Tag Archives: Seven and the Ragged Tiger

You Caught Me in Your Web of Youth

It is Lyric Day Friday!  My shuffle resulted in the song, Love Voodoo.  Like many Duran songs, when I looked at the lyrics, many, many lines could have been chosen for the inspiration of the blog post.  Before I got overwhelmed, I decided to focus in on the first one that caught my attention.  The line, of course, is “You caught me in your web of youth.”  It immediately reminded me of fandom, my Duran Duran fandom, to be specific, despite my lack of youth and the band’s lack of youth.  Still, I became a fan as a kid when the band members were really young, themselves.

Whenever my students find out that I’m a Duran Duran fan, they want to know right away how old they are and if they were any good.  Yes, they use the past tense.  It makes me crazy.  I immediately correct that assumption and explain that the band still creates music to this day.  As for their second question, I have tried to explain that they were the most popular band when I was a kid.  Each time I tell that, I feel inadequate in convincing them of the truth of my statement.  I try to reassure myself that no matter what I say, they cannot really get it.  They weren’t around then.  After that, the next common questions are, “Why do you like them?  Have you liked them for a long time?”  Again, I try my best to answer but never feel like I capture their appeal.

I cannot remember the first time I heard or saw Duran Duran.  As a kid, in the early 80s, I do remember listening to B96, Chicago’s Top 40 radio station.  I recall turning the dial on the TV to MTV or staying up “late” to tune into Friday Night Videos.  I’m certain that the first place I saw/heard Duran was on one of those sources.  I doubt it was anything from the first album.  I simply was too young and wouldn’t have tuned in then.  It could be something off of Rio.  I’m not sure what exactly.  The first songs I remember really connecting with are the first couple of singles from Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  One memory that stands out in my head is hearing New Moon on Monday on the radio at my then best friend’s house.  If my memory is accurate, I was staying there overnight while the rest of my family was out of town, trying to look for a house for us to move to, which would bring us closer to my dad’s new job.  I distinctly remember laying in my friend’s bedroom, trying to go to sleep while the radio played softly, when that song came on.  While I liked the song, it wasn’t until their videos that the band really caught my attention.

To the kid version of me, every video I saw seemed so cool.  First of all, I was drawn to the way they looked.  At this point in my life, I was living in a Chicago suburb, a working class suburb, no less.  People in my neighborhood, in my suburb did not dress up.  They tended to work in blue collar jobs, in factories.  Even my dad, who was a manufacturing manager, did not really dress up to go to work as he worked in an office within a factory.  He wore steel-toed shoes for protection and never wore his wedding ring, in case he used the machinery.  The only time I remember my parents, extended family or neighbors really dress up was for something like a wedding, a very special occasion.  On top of all of that, even their dress clothes weren’t fancy or anything fashion-forward.  No, they all dressed rather conservatively and all people stuck to their assigned gender role.  Women wore dresses with pantyhose and short heels while the men picked a suit jacket and button down top.

This, of course, is the exact opposite of Duran Duran.  They wore colorful clothing that was unique and fashion forward.  I remember thinking to myself that I would love to dress like them, but that my family could never afford style like that and that I wouldn’t even know where to go to get clothes like that!  Their fashion choices included things like fancy belts, leather pants, and fedoras.  They looked nothing like the men and boys I knew.  Heck, I also adored that they didn’t stick to their gender.  I never questioned the make-up.  I just knew that I liked what I saw.  Overall, they oozed cool.

If that was not enough, the videos and concert footage showed a group of friends who had so much fun.  Goodness, just writing this brings up scenes from Sing Blue Silver where the band is laughing and having fun together.  While I didn’t need to see them having fun or being with a group of friends to think they were amazing, these images added to the coolness to create a package that I had no choice, but to fall hard for.  As a young kid and preteen, I wanted to be them.  I longed for my upcoming teenage and young adulthood to be the cool that my childhood was far from.  The fantasy I focused on then wasn’t about becoming one of their wives but about being as cool as they were.  That was more important to my geeky self.

By the time 1985 rolled around, I was definitely caught in their web of youth.  They showed me that everyone does not have to be like those around me.  No, there was a whole colorful, cool world out there.  As a kid, it gave me something to look towards to determine what to do, how to dress, etc.  Obviously, this web that they created is a strong one as I’m still here, over 35 years later.

-A

Union of the Snake released in 1983

On this date in 1983, Union of the Snake was released. That makes this record 34 years old.

I actually had to do the math there because it doesn’t sound right.

Then I check the release date again, even though I know 1983 is correct.

Thirty-four years?

I remember brushing my teeth in my childhood bathroom during this same period of time My younger sister burst through the door, as she often did because we shared the hall bathroom and she loved to annoy me (still does, as I am sure that I’ll get a text from her at some point about this very post). She triumphantly announced that she had heard Union of the Snake by Duran Duran. She sang a line as I challenged her assertion, and then she watched my reaction in the mirror. I tried to hide my irritation, because I didn’t want her to know that she’d accurately pushed my buttons. I kept my head down, rinsed my toothbrush, and nonchalantly walked out of the bathroom.

Incredulous that she’d actually heard Union of the Snake, I raced into my bedroom and scanned the radio, hoping to hear it for myself. I don’t know how long it was before I finally heard the song. I was pretty sure she had been faking it when she said she’d already heard it, but she wasn’t all that far off with the melody or the words! She swears to this day she was just guessing as she teased me, and I still remember how annoyed I was by the idea that she might have heard something about Duran Duran before I had.

That sort of thing still goes on to this day, although my sister isn’t the one trying to push my buttons most of the time. It’s my husband. He would love for nothing more than to learn of some juicy detail before  me and he never lets me forget for a single second that he was the one to come up with idea for Daily Duranie. He also dreams of the day I’ll let him guest blog…

Dreams are free,  as are memories. 🙂

-R

 

 

 

 

Duran Duran Sendai Sports Center 1984 – Do You Remember?

So yesterday, I blogged about Seven and the Ragged Tiger going platinum. In that blog, I made mention that the Sing Blue Silver tour was in full swing.  This is true, the tour began the following year in November, making its way through Australia and then to the UK, taking a break over the winter holidays. Then beginning the 1984 dates with this one at the Sendai Sports Center in Japan.

My memory of the Sing Blue Silver tour always encompasses 1984. Back in that day, I suppose I was not terribly in tune with what went on in the rest of the world. I was young, and the world felt so much larger, without the internet to bring us together and bridge the distance.  I would imagine that for the fans in the UK, they remember 1983 being their year, and are likely still a bit offended that the Sing Blue Silver DVD centered around the American dates. I can only assume that since the goal was to break (and keep) America, since that was where the money flourished, they chose to document the tour there as well.

As I sit here trying to think back, I also must admit that for me, my memory of Duran Duran—particularly concert-wise—sort of begins with the Sing Blue Silver tour. While I was a fan prior to 1984, I don’t remember hearing the band touring (although they definitely did!).  When I look back through the tour list, I see dates in Los Angeles as early as 1981, but they were mainly in clubs and I was ten years old. In 1982 when the band toured again for Rio, they played venues like the Greek Theater, and I was eleven by then. All of that time is so fuzzy for me, that when I try to write about what it was like to be a fan back then, all I can really remember is sitting on the floor at my friend Marsha’s house and listening to their records over and over again, or calling radio stations and begging to have them play whatever song was my favorite at the time. The rest of my memories are sort of out of synch. I’ll get vague flashes of sitting on the grass at school and talking about Andy Taylor, or giggling over the Rio video (I don’t know why, but I was really fascinated with Simon drinking the glass of neon whatever-it-was under the water), or getting red in the face watching Roger be kissed by the girl in Hungry Like the Wolf.  I was really young.  I just can’t put the memories in any sort of chronological order to be sure of what happened when (definitely an issue when writing about my fan history with this band).

So for me, the Sing Blue Silver tour is really the first I remember, and even then, I didn’t actually go.  It wasn’t as though I went from hearing Planet Earth one day on the radio, to hearing Rio and then suddenly the band was everywhere, but in my memory, that’s kind of how it unfolds.

Yesterday I said I wouldn’t go back to being thirteen. That’s probably true. I had a tough time in middle school. I was picked on a lot, and I was really awkward. I so desperately wanted to be popular and accepted, and unfortunately I think that just made it worse. The last thing I’d want to do is go back and relive that a second time. However, all that said, I wish I could have told the twelve or thirteen year old me to take accurate notes because I would need them later. Who knew?!?

So while Sendai, Japan was very much on the other side of the planet to me, the date marks the beginning of Duran time that I remember fairly well. Duran Duran were on the top of the world, and we were all riding the wave.

One of my friends likes to use the saying “ride it until the wheels fall off”.  I’m still hanging in there, 33 years later. How about you, do you remember any of this in 1984?

-R

 

Seven and the Ragged Tiger Goes Platinum! Do You Remember?

On this date in 1984, Seven and the Ragged Tiger went platinum.

First of all, do you remember when Duran Duran albums used to go platinum?  Better yet – do you remember when ANY of your favorite artists had platinum records? This of course, is not a statement about the band—it’s about the music industry in general.  In other words, it isn’t the quality of the albums that has gone down, it is sales in general. Very few artists have albums that go platinum these days. I’ll take ten minutes in the Billboard Top Ten any day and be happy.

So, I’m going to think back to a happier time in 1984, when I still listened to radio, and Duran Duran was the biggest band in the world. Of course, that is slightly offset by the fact that on this date in 1984, I was a frizzy haired, awkward thirteen year old. I was in eighth grade, I believe (if my math is correct!), and I made a pilgrimage to my local record store nearly every week with my friend Marsha so that we could each buy magazines. She was so cool that she actually subscribed to Billboard, but I had to buy it off the rack when I had extra money. If I remember right, Billboard magazine was pretty expensive, so a lot of times I’d just thumb threw her copy and settle for magazines like Teen Beat or Bop! 

I do remember the week Seven and the Ragged Tiger went platinum though, because we were in her mom’s van, and Marsha thrust her Billboard under my nose, telling me to read about Duran Duran’s platinum record.

It is funny how, in hindsight, I can remember how blasé I was about the entire thing. It didn’t occur to me that platinum records were so hard to get. After all, back then Duran Duran made it look easy.  For instance, Seven and the Ragged Tiger went double platinum. I don’t think I gave a thought that they might ever stop getting platinum records, either. (and for the record, after Seven and the Ragged Tiger – there were only two more (US) platinum records for the band: Notorious, and Duran Duran (The Wedding Album). Talk about taking the band’s career for granted!

In 1984, Duran Duran was everywhere. I couldn’t go to the grocery store or the record store without seeing them on the covers of magazines, or having huge posters of them greeting me. It wasn’t just a treat to hear them on the radio—they were in near constant rotation.  The Sing Blue Silver tour was in high gear, and in just under a month it hit the Los Angeles Forum. (not that I attended, and yes, that fact still stings) Duranmania was in full swing, and I was caught up in the wave, like nearly everyone else. I never gave a single thought to it all ending. I don’t know if I thought it would go on forever, or if I was just so caught up in the moments of adolescence that it never occurred to me that I’d grow up.

Oddly though, I don’t crave the idea of being thirteen again.  Sure, writing the blog gives me a chance to be nostalgic from time to time, but I’d never go back. Would you?

Do you remember Seven and the Ragged Tiger going platinum in 1984?

-R

Do You Remember? DD at Wembley Arena, 1983

On this very date in 1983, I was thirteen, which put me in eighth grade. (it took me a remarkably long time to figure that out this morning…) I was somewhere in the middle of “I’m nervous about growing up” and “I know more than my parents do about everything”.  Ah yes. When I put it in those terms, I remember the time and age perfectly! Additionally on this very date in 1983, Duran Duran played Wembley Arena.

Just a month earlier, Seven and the Ragged Tiger had been released, and this show was one date of five at Wembley Arena. The tour was named Sing Blue Silver….perhaps you’ve heard about it over the years.  Beginning in Australia, these dates in the UK took place just before the band headed off to Japan and then on to Canada and then the US.

(Sometimes, I just have to wonder how these tours get planned. First to Australia and then to UK and then back to Japan and on to the states?? Were they trying to kill the band??)

The excitement surrounding Duran Duran was nowhere near diminishing here in the states, and I have to imagine that also held true for the UK.  This is the part of my “Duran Duran history” that is foggiest for me. I lived in the states, far removed from the “inner-happenings” of Duran Duran.  I didn’t attend any shows prior to 1989, and for me, the Sing Blue Silver tour is still sort of an enigma. It’s like a dream that I’ve only witnessed from afar! So, if any of our readers went to the shows at Wembley Arena or were in the UK during this period—I’d love to hear from you in the comments. The memories weave a great story!

Duran Duran, Wembley Arena, December 20th, 1983.  Do you remember?

-R

 

My Own Way: Album Ranking

Welcome to Monday. It is my first day back after a nearly a week of festivities, and so I’m going to start slow…by doing my own ranking of albums.

In full disclosure, I read diffuser.fm’s take on Duran’s career, as well as Amanda’s, prior to making my own choices. Both gave me a little more to think about, but neither swayed my decisions. I know we’ve done this before, but as Amanda mentioned, I haven’t even considered it since Paper Gods came out.  Why not revisit?

My own countdown is devised so that I mention the album and the reasons for where it sits. Some albums may have a paragraph, others might have a sentence or two. I left Arena off of my list completely as it only has one studio song on it and if I were to rank live albums I would do them all.

I’ve learned that I cannot hem and haw around while I am ranking things or picking favorites. I feel a little like I’m mowing down the field of Duran Duran albums as I go through the process, quickly deciding what should go where and why – but I go with my first instinct, my gut, and don’t look back. I do fine as I begin, but somewhere around #8 I start worrying, but remind myself to go with  my gut. I look back over the list as I’m finishing and realize that for now – today even – it’s how I feel. Tomorrow?  Who knows.  That’s kind of how it’s always been for me as a fan.

Perhaps it’s really gotten to the point that I identify so closely with their career – each album marking a particular point in my own life – that it’s difficult to be objective anymore. I don’t know, but I tried. I’m sure I’m not the first fan to be stumped by ranking albums or picking favorite songs. In fact, I know I’m not!

Thank You

I just never felt they hit their stride here. While some songs, such as Perfect Day or Lay Lady Lay are so silky smooth you can’t help but enjoy them, others, such as 911 is a Joke, make no sense at all.  Then there’s White Lines, which is great live, but on the album it tends to fall flat. I can’t fault the band too much for trying something few other bands of their calibre have done, but it just does not rank high on my list of favorites.

Red Carpet Massacre

Anyone who knows me probably saw this coming, and I’m sorry for being predictable. I don’t think this album can or should be swept under the proverbial carpet and forgotten – because it is how we got here, to this place we all currently occupy. I can certainly see and hear the parallels between this album and Paper Gods. I’m glad they tried out some of the things they learned from RCM over again to get them right.

Pop Trash

I would characterize Pop Trash as the fast food of Duran Duran’s career.  Perhaps fitting? While the album is nowhere near “bad”, I never felt that there was a lot for me to sink my teeth into and devour.  It lacks the depth of some of their other work, which is why it ended up in this place on my list.

Medazzaland

Ah, Medazzaland.  If there were any album that had changed for me over the years since it’s release – it would be this one.  I just didn’t get it when it first came out. In fact, I listened to the album in full one time before shelving it for many years. Lately though, I’ve listened to it, and I’m finally starting to get it. No, I’m still not a fan of the title track (sorry Nick), or Silva Halo, but I do really like Big Bang Generation, Who Do You Think You Are, and Midnight Sun. There’s a lot hiding amongst the shadows on this album, and I think it’s worth a revisit.

Liberty

How can I rank this above Pop Trash or Medazzaland? 2am drives from Hollywood, that’s how.  Our personal experiences shape our listening choices, and for me – that’s why Liberty works. It kept me awake many times during college and beyond, so I’m going with it.

The Wedding Album

I have to admit that I agree with Amanda – while there are two songs on this album that are iconic for Duran Duran, the album as a whole isn’t nearly as impressive as others (which I recognize is tough to do when you’re Duran Duran and have had so many successes).  So it’s not that I think the album is bad – it’s that the band has too many great ones!

Astronaut

Oh yes I did rank this one about The Wedding Album. Please see the line about personal experiences.  For me, this album is all about the Fab Five. I can’t ignore it, I can’t get past that, and it was a dream come true for me. Yes, it’s pop. Sure, there are songs on it that I didn’t love and I still take it personally that they didn’t include Beautiful Colors, Salt in the Rainbow and Virus on it. Even so, I’ll take it.

Notorious

I am pretty sure that at one point or another, I ranked this lower on my list. Again, I didn’t get it. But just a week ago, I pulled the album out and gave it a good listen. What is most remarkable to me about Notorious, is that it came after Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Those albums were hugely successful. Then they had two band members leave, and rather than sticking with what they knew, they took the opportunity to blaze new territory. It was like deciding to take a giant left turn out of nowhere. As a child, I had little respect for that sort of thing. In fact, I don’t think I really understood.  Even as an adult I sometimes get caught up in what I think DD should be or should sound like – but I’m working on it.

Big Thing

Another album I didn’t really get until adulthood. The first half is as dance music as I’d expect from DD, and the latter is the culmination of some of their finest songwriting moments. The emotion that comes across threw the B side of this album is astounding, and in my opinion, it is the best DD album that no one has really heard.

Paper Gods

Here’s the thing about Paper Gods for me – I like it. I don’t know that I love it, although I’ve tried. It ticks a lot of the boxes for plenty of people, but it is also an album that I really needed to come to terms with. I didn’t fall in instant love, but I would say I’ve grown to respect each song and the work that went into making the album overall. I can’t fault an album that hit top ten, if only for a brief, shining moment.

Seven and the Ragged Tiger

This goes bad to personal experiences for me. This album is my seventh grade wrapped in vinyl. Awkward, sometimes overdone, but still well-loved. Sure, it might not be their best songwriting, but I love it all the same, and that’s why it is near the top of my list. All I have to do is hear the opening notes to Union of the Snake and I’m back on the lawn with my friends at recess, gawking at the latest edition of Tiger Beat. For me, those memories are priceless, and that is what makes music so powerful.

Rio

I know what you all are thinking.  Yes, I really did put Rio third. The trouble is, it could easily be second. Or first. The final three on my list here are probably interchangeable, if not completely tied. I cannot think about Duran Duran without thinking about Rio. If there were ever a reason why Hungry Like the Wolf is played at every single DD show – it is because of Rio. Try as we might, we simply cannot separate Rio (the album) from the band, in the same way that we cannot separate HLTW from them either. I get it. I may not always like it, but I get it. And I respect it.

All You Need is Now

It pains me that the band left this song, and many songs from this album, off of their set list this past year. For me personally, this album is easily as iconic as Rio. It describes the band, and their relationship with their audience, to a T. To think that Duran Duran wrote this album during their third decade together simply blows me away. It is an album that never got it’s justice, and it is still one of my very favorite.

Self-titled Debut

I really don’t think it is all that surprising that one of my favorite albums is the one that started it all for them, and for me. I love the rawness, the lack of expectation, and the realness of the music. There is no ego here, no trying to outdo what has already been done. It is simply music from  a band ready to take it’s place in the world.  This is an album from Duran Duran before they were DURAN DURAN, and it is the most real we’ve ever gotten from them. that is why it remains number one for me.

My choices weren’t all that surprising, but the exercise was fun. I don’t anticipate others to agree with me – in fact, you shouldn’t. We all have had our own journey, and that is what makes it all fun.  I’m no music expert, and I only have my own taste to rely on, so by all means make your own list and have fun with it.

-R

 

 

My Seven and the Ragged Tiger Story

Last weekend, I blogged about Duran Duran’s third studio album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, which you can read here.   In that blog, I listed the facts of the album, including who was on it, the singles, the videos and more.  While that certainly provides the Duran Duran history, it does not describe how fans felt about that album.  Thus, I wanted to take time to share my story, my feelings about the album.  Then, I invite all of you to share your stories, too!

In 1983, I turned 8.  I lived in the suburbs of Chicago where I had everything that I could hope for, including a best friend and activities to keep us busy.  When my best friend and I hung out together, we always had the radio on, most specifically B96, the Top 40 radio station.  If we were in the “TV room”, then MTV played in the background.  For some reason, both of us preferred to have something on in the background while we played “store” or whatever else we did for fun.

As all of you know, both radio and MTV frequently played Duran Duran in 1983.  By that point, they embraced songs and videos from the Rio album.  Both my friend and I liked those songs and videos we heard from that album, but they still were more in the background rather than in the foreground for us.  Age mattered.  Duran Duran released Seven at just the right time.  Union of the Snake premiered first.  I enjoyed it but it didn’t grab me.  New Moon on Monday, though, began to really burrow its way into my brain like any good ear worm.  More than the fabulous chorus, I recall watching the video for New Moon on Monday and loving it.  (I still love it.  It is my favorite video, by far.)  I loved the storyline and thought the guys looked great!

Oh, yes, by early 1984, my interest grew to officially liking the band. Discussions between my friend and I surrounded the band for the first time.  We started to spend some of our money on books, magazines and any other merchandise we could find as we debated which guy we liked best.  Initially, I liked all of them with a slight pull to Simon.  I liked his main character role in the New Moon on Monday video.  Yet, I also liked the friendship aspect of John and Nick during that same video.  I was slightly conflicted!

Then, the Reflex premiered and changed everything!  The conflict ended as I fell hard for a certain bass player after watching the video over and over and over!  There was just something about John Taylor during that video that got to me.  Not only that, I loved the song.  Loved it!  My best friend adored it as well.  We were so ridiculous that we called each other on the phone each time that the song came on the radio or appeared on MTV.  We couldn’t get enough and our parents allowed it for some crazy reason.  Clearly, we were officially Duranies from then on!

From that point, our fandom took on big roles for each of us, individually, but also for our friendship.  Instead of playing store or swinging in my backyard, we now watched MTV all the time while we poured over teen magazines, memorizing each and every fact.  Our bedroom walls featured nothing but Duran Duran posters.  We lived and breathed Duran Duran.

So, while many Duranies claim the first album or Rio made them serious fans, for me, it was Seven and the Ragged Tiger.

-A