Tag Archives: Rio video

Rhonda’s Soundtrack

Thanks to Amanda’s shout-out over the weekend, directing me to come up with my own lifetime soundtrack, I have a topic in mind for today!

Duran Duran has been a part of my life for so long, that many of the mile markers I’ve reached along the way have one of their songs attached. In today’s post, I’ll go through some of the songs that stick out, and the memories that envelope each one. It’s important to note that these aren’t all favorite songs, and the memories to which some are attached, aren’t all wonderful. These aren’t songs that I would necessarily listen to each day – maybe I need to do another blog based on that scenario – but these are songs that, when I hear them, stir up the memories I mention. In every way, these are songs that, along with several others, make up the soundtrack for my life.

I’ll echo Amanda’s suggestion that you, dear reader, think of your own. If you’re getting the “sharing” sort of feels, send it our way. We would be happy to provide you the space for posting!

Planet Earth

Every story has a beginning, and this song is mine. Planet Earth was the first song I ever heard by Duran Duran. I’ve had people ask what it was about the song that drew me in, and I find the question so hard to answer. I don’t know what it was. All I can say is that sometimes when you listen to music, you’ll hear something and it just makes your heart wake up. I’ll hear this song even today, and I can feel a little jolt go through me and a warmth spread through my body right along with a smile on my face…and that’s why I haven’t ever stopped being a fan.

Rio

This song is, and will always be, my song of summer. Granted, it isn’t just the song, but the music video that creates visions of the sun, the sea, yachts, and fantastic looking men in suits (I mean really, what more could one want??). I also think this is the video that made me decide that someday when I was grown-up, I would drink champagne aboard my own boat on warm, sunny afternoons. Sold the boat (never happier than THAT day), but the champagne afternoons remain, and I wasn’t wrong about them!

Hungry Like the Wolf

Yes, even this song gets a milestone marker. As I recall, this was the first DD music video I saw, and I watched it with my friend Marsha at her house. I can remember her telling me all about their videos, and how I couldn’t wait to go to her house to watch the whole thing. I can remember sitting on a chair at her house watching this video. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I can remember watching and thinking about how different my impression was of them now that I’d seen them actually moving around and all of that (as opposed to only seeing them in posters or magazines). I don’t know what I was expecting, but I guess my imagination of what they would be like was different? Who knows. I was only 12 or 13 at the time! Just imagine my shock and delight when I first heard some of them speak in the video for Nightboat! Then later, I must have put the album on my birthday or Christmas list (so perhaps in late 1983?). My parents had to order it, and by then Duran Duran was on the tongue of every single middle school girl I knew. So, it was on backorder for a ridiculously long time – something like three months or so. I finally got it in March of 1984 and I still own the VHS copy to this day. Can’t play it, but I can look at the cover!

Do They Know Its Christmas?

Alright, so I know this isn’t a DD song, but they’re on it so it counts. Every single time I hear the opening notes, I think of Christmas 1984. I had been asking for my own telephone for months on end – you would have thought I’d been asking for my own home, the way my mom and dad acted. So on Christmas morning, I opened my presents to find a chocolate phone under the tree. I mean chocolate as in it was candy, not its color. I was not at all pleased, and I was in that rough tween stage to boot. So, when a few gifts later, I opened a box that contained the real phone, my mom immediately took it from me and said I was grounded for two weeks.

Later that night, we drove around looking at Christmas lights, I was sulking in the back seat along with my sister and cousin (who was a Duran Duran fan like me) and this song came on the radio. It is forevermore attached to that memory of getting a telephone in 1984.

Big Thing

This single song reminds me of college, and it is because during my freshman year at Cal State Fullerton, I finally got to see Duran Duran in concert. It was (obviously) during the Big Thing tour, and I saw them at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, which no longer exists. My boyfriend from high school sprung for tickets. I dressed up for the concert, wearing a skirt, stockings, and the whole bit. Obviously, I was insane at the time. Our seats were in the last row of the entire amphitheater…I can remember sitting there thinking “This is it? I can see them better by watching videos on TV!”

I was wrong about that, but it took me a couple of decades to get up closer to the front….

Ordinary World

Oddly, this song is a marker for me because it came out the year I graduated from college. I say “oddly” because as I’m about to explain, the song isn’t attached to great memories. By that time, I’d all but forgotten about Duran Duran, in many ways. I had grown up, and I figured the band had moved on. This song reminded me that they were still around, although I am not going to lie – I never fell in love with the song. (it was a ballad, and by then I was listening to a lot of rock) I can remember this song coming on the radio throughout the summer as I drove to interviews, trying to get a job so that I could take over the payments on my car. It reminds me of my dad – he’d been laid off from his job of twenty years – and how he struggled to find work of any kind. I think of my parents losing their home, having to live in an apartment, and barely getting by. The memories aren’t great in a lot of ways, and I suppose they color my opinion of the song, if not the album as a whole.

Electric Barbarella

Another strange choice given that it’s not a favorite – but this song reminds me of the year 1997. My daughter Heather was born in January of that year. It was both a joyous time, and a struggle as I struggled with postpartum depression. I can remember folding laundry at some point and watching Duran Duran on the Rosie O’Donnell show. They were doing promo for the album, and this was one of the songs they performed that day. The entire Medazzaland album reminds me of my red Chevy Venture minivan -which is a crazy memory to have, I’ll admit! Walt and I bought that van in late 1996, trading in his white Ford Mustang 5.0 to get it – that was painful for him. He didn’t want to part with it, and refused the dealers trade-in offers until I looked at him in the parking lot of the dealership and told him that I wanted that minivan for our family, and he needed to “do the right thing for his wife” and get rid of the car! Medazzaland, indeed.

Sunrise

This song is one of my very favorite – I love the version they do live, best. It is a milestone in my life, and probably one of the most pivotal, because it marks the time when I got involved in the online fan community. This song marks the moment I saw all five original members of Duran Duran together on stage for the first time. It reminds me of the year I joined a message board, made friends, planned a convention, traveled alone for the very first time to New Orleans, and met some of most wonderful people I know. The following year, I traveled to Chicago, saw Dom perform with Duran Duran for the first time, followed the band back to a Chicago hotel and sat in the bar watching Nick and Simon chat with a few fans before heading up to their rooms. It was the weirdest, most surreal thing I’ve ever witnessed – there was hardly anyone there to see them, and I still remained glued to my seat. This song reminds me of that time when I became brave enough to move past the role of “mom” and find a bit of my old self I’d stuffed back into a corner. Still love hearing it, too.

Red Carpet Massacre

There are highs and lows in fandom, and in life. This song marks a desperate low for me in both. Whenever I hear this album, I think of two things: My dad was very ill and died from a lung disease, which rocked my world in a way that not much else could; and it was the time when I realized how cut-throat fandom can be. Mixed in with those things was the birth of my youngest. Don’t get me wrong, her birth was a huge, wonderful ray of sunshine amidst a stormy sky. However, this song, with its razor-edged lyrics and punk attitude, is not a song I’d pair with her. feisty entrance into this world. Well, not exactly anyway (although oddly, when I think of her, she does carry this same sort of in-your-face, defiant spirit. Hmm.)

In late 2008, I traveled to Philadelphia and met up with Amanda for a long weekend. We had three shows lined up: Foxwoods in Connecticut, Atlantic City, and Montclair, New Jersey. I had a horrible attitude about the album, and in hindsight I can see now that I let the year I’d had cast a terrible glow upon the music. That, in tandem with the experience I had that weekend, left me with poor memories from that tour.

Fandom though, wow. The antics that weekend ranged from someone inviting Amanda to ditch me and join her in a club with members of the band, to that same person attaching herself to a well-known guy on the road team, in order to get a VIP ticket and all-access pass. It was all fair in love, war and Duran Duran. I was out of my own league.

Before the Rain

I could have easily picked any song off of All You Need is Now, and they’d all mean the same thing for me. I’ve told the story so many times now that it feels tired – but essentially, the song is attached to memories of hope after disappointment, of making lemonade from lemons, and triumphant returns. I think of the UK a lot, and in particular, I think about one night in Glasgow. Before this past year, I’d have said 2011 was a tough year. Who knew? I have deep respect, admiration, and love, for this song and this album as a whole.


I’m going to say something that will make no sense for 95% of you, and that’s okay, but this song marks a time when I really fell in love with Duran Duran. I think before that, it was mostly infatuation. Dramatic or not, I found a profound sense of, I don’t know, maybe it was respect, or maybe it was something more than that – when I visited their rehearsal space. Simon took the time to come out and talk to the crowd that had gathered. In that time, he was just like the rest of us. I mean, I didn’t see him as this sometimes over-the-top, flamboyant superstar. He was just Simon, and he cared enough that we’d gathered to come out and explain the seriousness of the situation. I felt for him that day, and that trip changed everything about being a fan for me.

I still get goose bumps when I hear the opening chords to Before the Rain, and I will go to my own grave saying that this song is the best opener the band has ever used on tour. Don’t bother trying to change my mind, you can’t.

Last Night In the City

Why on earth did I choose this song? Well, it could have been Danceophobia, so there’s that. If there was ever a song that could have been written to describe Amanda and I, and our relationship with touring and this band, it would have been this one, and really – the entire Paper Gods album has shades of the two of us woven throughout. Not that I think Simon actually wrote with Amanda and I in mind, (don’t send me hate mail!) only that we can certainly find ourselves in the music, as anyone else might. We’re just vocal about it because, well, we write this blog!

This song reminds me of a candle being burned at both ends, and that’s pretty descriptive of the two of us when we’re road tripping. The song reminds me of how I felt waiting for the album to come out, and how I felt when I arrived in Hollywood for that first show on the backlot at Jimmy Kimmel, and later when Amanda and our friend Heather arrived from the airport. I can remember road tripping California with the two of them, and then later on when we met up in Toronto that next summer. Amanda and I have always packed a lot of living into the few days we are together each year – laughing until all hours, sometimes not sleeping at all, reaching up for that sunrise whenever possible, and drinking all of the vodka in the city. It’s not a terrible way to celebrate.

Kind of makes me wonder what will come next.

-R

Like A Hypnotic

Hey, everybody. Welcome to…Wednesday. This is Wednesday, right??

If you’re following along with our Daily Challenges, today’s is your favorite DD video. It has been fun seeing what people post! My own favorite DD video, for today, is Rio. Truth be told, there are a lot of DD videos I enjoy, but the one I tend to always come back to – chances are, it’s because it was one of the first I watched – is Rio. Whenever I think about Duran Duran, MTV and videos, Rio comes to mind, and specifically, the scene I think about most – for some odd reason – is when Simon is underwater and drinks that brightly colored neon pink cocktail. I have no idea why, only that I always think about that scene first. Silly, right?!

I do have a confession though, and that’s when I reposted this challenge yesterday, I quickly scrolled through the list of challenges and didn’t even bother updating them. I was in a hurry, and knew I’d have to schedule a bunch of tweets and Facebook posts to make the whole thing work for everyone, so I just copied, pasted and was done with it. In hindsight, as I was scheduling tweets, I realized that I could have easily revamped and reframed some of these questions to breathe a bit more life into them for 2020. Anyway, as I read over the list of challenges, I started thinking about their videos. If I had to come up with a short list of things that seem to pop up in Duran Duran videos again and again, I’d probably say things like: exotic locations, the band (duh), models, and storyboards (meaning video plots). I’m sure many of you could come up with other things, but those are the three things I notice right off the bat.

Out of those things, I come back to models. Why is it that Duran Duran used models so many times in their videos? It feels so overdone. Yet, here we are. Even Falling Down and Girl Panic used models. I suppose I partially expect them in any Duran Duran video these days, and I’m pleasantly surprised when they’re not included.

Amanda and I have written about the models in their videos before. We’ve touched on the subjects of sexism, and whether or not videos like Girls on Film infringe upon that boundary, or address the exploitation by the modeling industry. I know that many fans have their own opinions as well.

When I was a kid, especially in middle school, but even beyond into high school – I didn’t have a very high opinion of myself. I was a late bloomer when it came to boys, and part of that was because I just didn’t think I was worthy. Even now, when I see photos of myself from that time period from 6th to about 8th grade, I cringe. High school wasn’t a lot better, but I’ll give myself a little credit there, at least. I had frizzy, wavy hair that I had layered (badly), and it gave my entire head a sort of Q-tip type appeal. I had no idea how to dress, how to act, or how to do that thing the other girls did when boys paid attention to them and they acted dumb in response. I can remember proudly announcing to my friends that if that was how I needed to act in order to get a boyfriend, I didn’t need one.

That is when Duran Duran entered the picture. In 6th grade, when other girls my age were throwing themselves at any boy that would pay attention long enough to ask her to “go around”, (in my day that meant walking around campus holding hands, although I don’t remember PDA beyond that being discouraged, either), I found a favorite band. Posters to hang on walls. I could disappear into the fantasy world in my head where I could be myself and never be rejected. Duran Duran were my “boyfriends” before any boy knew I existed, outside of being that weird girl in class. It was WAY safer than dealing with actual, real-life boys.

That was all fine and good until videos came along (so basically, it wasn’t long before my dreams were crushed). In the videos, as we all know, there were models. From Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf, to Girls on Film, The Chauffeur, and so on. Sure, I fawned over Roger, Nick, Simon and John. (no, I didn’t fawn over Andy. I just loved his guitar playing.) It was just very hard not to notice the girls. The women, I should say. I would sit and watch those videos, and somehow, I gleaned the message of “You’re not worthy”. The only women this band (or any band for that matter) would ever be interested in, would be supermodels or similar. l was never one of those teens that thought the women were being exploited. I didn’t think of Duran Duran as misogynists or sexist. Instead, I saw that they were attracted to women who were thin, beautiful and perfect, and I was, well, not any of the above.

At the time, seeing any of them date models, and of course Simon marrying one, did absolutely nothing to squash the feeling I had in my belly. People like me did not end up with men of their dreams. They settled for what they could get. Rockstars were ABLE to date models. Models were practically expected to date, and marry, rockstars. Girls like me were lucky to be paid attention. I was average, and maybe a bit below that given that I was a clarinet player in my high school marching band and a good student. Smart? Sure. Beautiful? Don’t make me laugh. On any given day I would think about the women in Duran Duran videos, and know that I was pretty much the polar opposite in every way.

As an adult, I think I still struggle with the same messaging. Let’s be honest, everywhere we – then teenage girls – looked in the 80s, there were leather mini-skirt clad girls, rolling around on cars or models of perfection in every single music video around. I don’t think I ever said the words “I’m nothing like them” to my friends back in the day—we didn’t discuss such things—but I know I felt them. I said the words to myself all the time. We grew up with the images of what we were supposed to aspire to look like all around us. I don’t think I ever got past it. It isn’t entirely a surprise when I still feel less-than. I think the difference now, is that I feel that way even with fellow fans.

I’ll be fine at a show, and I might even feel good about myself. But then, I’ll see something that immediately drags me back to how I felt in front of the television the first time I saw Hungry Like the Wolf. Maybe I’ll see the high-heeled glamour girls running after a band member who immediately turns and gives them his undivided attention for a photo. They giggle with glee and pose flirtatiously. I might try to tell myself that the women are trying too hard, or that they are “so sad” for chasing after the band member, but the TRUTH is—I immediately put myself back in the box marked “Not good enough”, and that’s without a single person saying a word to me. I inevitably want the floor to swallow me whole, because I know I don’t fit in. I don’t approach band members because, unlike posters on my wall, the guy in front of me is real, and the last thing I want is to be rejected. (and trust me, these days I’m not asking for anything more than a “hello!”) The fantasy is safer. I don’t have to worry about not being a model, or not being perfect.

I don’t actually blame Duran Duran here, although it likely seems that way. I just wanted to write about how messaging affected a woman – then a teenager – like me. They didn’t do anything different from anyone else back then, though. It just happens that the messaging from this band affected me most. I still adore them though, and quite frankly – I married the right guy anyway. Duran Duran, videos, and models go together. I never quite got why it was so important for them to prove—to a predominantly female audience—that they were worthy of the attention of females. We kind of already knew that, didn’t we? I mean…didn’t we?? I’ve had male fans say “Well, they were men. Of course they wanted models in their videos!” Yes, that does make sense. Except, that back in the 80s, it wasn’t men or even boys watching most of the time. It was girls, like me. Some of us not only watched Simon, John, Nick and Simon, but also paid attention to what was being communicated, too.

-R

Rock Legends: Duran Duran

This past Wednesday, I saw a little show entitled “Rock Legends” on AXS TV.  This isn’t a channel I normally turn to but did this night after I did a search for Duran Duran on my TV Guide app.  What is the connection?  Apparently, this series focuses on different legends of music and this week was Duran Duran’s turn.  I had no choice but to turn in and watch it, right?  I am always curious about what they include with these shows, how accurate they are, etc.

Originally, I was going to blog while I watched but I found myself just sitting on the couch in slight shock.  The show followed the usual format of providing their history, including how John and Nick formed the band, the connection to the Rum Runner, the New Romantic period, etc.  Yet, even with the history, the show provides…interesting interpretations.  For example, the reason that the band stopped wearing New Romantic clothing was because they knew that they wouldn’t “go anywhere” with that look, according to the show.  That’s new to me.  I knew that they moved away from the look but I had not heard/read that it was solely to hit commercial success.  Did they not have some success with Planet Earth?  That seemed to be pretty New Romantic in style to me, especially the video.  Another interesting statement was how having Princess Diana claim them as her favorite band increased their stardom and success, internationally.  Apparently, their music or live performances had nothing to do with their increase in success.

Then, there were the facts presented that I found questionable.  For example, at one point, they start talking about the band’s remixes and how they were very creative with them.  This, of course, is true.  Yet, the statement that followed had to do with the fact that the b-side of the singles were remixes.  Sometimes, that is true.  Sometimes, however, the b-sides were new original songs, but, of course, they didn’t dwell on that too much as they moved back to discussing videos with a focus on the Rio video.  The description was like a “Hollywood fantasy” with “conspicuous consumption”.  Of course, what is missed is that the consumption did not win the girl for any of them.  Why?  They were losers in the video.  It is funny, but, somehow, people miss that for the focus on wealth and fantasy.  The miss the humor.  Then again, the yacht for the video was described as Simon’s yacht.  sigh

Speaking of misses, there were some errors in the show that caught my attention.  The first one I noticed was that John and Nick had supposedly met at Birmingham Polytechnic, which most Duranies could tell isn’t true.  They lived around the corner from each other and were childhood friends.  Second, they made it seem like Andy was the third member to join as opposed to Roger.  A few minutes later into the show, the “experts” discussed the Girls on Film video.  One “expert” stated that Girls on Film was “consciously” made for the Playboy channel.  Hmm….I always heard that it was for nightclubs that were showing videos.  Perhaps, the error that really shocked me was when they called Seven and the Ragged Tiger the band’s second studio album.  Huh?!?!  Even as the show moves into 1984 and their description of Sing Blue Silver, I pondered where in that documentary does it show Duran Duran on tour buses as described in the show?!  I remember planes and limos.  Heck, I remember boats, even, but tour buses?!  Finally, I didn’t realize John left Duran Duran because he was more interested in Power Station.  While I’m aware that Power Station recorded a second album in the late 1990s, John didn’t actually appear on that album or go on that tour.

Beyond the errors, there were other choices in the show that made me almost recoil.  The biggest example of this is how they chose to cover the band’s career.  Like many of these shows, the majority of the time is allotted to the early days and the massive commercial success.  What this means, of course, is that the rest, which covers about 30 years has to be squeezed in an half hour.  This small amount of time means that some albums barely get talked about or…not at all, including All You Need Is Now.  While I appreciated the inclusion of Paper Gods, I was not okay with them skipping All You Need Is Now.  Frankly, I want all the albums discussed, to some extent.  Perhaps, they would have had space to discuss that album if they had not talked Arena, the film.  I think that is one that most Duranies overlook and with good reason.  Another choice made by the show that didn’t surprise me but bothered me is how they talked about the band and the fans.  For example, the very first line of the show is from some “expert” who says, “Duran Duran was so superficial, they’re deep.”  insert an eye roll here  Superficial?  On the contrary, I would argue that there is much more to Duran Duran than what is seen on the surface and I’m very sorry that this man cannot see that.  A few minutes later, they are described as a band that “reveled in being pop stars”.  Again, I would argue that this person only saw the surface.  As for the fans, the only time Duranies were mentioned were as “screaming” fans, fans who were upset by Nick, Roger, or Simon getting married or in relation to the band being “pin-ups” and “teen idols”.

Yet, of course, with all of my criticism, I always enjoy seeing shows on Duran Duran.  There is always a part of me that watches with a little bit of pride especially when a show wants to acknowledge their legendary status.  That said, there are many documentaries out there that do a better job providing the band’s history while describing their success, including ones like Behind the Music.  Perhaps, I also appreciate that these other shows feature the band members themselves telling the story versus music “experts”.  Plus, whenever I hear significant errors or stereotypes about the band and their fans, it is hard for me to love the show.

-A