TITLE: Duran Duran
YEAR RELEASED: 1981
CHART ACTION: #10 US, #3 UK
SINGLES: Planet Earth (#12 UK, #26 US Dance), Careless Memories (#37 UK, #76 US Dance), Girls on Film (#5 UK, #26 US Dance, #19 US Rock)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: You may have a version with Is There Something I Should Know (#1 UK, #4 US, #3 US Rock, #34 US Dance)
LINEUP: Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes, Andy Taylor, John Taylor, Roger Taylor
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First record from the stylish UK New Wave band that started a worldwide sensation – it just took a couple of years to land here in the US.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The backbone of Duran Duran are the Taylors (they’re not related). At their best they are a good copy of Chic. They know their funk and dance moves and grooves. However, a lot of the songs on this debut is more textural and not fitting with a pure dance and funk groove. Girls on Film is their shining moment – that cut COOKS because of the Taylors.
LeBon has limitations as a vocalist and lyricist but the singles cover them up pretty well with the hooks and the funk. Rhodes loves to layer songs with keyboard washes and burbles – sometimes they get in the way.
Even when I first got this album back in the day, I thought half of it was pretty good, and the other half was OK. I haven’t changed my mind.
NOTES & MINUTAE: The initial US release dropped a track, and used an extended mix of Planet Earth. In 1983, they re-released it with Is There Something I Should Know and also used the original version of Planet Earth. Now, the streaming copy is the original UK version and Is There Something I Should Know is now just on a compilation.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. It’s full of B-sides, dance mixes (which kind of lose what made Planet Earth and Girls on Film really good), demos and BBC cuts. Some are good, but a couple really ‘show off’ LeBon’s vocal issues.
GRADE: B: There’s nothing bad enough on the original album that should be tossed, and Girls on Film raises the record up a notch. It’s that good of a song.