The Slow But Hungry Wolf

On this day in 1982, Duran Duran performed Hungry Like the Wolf on Top Of the Pops. Shortly thereafter, the single peaked at #5 in the UK. It would be almost a year before the wolf had reached its peak in North America (February 1983). That gap in time is one of the most crucial periods in the Duran Duran story and one that would never happen in today’s industry.

The single initially flopped in the U.S. when it was released there in June of 1982 and Rio‘s success was in dire straits internationally. Everyone knows the impact MTV ultimately had on the single and the album. Without a show like Top of the Pops, MTV was a new lifeline for bands trying to break America and Duran Duran played their cards perfectly in that regard. However, the remixed version of Hungry Like the Wolf by David Kershenbaum might have been just as critical in breaking Duran Duran in a massive scale.

As a whole, I don’t love the Kershenbaum remixes but in the case of Hungry Like the Wolf, I think the remix (basically, a night version) that appears on my US pressing of the album is better than the original. For one, I love the longer intro which helps build the energy coming out of Lonely In Your Nightmare. Secondly, and headphones really bring this out, the Kershenbaum remix has a lot more of Roger’s hi-hat work in the mix which adds to the excitement of the track.

In essence, this remix takes a New Romantic pop single that rocketed up the UK charts and makes it more radio friendly based on what US audiences were expecting to hear in late 1982. However, within the context of the Rio album, I think the remix ends up working better in that regard as well. Like I said earlier, I do not always think that with re-worked albums. I much prefer the debut with To The Shore and the night version of My Own Way is the better version to my ears. But in this case, Kershenbaum delivered a perfect remix that helped break the band beyond MTV in America. Do you agree?

2 thoughts on “The Slow But Hungry Wolf”

  1. The guitar and bass are also brought much more forward in the Kershenbaum mixes because it was believed that the American radio audiences appreciated more of a rock sound. It’s amazing to me how little I pay attention to the differences until I sit down and really listen, though.

    To my ears, I have to admit that I prefer the Kershenbaum mix of HLTW, which is also much more akin to how they play the song live, of course. I’m a rock girl and love the guitar….. 😀 -R

  2. In a strange irony HLTW hit #1 on the rock chart that summer while getting little top 40 attention. Rock stations (basically either AOR or Punk/New Wave)were playing it but not top 40. I once bought one version of the album on tape and a later tape when it broke and they sounded differently That’s when I heard about this difference.

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