Today’s selection is the first song I ever heard by the English new wave/art-rock/new romantic band Duran Duran. Formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England, the band takes its name from the character Dr. Durand Durand from the 1968 science fiction film Barbarella, which starred American actor, environmentalist and political activist Jane Fonda.
Duran Duran is still active, though it has been through numerous personnel changes, including a reformation of its original lineup from 2001-2005. Most of the original members have stayed on since the regrouping, but not guitarist Andy Taylor.
I was introduced to Duran Duran’s music by those cool kids from St. Vital, Winnipeg who I refer to as “friends 2.0.” We would often hear their songs in nightclubs alongside music by Spandau Ballet and Visage (a project of Midge Ure from Ultravox), groups who were part of what’s been referred to as the second British Invasion (the first was in the 1960s with bands like the Beatles). Duran Duran’s rise to fame was coincidental with the launch of MTV, the first 24-hour cable music channel, which led to an explosion in the production of music videos.
The last attention I really gave to Duran Duran was with their second self-titled album, also known as The Wedding Album (1993). By then, they mainly had shed the art-rock, androgynous look, and their music had morphed more into adult contemporary. Even lead singer Simon Le Bon shed the glam look, sporting a beard in a 2011 video of a concert performance at the MEN Arena in their hometown (with only keyboardist Nick Rhodes still wearing the art-rock look).
“Planet Earth” was the first single from the 1981 album Duran Duran. One of the most commercially successful bands of all time, Duran Duran has sold over 100 million records.
Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the video for the 2011 concert performance of the song from the official Mercury Studios YouTube channel:
Also, here’s the official video for the 1981 studio version of the song from the official Duran Duran YouTube channel. Official lyrics are included in the notes section below the video pane.