Duran Duran - Rio - My first album
Do you remember your first album?
It may not have been the first album that I owned, but Duran Duran's was the first album I ever bought with my own money and that's always going to be special - it must be, I remember it now and it was easily 30 years ago! Rio
I was in my early teens and I'd been saving up my pocket money for quite some time to be able to do this. It was a Saturday afternoon and my Dad had brought me into town to go shopping. In those days that's what you did on a Saturday - you couldn't go shopping on a Sunday as all the shops were closed - and one of the main places to buy LPs (yes vinyl records - none of your CDs or MP3s around at this time) was WHSmith. Nowadays 'Smith's' as we called it, is mainly known for stationary and books, but back then there was a section in their stores for records and this was the start of my relationship with 7", 12" and LP records.
As I grew older and became more independent there was nothing I loved more than leafing through records on a Saturday afternoon in all the local music shops, and I found over the years that there were some great independent shops as well as the high-street chains.
Why pick this?
There was only ever going to be one choice really for my first album purchase. I was at an age when the first stages of adulthood were starting to emerge and for a young girl turning into an adult, having a connection with a pop band is probably par for the course.
For me that was going to be Duran Duran. Looking back I can't tell you the one reason why; there were probably a few... I guess the first one might be the fact that this was the first band and their music that I liked that wasn't influenced by my family. As well as being brought up on books, music had had quite a part to play in my life. I remember listening to folk-rock bands that my parents loved, singing along to ABBA and the Carpenters, and even eventually loving the Police as a result of my Dad's like for them. But Duran Duran were different - they were mine; my choice.
Why? Probably because they were - different that is. This was the start of the New Romantics, well kind of. Duran Duran hit the pop scene in February 1981 with their single Planet Earth and I'd quite liked that and it went on from there. Their music was catchy, the lyrics were certainly different (I've said it before and I'll say it again - no-one writes lyrics like Simon Le Bon) and they looked awesome - they just weren't run-of-the-mill. And they got more and more popular.
Their first album Duran Duran released three singles and by the time of Rio they came out with four from that and though they'd hit the charts with the first few songs, when the singles and videos came out from Rio, we were getting into serious pop adulation.
The early eighties was the real start of the music video and Duran Duran hit the headlines with their videos for three of the singles, as they'd flown off to exotic locations to film them. Antigua was where Rio was filmed on a yacht in fancy coloured suits and Sri Lanka was used for both Save a Prayer and Hungry like the Wolf. People hadn't seen anything like this before and it caught everyone's imagination - including mine. But in the end it was the music that really did it for me.
A cool and brilliant 80s album
Rio the album
As I said, there were four singles released off this album. The one most people forget is My Own Way, which to me is the transition from New Romantics to pop stars - the singles that followed, (Hungry like the Wolf, Save a Prayer and Rio) were the ones that truly shot Duran Duran to stardom.
But there's more to an album than the singles. The original Rio album contains nine tracks and they're all great. Lonely in your Nightmare is a mellow classic in a similar style to the album as a whole - it doesn't shake your teeth out, whereas Hold Back the Rain is more upbeat and in the vein of Rio (the song) itself. New Religion is more mysterious and Simon can't seem to get his words out fast enough, Last Chance on the Stairway stays in keeping with the rest of the album and then we reach the last track and my personal favourite, The Chauffeur. This is much slower and builds gradually, with some great sounds coming from Nick Rhodes' keyboards. It's atmospheric and probably one of the reason why so many fans love it - it's certainly one of my favourite Duran Duran tunes of all time.
All in all, the second album to come from these now pop legends, is a classic and if you don't own it or haven't heard it then it's about time you did! It is with fond memories that I can be happy and proud to say that Rio was the first album I ever bought.
(However, if you never got around to buying any Duran Duran you might like to try their best of album instead called Greatest which I've reviewed as well.)
Videos of songs from the Rio album
The video that went with the single release for Hungry Like the Wolf.
Other Duran Duran albums
If you want an entry-level Duran Duran album covering all their greatest singles you might like to try the first choice below or you can read my review of it here.
If you don't own any Duran Duran you might like this as a reminder of all their best singles. You can also read my review of it using the link above.
This was my favourite song from the Rio album, The Chauffeur, this time played live.
Duran Duran by Duran Duran
Their first album and the one before Rio, with the classics of Planet Earth and Girls on Film.
The Save a Prayer video - beautiful song...
Seven and the Ragged Tiger by Duran Duran
The album to follow Rio, which includes Union of the Snake and New Moon on Monday.