My first memory of Duran Duran comes from, I believe, the fourth-grade. Two female classmates rather confidently told me about a new band that was bigger and better than Rush.
I don’t remember my reaction but only part of their prophecy proved true (at least for me) and it didn’t last long. The hype exploded and eventually so did Duran Duran. Yes, the band continued in various original member capacities (and became or joined other bands) but without the founding line-up of Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor. Eventually, singer Le Bon and keyboardist Rhodes anchored the band through thick and thin. Until…
The Fab 5 reunited in 2003 releasing the rather exceptional album Astronaut a year later. Guitarist Andy Taylor left shortly after, again, and it’s been the Core 4 ever since. In fact, it’s hard not to notice the prolific nature of Duran Duran since reuniting. They’ve released four studio albums of original material in 11 years all the while keeping the founding members of Le Bon, Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor intact, on the road constantly and seemingly quite happy.
I first saw Duran Duran in 1993 touring their self-titled release that eventually became known as The Wedding Album. That line-up of Duran Duran featured Le Bon, Rhodes and John Taylor. Little did I know, several years later I’d date a “Duranie” (who became my wife) and we saw Duran Duran consisting of Le Bon, Rhodes and guitarist Warren Cuccurullo (86-01) several times.
When the “band got back together” all bets were off. I’ve seen Duran Duran more times in the last 15 years than any band except…Rush. Their resurgence is remarkable and wholly satisfying. They produce fantastic live shows visiting intimate venues and large arenas. I’ve always enjoyed Duran Duran music but never more so than now. So I submit to you the Top 10 Best* Duran Duran songs.
Like the previous Top 10 lists, relax a bit if I leave out the obvious or your favorites. The popular radio fare doesn’t always make it, so please list your Top 10 Duran Duran songs and, as always, these appear in no particular order except perhaps…
- A View to a Kill
“A View To A Kill” probably tuned me fully into Duran Duran. It’s the best James Bong theme song of all time. Hands down. The beginning bar draws you instantly and the song mixes hard rock, 80s rock and pop rock interchangeably throughout. Drummer Roger Taylor’s cadence nearly makes or breaks this song. My only critique is I never liked how it ended, it just sort of, ends. Plus it’s too short.
- What are the Chances – Paper Gods
Phenomenal. Have you heard this song? Even better – Live? It’s heart-wrenching, totally Duran Duran and puts Le Bon’s vocals in rare form. His range for the chorus is beyond anything he’s ever done. It’s also off their latest album Paper Gods. So much for resting on their laurels.
- The Reflex – Seven and the Ragged Tiger
Classic Duran Duran. Almost as popular as their flagship songs, “The Reflex” opened 1983’s Seven And The Ragged Tiger and remains a radio staple. It’s got an awesome rhythm and melody. Heck, so much is going on in this song it rocks from beginning to end.
- Girl Panic! – All You Need Is Now
The well-received All You Need Is Now from 2011 contained this gem which grooves thanks to John Taylor’s bass and once again Roger Taylor brings some solid drum work. You can’t forget Rhodes handiwork either with all that he contributes with the keyboards and synthesizes at his control. It’s a great song and fully brings Duran Duran into the 20th century.
- Falling Down – Red Carpet Massacre
The not as well received but a bit underrated Red Carpet Massacre started the Core 4 era without Andy Taylor. He left the band prior to the completion of Reportage the follow up to Astronaut which never got recorded. Instead the band carried on with Dominic Brown on guitar, reconfigured and this solid tune emerged as a bright spot on the 2007 album that provided a much different set of songs than any other album.
- Too Much Information – The Wedding Album
Duran Duran played “Too Much Information” during their last tour which gets way overshadowed by the deservedly popular “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone” off The Wedding Album.It’s an aggressive song that along with the rest of the 1993 release featuring Le Bon, Rhodes, John Taylor and Cuccurullo helped provide a comeback of sorts for the band, already experiencing waning popularity that began nearly seven years earlier. It’s got a great 80s vibe along with some solid 90s rock guitar.
- The Wild Boys – Arena
Classic Duran Duran. The song that almost ended the band with Le Bon nearly drowning during the making of the video. OK, maybe someday we’ll know the whole truth. “The Wild Boys” is however the lone new track released on their live album Arena from 1984 and it quickly turned into a popular single. It easily fit into the mold of 80s Duran Duran becoming one of their biggest songs.
- Planet Earth – Duran Duran
The band’s self-titled debut album didn’t rule the charts initially but “Planet Earth” helped introduce the world to Duran Duran in 1981. Yes, “Girls on Film” opens the record and is a must-have on every concert setlist but “Planet Earth” ushered in 1980s new wave and at the time provided a brand new sound to the airwaves.
- Hold Back the Rain – Rio
You know what is so ripe about “Hold Back the Rain”? It could easily fit on any of the band’s last three albums. Instead, it’s the middle song off 1982’s Rio which hosts a number of hits and fan favorites like “Rio,” “Save a Prayer” and “Hungry Like the Wolf.”
- Reach Up For The (Sunrise) – Astronaut
Duran Duran fully reunited in 2003 after nearly 20 years and released Astronaut in 2004, an album full of great songs including “(Reach Up for the) Sunrise” which seemed to say “We’re back and better than ever.” It’s a guitar-heavy track full of great riffs and drum beats that works to get everyone off their seats when performed live.
Well, look at that – 10 songs without a repeat album in the bunch. And so many more possibilities! In 30-plus years Duran Duran has released 14 studio albums, four live and several non-album singles. And they’re coming back for more. If the above is any indication – they play better together. All the songs except one feature at least four of the original band members.