Top 17 Duran Duran Songs by Culture Brats

Press

Top 17 Duran Duran Songs

This week, we decided to rank our favorite Duran Duran songs. We even included a few tracks from Thank You, which was foolishly named the Worst Album Of All Time in a 2006 Q magazine poll:

17. "911 Is A Joke"
16. "Careless Memories"
15 "I Don't Want Your Love"
14. "Union Of The Snake"
13. "Come Undone"
12. "White Lines (Don't Do It)"
11. "Planet Earth"
10. "Notorious"
9. "Is There Something I Should Know?"
8. "Save A Prayer"
7. "Ordinary World"

6. "Wild Boys"
"Wild Boys" is the only studio track on the live album (yes, I said album...it was 1984 after all) Arena and was produced by Chic front man and dance music legend Nile Rodgers. The track, based on the William S. Burroughs novel The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead, came to life after Duran Duran video director Russell Mulcahy suggested he wanted to make a film out of the surreal, dystopian novel and wanted Duran Duran to provide the soundtrack, something Queen would later do for The Highlander. The song combines a danceable edge - pounding electronic drums and percussive beats - with the hard-rocking guitar riffs of Andy Taylor. The result was a dark, danceable war chant more suited to the ravaged post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max than the clubs of Soho. Maybe that's why it's Duran Duran's highest charting single in Australia?

Anyway, while it was a departure from their new wave dance tracks like "Rio," "Girls On Film," and "The Reflex," it's the song that actually sold me on Duran Duran. Yes, because of MTV we were hit with Duran Duran all the time but it was hard to take a band that appeared on Tiger Beat seriously. While I knew the words to nearly everything that had come out until this time, I was still a closeted Duran Duranie. "Wild Boys" changed that. It was now okay to be a fan of The Smiths, The Cure, Joy Division and Duran Duran. At least that's what I told myself. And still do. --Mr. Big Dubya

5. "A View To A Kill"
If you're a fan of '80s music, it's pretty likely you're a fan of Duran Duran. I am. And I am (got all the albums on vinyl--the only way to go for '80s music). But that's not why I like this song.

Everyone has their favorite genre of music, and mine is an obscure one: movie soundtracks. I love movie music. I've got well over a hundred movie soundtracks in my collection. One of the main selling points when I decided to buy XM Radio was the fact that they have a channel that's dedicated to movie soundtracks, Cinemagic, XM 76. Listening to Cinemagic on a daily basis has resulted in a steady growth of my soundtrack library.

I'm also a James Bond fan. Which is what brings me back to "A View To A Kill." It's not the best James Bond title song (and the movie certainly doesn't come close to being the best James Bond movie), but it's definitely a catchy tune that evokes one of the best movie series of all time. ("Bon. Simon Le Bon.")

Plus, it has the distinction of being the one and only Duran Duran tune on my iPod, hence the only one I hear on a regular basis these days. (Remember, the others are on vinyl. I'm slowly using my USB turntable to digitize my record collection, but it's slow going.)

I know a lot of the band's other songs are more memorable, but this one will always be my personal favorite. --Dave

4. "The Reflex"
Singles from Seven And The Ragged Tiger starting rolling out in late 1983. By the time "The Reflex" hit the radio the following summer, no junior high girl's locker was left un-Duranified. (One girl I had a crush on in 8th grade rejected me on the grounds that she had every intention of running away from home, going to England, and having Roger's baby. Or maybe it was John's. Or one of the other ones.)

My next door neighbor, one year younger than me, was ecstatic when she told me she'd bought the new record. I made fun of her. Duran Duran was soooo lame, I said. They had poofy hair and makeup. Why she'd bought that album instead of the way awesomer Let's Dance by David Bowie (cuz he never used guyliner and hair products?) was beyond me.

And yet I ended up borrowing her record and making a tape of it, mainly because of "The Reflex."

To this day, I have no idea what the song is about. All I know is, The Reflex is a lonely child who's waiting in the dark. Or by the park. Or near a lark.

The song itself is still raucously fun. I've always thought it was both buoyant and snarly, made so both by Le Bon's wailing, and the push-pull tease of the chorus. It's got that signature electronic texture, but it's layered with sly guitar and percussive wood block (and, I'm convinced, some subtle use of cowbell). In the end, the song becomes one part dance track and one part anthem. And you have to admit: Simon Le Bon belts it out. He was never one to lounge his way through a song.

It's true I still don't get the lyrics. But that's ok. After all, Le Bon doesn't either. He admits it himself: every little thing The Reflex does leaves even him answered with a question mark. Ha! --Didactic Pirate

3. "Girls On Film"
I was four years old when "Girls On Film" came out, though I didn't get to know the song for a few more years. My father and I had a regular habit of cruising the city streets in his grey Mustang, singing along to the hits on Casey Kasem's American Top 40, and I remember hearing "Girls On Film" for the first time in the front seat of his car. Alongside "Hungry Like The Wolf," it quickly became one of my favourite Duran Duran songs. It reminds me of my father, who would sing along with me in the car, and of my teeny-bopperish, teenage babysitter, who brought her copy of Duran Duran - on vinyl, of course - with her every time she came to babysit. We'd put the needle on the record and dance around my living room, singing into hairbrushes-slash-microphones: Girls on film (she's more than a lady)! Girls on film (see you together)!

"Girls On Film" takes me back to the days when dancing around your living room on a Saturday night with your babysitter was a really good time. --Mamatulip

2. "Rio"
"Rio" is a song that defined a generation. If you're making an '80s mixtape, "Rio" is a must. "Rio" IS the '80s.

Even though there are lines in "Rio" that I don't think even Simon Le Bon understood ("With a step to your left and a flick to the right you catch that mirror way out west"), my thirteen-year-old mind could see the big picture: "Rio" was about The World's Most Beautiful Girl. While the dagger-clad woman that emerges from the water in the "Rio" video might have played a role in my conclusion, it was the words that came slithering out of Simon's mouth that won me over. Rio was a girl who danced "on the sand just like that river twisting through a dusty land" and made a guy "feel alive, alive, alive" with her "cherry ice cream smile." I wanted a Rio!

You could hear me "shout across the land," but I never found a Rio dancing through my seventh grade class at Mountain Gap Middle School. --Chag

1. "Hungry Like The Wolf"
When I was growing up, I was best friends with the girl who lived across the street. Her name was Linda and she was 6 years older than me. My mom would sometimes hire her to babysit on those nights when they felt they couldn't trust me not to murder my little brother. She was like my cool big sister who showed me stuff when my parents weren't around. And when Duran Duran hit it big with their album, Rio, I began to hear nothing but "Simon LeBon is like so totally HOT." Linda had the biggest crush. For months she'd come over with the latest issues of Teen Beat and Tiger Beat and would show me the very latest photos of Simon. "He's just so PRETTY!" she'd exclaim. She'd talk about how some day she was totally going to marry Simon. They'd have, like, the coolest babies. She started doing her makeup and hair like the "Rio" lady - that was totally going to help her chances with Simon, right? I was young enough to think that she'd actually gone insane. But I did agree with her on one thing: Duran Duran's music was pretty rad. My favorite has always been "Hungry Like the Wolf." Young me thought it was kinda... slinky. Old me thinks it rocked when Bruce Campbell covered it in an Old Spice ad a few years back. It's one of those songs that you want to sing out loud to, every time. Play it in a bar, I guarantee people will bob their heads and sing along. Duran Duran has some great songs, but for my money, this is top of the list, every time. --Archphoenix

* * *

To view the whole blog and see the videos for each song, click here: CTop 17 Duran Duran Songs by Culture Brats

Join The Mailing List