Thursday, July 27, 2017

"The Wild Boys" by Duran Duran

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  2113
Date:  11/03/1984
Debut:  38
Peak:  2
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Rock, New Wave

Pop Bits:  With three hit albums under their belt, Duran Duran embarked on an extensive tour of the US and Canada. A film crew tagged along and from their work came the documentary Sing Blue Silver, which included some concert performances. Additional footage from their shows was then going to be used for a full-length concert video, but the band didn't want a performance-only collection. They wanted to do something a bit different. With director Russell Mulcahy, the band developed a storyline that would weave together their concert performances. When completed, Arena (An Absurd Notion) was issued on video. To accompany the film, an album of live performances titled Arena was also issued. For the album, overdubs were added to the songs and much of the crowd noise eliminated. To help promote and sell the album and video, a new studio track, "The Wild Boys," was recorded. The song would be included on the album and issued as a single. It would be an instant hit debuting inside the Top 40 and spending four weeks at #2. It would also reaching #27 Dance and #42 Rock and become their second gold single in a row. The hit would help send the album to #4, which would end up being their best showing on the chart.

ReduxReview:  This really was the height of Duran-mania. The US tour, the documentary, the movie, and the extravagant, expensive video for this song all collided together with this single to create their peak moment. I think the band reached their own peak of excesses during this time too. Although the band would still gather four more Top 10's and a #1 over the next decade, at this point they were huge stars and the pin-up dreams of many teenagers. I wasn't the biggest fan of this song at the time. I didn't connect with it and I thought it was in the wrong key for Le Bon. He just strains through the chorus and it sounds uncomfortable. I also thought the video was ridiculous and way over the top. I don't mind it so much these days, but I wouldn't rank it among their best.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) For the Arena video, the band decided to include the movie character that inspired their name. The evil Dr. Durand Durand from the 1968 sci-fi film Barbarella would be written into the script. The band also secured Milo O'Shea for the role. O'Shea played the character in the original film.  2) This song was inspired by the 1971 William S. Burroughs novel The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead. Initially, director Mulcahy had plans to do a feature film based on the book and enlisted Duran Duran to help supply the music. This song was written for the potential film and a music video was made. The clip had a dual purpose. It would be shown on MTV and it would serve as Mulcahy's calling card to movies studios to show them what he had in mind for the film. Because of this, the video had a huge budget and at the time was the most expensive one filmed. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough for studios to bite and the movie was never made.  3) Although Simon Le Bon these days denies he was in real danger, there apparently was a serious issue that happened during the filming of the video. In it, Le Bon is strapped to a windmill and each time the windmill turned, at the bottom of the circle Le Bon's head would be dipped into a pool of water. At one point during filming, the windmill suddenly stopped and it happened to be at the point where Le Bon's head was underwater. By most accounts, divers had to jump in and save him. It all seemed very near-death. However, Le Bon said it wasn't a huge deal and he was fine. One report said that Le Bon was given a straw to breathe through while crews got him safely removed from the windmill. However it happened, it still wasn't a good thing and it could have turned out far worse.


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