Tag Archives: Seven and the Ragged Tiger

Tales of Duranlore

Over the weekend, I heard a Duran Duran song I’d never heard before.

Think about that. We’re in between albums, I think I’ve heard everything the band has recorded…so how is that possible?

It turns out, the song I heard is one of Duran-lore, which means it’s a song that some people have long-held as existing, while others swore it did not. In actuality, it is a song that I believe eventually became Seventh Stranger.  That happens during the writing and recording process. You start with what you think is one song, and eventually, it ends up being something else entirely.

Reminds me a little of what Amanda and I have experienced with writing a manuscript. We started with one thing, switched it up and came out with a completely different version that we are now working on which will become something altogether new. Trust the process, so they say! Let’s write a book, it’ll be fun…

ha ha ha

Back to the case in point, I’ve seen a great many things written, asked and implied about this particular song. I’m not posting the link here because my point here isn’t to anger the powers that be or disturb the masses. I don’t honestly care whether the song is real or fake (although based upon the stories I’ve been told – I wholeheartedly believe the people who took the time to explain and share with me). What I find far more interesting is something I’ve titled “Duranlore”.

I grew up in the USA, and as I’ve said before, my world didn’t extend much beyond Glendora or Covina, California. Public transportation where I lived was something you didn’t take unless you wanted to get mugged, or had no other choice (meaning my mom wouldn’t let me step one toe onto any bus!). So I didn’t have the experience of going into Los Angeles or hanging out anywhere outside of my little neighborhood. It comes down to the fact that I’ve got no great 1980s fandom stories to share. From what I gather, that wasn’t the case for my friends in the UK.

I hear so many great stories, or lore, from my friends there. They had a much different experience when it comes to Duran Duran back in the 80s. To me, they were exotic and completely untouchable.  I couldn’t relate to them. They were very enigmatic and otherworldly. They didn’t seem real. I suspect that half of my curiosity about them, even as an adult back during the reunion tour, came from the fact that I’d never even been anywhere near them. I suspect that may be the case for many other fans as well. Yet my friends in the UK knew them and are still familiar faces to the band. They were frequent sidewalk-outside-the-studio visitors.

I can’t help but be envious. I don’t know what that level of recognition or having that type of history feels like.  In contrast, I spent my days between albums going to school, watching MTV, doing normal kid things, I suppose. I didn’t really think or hear about a Duran Duran album until news came out about it on the radio, on MTV, or in one of those teen magazines. That isn’t to say I didn’t spend time being a fan. My albums received ample play, but that was about as close as I could really get to experiencing the band.  In all honesty, my “story” with Duran Duran really didn’t get started until much, much later in life.

Not so for my UK friends. I am always equal parts amazed, impressed, and envious, that so many of them have known one another since childhood.  They met from hanging outside of the studio (or band members homes)!  I love that. They have an entire story that I can’t even relate to, or be a part of, because they met when they were so young and grew up with this band in a way that was impossible for anyone outside of England to really understand. When I say I’m envious, that’s the truth. I’m not jealous of them—I wouldn’t want to take any of that away from them—I just wonder what it must have been like. So, I tend to ask them a lot about it whenever I get the chance.

When I saw the link to this song over the weekend, I listened with the same sort of giddiness I do when I get a new Duran Duran song. The thing is, the song has been around for a while. It’s not new to YouTube, and I know there have been questions about it before. I certainly had questions of my own, and in many ways I’m embarrassed to say that I’d never heard it before. So many die-hard fans have – it’s one of those songs “everyone” knows about. Here I am, Ms. Blogger-lady, and I hadn’t yet. Awesome.

Those who remember Kitty will know that she posted it on her now defunct website, Gimme A Wristband. John has said in the past that the song isn’t Duran Duran (although I am not an expert in sound engineering, it sure as hell sounds like Duran Duran to me). Katy has said this song doesn’t exist (which to be fair, it really doesn’t anymore because the song eventually became something else anyway). Yet my friends, who were there at one of the (many) places the band recorded Seven and the Ragged Tiger album – know it’s real. It is one of those songs that, the more it’s denied, the more it has become something of a treasure. My friends were able to tell me the story behind the recording itself. The quality of the recording is, well, not good – it’s been cleaned up quite a bit so one can hear it – but it’s still pretty muddy sounding. There’s a reason for that. It was recorded through a drain pipe.

That’s the good stuff right here. Imagine a kid taking the time to bend down, and getting what had to have been a horribly distorted recording of a song coming through a drain pipe, just because she was a huge fan! Yet the story doesn’t surprise me one bit, given the fan in question.  I can’t imagine that she actually thought she’d be answering questions about that song and the way she recorded it thirty years later!

I went back and forth about whether or not I’d write about this song here on the blog. It comes down to this: for me, the true importance isn’t about whether the band says it’s real or fake, or what song it is…or was at the time. I wasn’t there to confirm it all, but I believe the people who took time to explain to me how it is that they have a recording of a Duran Duran song that was never released. It doesn’t matter what DDHQ has said in the years since, because they weren’t even there at the time.

No, the point that sticks in my head is the fact that these kids were so into Duran Duran that they spent their spare time (and probably some school time too!) sitting at the studio. They met one another, they became friends, and they experienced the same sort of fandom that many of us had to wait until we were adults to fully experience and enjoy. Think about how so many of us will wait hours in a hotel lobby just to be able to say hi to the band. Then think about the people we’ve met while waiting.

It is from these same friends of mine (ha ha ha) that many of the stories of how Duran Duran’s history all really happened and unfolded comes from.  With all due respect to management, for the die-hards, it’s not about the “story” that they want out there in the general public. After all, that bio and image is a highly polished veneer that is expertly applied to the raw, organic reality.  I think the real “stories” or Duranlore, particularly those that fans are most interested in, come from the fans who were actually there. They aren’t the ones who need to project a certain impression, or put on airs because the reality doesn’t match the pretty PR image that gets albums sold.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely a place for the image created by a hard-working management team, and I have ample respect for that. But there’s also the reality that comes from fans who have been there since day one, or close to it. Rarely does a management team stick with a band from beginning to end. Some fans do, though, and some lived close enough to actually see it happen. The tales of Duranlore these fans share aren’t always pretty, and they’re certainly not polished, but yet – it’s the oral history of people who, in spite of it all, are still fans forty years later.

That says something, doesn’t it?

-R

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

I was beginning to do some cleaning the other day when I ran across my Seven and the Ragged Tiger album.  That’s not really surprising, because I still prefer to listen to vinyl when I have the opportunity, and back in the day, this album was probably my favorite.

On this day in 1984, Seven and the Ragged Tiger went platinum. I don’t know that I ever really thought much about that at the time, but I do remember that nearly everyone I knew had a copy. The slanted DD logo, the design featuring the eye in the middle of the compass/sunburst, the crescent moon and star, the “7” symbol near the right corner, and the photo on the front seemed to be everywhere, from t-shirts and pins to carefully sketched drawings on school folders. I spent hours scouring the album, trying to decipher the map on the back as though it coded with specific directions for fans (I’m still not entirely convinced there’s not a hidden message in there somewhere).  My friends and I knew every single word to every song (probably not unlike those of you reading), and we painstakingly studied each line of lyric as though it were classic prose. If only I’d taken that kind of time with my eighth grade English class….

I know that today, Seven and the Ragged Tiger tends to take a lot of heat from die-hard fans who have now grown up and decided that the album isn’t nearly as good as we once thought. I read a lot about how over-produced it might have been. The space between the notes that Simon talks about enjoying on Paper Gods is pretty non-existent on SATRT. I too, recognize that perhaps the album wasn’t as mind-blowingly perfect as I once thought at the age of thirteen.  I can say that about a lot of music I liked then, though. For me, my love of Seven and the Ragged Tiger isn’t solely about the album itself. The memories I have of that time help to continually elevate the album to superstardom in my head. I loved being a Duranie, and this one album, likely above all others, illustrates that time.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I still get the silliest grin when I hear “New Moon on Monday” or “I Take the Dice”.  That’s really all I need in order to tell me that Seven and the Ragged Tiger is still worth its weight in platinum, and then some.

-R

I light my torch and wave It – video for New Moon filmed 34 years ago!

Not even gonna lie, I love to light my torch and wave it for the New Moon on Monday.

This darn song. It got me from the very first listen. The video certainly did NOTHING to stop me as it was filmed in France on this day in 1984.

Yes, I know the band apparently hates this video. “The dancing” they say. Oh please, Simon. We see you and Mr. “Danceophobia-arms” John Taylor at every single show. Yes, the dancing. We love you for it.

I. Love. It.

Naturally, it’s not JUST the video. I adore the anthemic nature of the song. It is like a giant “call to arms” for all Duran fans.

(note to band: Planet Roaring could have TOTALLY been the follow-up. I’m sad you missed the opportunity to send the song blazing at every single show. Alas…I’ll get over it. Eventually.)

I did love every single second of singing New Moon on Monday at the top of my lungs on the Paper Gods tour, though. There was something very special about hearing the absolute roar go up from the crowd when Sunrise would morph into New Moon. It woke the crowd up as we were transported back to 1984. I felt my teenage energy bursting at the seams, and I just know that the crowd must have been glowing for the band every single night when they’d sing this song. So sure, I’m going to watch the video today. I need no excuse, but anytime I can celebrate another year of my torch being lit because of this song and video in my life, I’ll do it!

-R

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