Duran Duran 

The Singles 81-85 (Capitol)

Remember Haircut 100, a Flock of Seagulls, ABC? Didn't think so. But nobody forgets Duran Duran. In the early '80s, the sensual new romantic fivesome ruled the airwaves with such confections as "Hungry Like the Wolf," "Rio," "Is There Something I Should Know?" and the indelible "Girls on Film."

The link between Bowie and INXS, Duran Duran specialized in songs ambiguous in both lyric and gender; the tunes also were not only danceable, but videogenic (Duran Duran was one of the first bands to capitalize on MTV) and expertly produced. Frontman Simon LeBon was wonderfully foppish and frothy, Andy Taylor gave hot guitar, and keyboardist Nick Rhodes, all punchy and sharp, provided the requisite blond balance (Howard Jones, move over).

This beautifully packaged collection of 13 CD singles, with three to four tunes apiece, including all the B sides (one of the coolest is "The Chauffeur"), memorializes this most stylized of rock bands. Oh, yes: The music still rocks and glimmers, and tunes like "Save a Prayer" and "My Own Way" boast a depth that's not immediately evident when Duran Duran prances onto one's inner screen. Or is it merely that those tunes are ballads, different from that one shimmering, upbeat song Duran Duran so expertly and regularly delivered?

More by Carlo Wolff


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