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Top 80's Duran Duran Songs
Duran Duran, consisting of singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor, and guitarist Andy Taylor, with none of the Taylors related, was formed in Birmingham, England in 1978 and became one of the biggest bands of the 1980's. Part of the "Second British Invasion", the band's impeccable style and photogenic good looks earned them the nickname "the prettiest boys in rock". Their artsy, and somewhat controversial, music videos were a big influence on the MTV era; they were one of the first bands to have their videos shot by professional directors with 35 mm film movie cameras.
Their repertoire consists of thirteen studio albums and forty singles as of this writing, but here we will concentrate on Duran Duran's top songs of the 1980's.
"Hungry Like the Wolf" (1982)
The band's second album, Rio, spawned the hit "Hungry Like the Wolf", which was released in the UK May of 1982. It peaked at #5 there and #4 in Ireland, but failed to reach the charts in the US at that time. It was re-mixed and re-released in the US in December of that year. It began to get a little airplay, but when MTV began airing the video in heavy rotation at four times a day, the song became very popular, finally peaking at #3 in March of 1983. It was their breakout hit in the US and one of their signature songs.
Filmed in Sri Lanka, the video had a Raiders of the Lost Ark feel to it, that featured lush jungles, elephants, cafes, and a tiger-like woman being chased by Simon Le Bon. At the 26th Grammy Awards, it won the award for Best Short Form Music Video and ranked 11th on MTV's century end "100 Greatest Videos Ever Made".
"Union of the Snake" (1983)
As the lead single off their Seven and the Ragged Tiger album, "Union of the Snake" was released in October of 1983 and peaked at #3 in both the US and the UK, and #1 in Canada and Finland. After a lot of speculation on what the song was about, Le Bon eventually claimed that it was a reference to Tantric sex.
The video, filmed in Australia, featured the band being followed through the dessert by a half-man, half-lizard type of creature before ending up underground. It's a Simon-centric video, with the other band members making brief appearances.
"The Reflex" (1984)
"The Reflex" was released in April of 1984 and became the band's most successful single. It became their first #1 hit in the United States on June 23, 1984, and stayed at the top of the charts there for two weeks. Elsewhere, it was their second #1 on the UK charts, and also reached the top spot in Belgium, The Netherlands, Canada, and Ireland.
The video for the song is a concert performance video from their Sing Blue Silver Tour, shot at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Because the band didn't want their videos to appear plain and ordinary, there was a video screen above the stage that showed the images of naked models wearing chains and collars lit up with black light, and computer graphics that were cutting edge at the time.
"The Wild Boys" (1984)
"The Wild Boys" was the only studio song from the live album Arena, released in 1984. Reaching #2 in the US and the UK and #1 in Germany, Canada, and Italy, it reached #3 in Australia, making it Duran Duran's highest reaching chart single there.
The song was written based on William S. Burrough's 1971 novel, The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead, and was penned with the video in mind, which portrays each band member in some sort of predicament. At that time, the video overtook Michael Jackson's "Thriller" as the most expensive ever made, costing over one million dollars. At the 1985 Brit Awards, "The Wild Boys" was named Best British Video.
"A View to a Kill" (1985)
"A View to a Kill" has the distinction of being the only James Bond theme to reach #1. It was the last song recorded by all five members together until their reunion in 2001. John Taylor was a huge James Bond fan and approached Bond producer Cubby Broccoli, asking him, "When are you going to get someone decent to do one of your theme songs?" Thus, the song was born. On July 13, 1985, the song hit #1 in the United States, where it stayed for two weeks. It also reached the top of the charts in Canada, Sweden, and Italy, and #2 in the UK.
The video is fun but somewhat campy, interlacing scenes from the movie with scenes of the band members acting as spies and assassins on the Eiffel Tower.. At the end of the video, a woman comes up to Le Bon, asking him, "Excuse me... aren't you...?" as he then answers in James Bond fashion, "Bon. Simon Le Bon."
In 1986, the band reached a turning point in their career. After Live Aid, both Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor left the band, and the now three-piece band of Simon, John, and Nick released the album Notorious. The first single off that album was "Notorious", which reached #2 in the U.S. and #1 in Italy and Canada.
The video was pretty simple compared to past endeavors, featuring the band performing on a soundstage with scantily clad models dancing, including model Christy Turlington in the outdoor scenes. It looks very similar to Steve Winwood's "Higher Love"; it was shot by the same people, Peter Kagan and Paula Greif.