentions about how the beginning sound in Rio came from Nick throwing iron rods into a grand piano, played backwards.  I love those cool little bits of info!

The little blurbs on the band members were interesting and unlike what I was expecting.  I figured that they would be like how band members’ bios were written in the teen magazines I had read as a kid.  The bios would include family information, birthdates, how they got into music, etc.  These only really included information on influences, when they joined the band and their history within.  For example, Roger’s talked about when he left and when he returned.  What was interesting was Andy’s.  It mentioned that he left in 1986 but did not include any statement about how he returned for awhile during the reunion.  Weird.

The videos section highlighted some of the videos from the Rio album, including Hungry Like the Wolf, Save a Prayer, Rio and the Chauffeur.  I have to say that this section disappointed me the most.  Perhaps, I feel this way because I didn’t learn a whole lot new.  Plus, I disagreed with how the Rio video was interpreted, “Rio encapsulated everything that they were about…a glorious depiction of Eighties excesses:  girls, glamour, yachts, sunshine and fashion, all set to a high-octane soundtrack.”  I think that is what everyone thinks Rio is about.  Yet, I view that video completely differently.  I see a bunch of guys who should have no problem winning over a woman with their money, fashion, location, etc. but they end up falling on their faces as the woman is unimpressed no matter what they do.

Overall, though, this next section of the magazine was well-done.  I look forward to reading more (and reviewing more!).

-A