Duran Duran Hidden Gems on #MusicFriday
For this #MusicFriday post, I thought I’d put together a list from my all-time favorite band, Duran Duran. As a teen in the early 1980’s, I quickly connected with the music and style of the post-punk New Romantic and British New Wave movements, which encompassed a broad variety of styles and sub-genres. Some of my favorite bands then — and still in heavy rotation on Spotify — include the English Beat, INXS, Eurythmics, Oingo Boingo, REM, Talk Talk, Depeche Mode, Love and Rockets, The Smiths, New Order, The Cure, Thompson Twins, The Fixx, The Blow Monkeys, Psychedelic Furs….and of course Duran Duran.
There are not many pictures of my teenage years online, but I was a trenchcoat, pegged jeans, and Doc Martens-wearing kid of the New Wave era, evolving into oversized sport coats with t-shirts with ripped jeans, and experienced a few different hair colors.
And throughout this time, Duran Duran remained as the staple of my musical tastes. It was exciting to see the 5 original members reunite in 2001, and tour together in support of a new studio album (Astronaut) where I caught three of their shows (during the Reunion and Astronaut tours). As some people know, my first date with my wife was on July 30th, 1987 when we saw Duran Duran at Cal Expo in Sacramento as part of their Strange Behaviour tour (in support of their Notorious album), with Erasure opening. My wife purchased a concert t-shirt from that show, which we still have.
The band continues to produce new music and tour extensively (hoping to see them this summer), with their most recent album being 2015’s Paper Gods and a 2019 live album, with a new studio album scheduled sometime mid-2020.
So for this #MusicFriday post, I thought I would share a list of “hidden gems” that most people have probably not heard, as none of them were huge radio hits (most were not promoted as singles). These are in no-particular order, but you can find all of them and more on my Spotify playlist Duran Duran Hidden Gems:
- Faster Than Light. Released as the B-side to their third single “Girls on Film” by Capitol-EMI on 13 July 1981, written by all five members of the band and used as the title for their second UK tour in 1981.
- Khanada. Released as the B-side to their second single “Careless Memories” by Capitol-EMI on 20 April 1981. There is a live arrangement from 1981 that features a slightly faster tempo and extended ending with an aggressive guitar solo, which interpolates the sitar part from the original studio version.
- The Universe Alone. Released on the album Paper Gods by Warner Bros. Records on 11 September 2015. This is darker material that is symphonic and cinematic, and according to the band the song is ‘about oblivion and death.’
- Downtown. Released on the album Liberty by Capitol-EMI in 1990. A demo version is available on the unofficial album Didn’t Anybody Tell You?.
- Notoriousaurus Rex. The song is a megamix, released on the EP Master Mixes by Capitol Records in 1987. The megamix was assembled by Tuta Aquino, using Notorious album remixes of “Vertigo”, “Skin Trade”, “American Science”, “Notorious”, and “Meet El Presidente.”
- Midnight Sun. Released on the album Medazzaland by Capitol-EMI-Virgin on the 14 October 1997. The demo version (in the YouTube link) is regarded as having a better ending, and is available on the unofficial albums Here Today Gone Tomorrow and Medazzaland Edited / Alternates.
- To The Shore. Released on the band’s debut UK album Duran Duran by Capitol-EMI on the 15 June 1981, but missing from the later US release. It was released as a B-side to the U.S. release of the single “Planet Earth” in 1981.
- Venice Drowning. Released on the album Liberty by Capitol-EMI on 20 August 1990, and played live only once — at the 1989 Skanderborg Festival in Denmark before the album was released.
- Like An Angel. Released as the B-side to their fourth single “My Own Way” by Capitol-EMI on 16 November 1981. The linked video provides a great collage of old band photos.
- Sin Of The City. Released as the final track on The Wedding Album by Capitol-EMI on 23 February 1993. The song is about the Happy Land Fire, which was an arson fire that killed 87 people in an unlicensed social club in New York City in March 1990.
I hope you enjoy these music lists. Already thinking about posts for the next couple weeks with more favorites from my youth…