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Duran Duran – Rio (1982)

January 9, 2016

UKexemplary artwork by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

Made in the UK Artist #1: Duran Duran

[Album 443/1001]

“…to prove that I’m a man, I guess I shouldn’t tell them that I like Duran Duran”
– Barenaked Ladies (BNL), Grade 9

For the last several years, I’ve taught Grade 9 math.

When we hit the Angles unit, I like to give memory hooks to remember what different angles are called.

For example:

Less than 90°? Think of what people say to babies. Awww cute.

Between 90° and 180°? What did Tim Robbins accuse the warden of being in the 3rd best movie of all time, The Shawshank Redemption?

Between 180° and 360°? The Duran Duran angle!

Many students will get the first two references but more often than not, the Reflex reference will sail over their heads.

For better or worse, it appears feelings about Duran Duran no longer factor into secondary school social acceptance.


Also for better or worse, I can’t listen to Duran Duran without hearing that Grade 9 line.

Recently, I argued Rush was a band that people either love or hate. Whether it was 1976 or it is 2016, few would argue that there have been 220px-DuranRiosevere social consequences of choosing a given side when it comes to Rush. As a result, a person’s Actual feelings about Rush tend to align with their Publicly Declared Rush feelings.

Now in 2016, chances are that bold declarations about Duran Duran won’t be met with too much hostility or hi-fiving. But if you found yourself in Grade 9 in 1982, your Publicly Declared feelings about Simon Le Bon & friends were probably character defining. Duran Duran, therefore, is a group that people Publicly Declared to either love or hate.

How people Actually felt is the more interesting question.


Take the plight of the Barenaked Ladies Grade 9 protagonist. He wants to be perceived as a man, yet he likes Duran Duran.

His Actual Feelings (measured on the x-axis) are positive but because he fears social repercussions, he withholds information/denies that he likes the group. His Publicly Declared feelings (measured on the y-axis) are therefore a negative value.

This puts him at point BNL on the graph below.

BNL gray


However, sometimes for mass peer acceptance, a Grade 9 student might be tempted to profess love for a popular artist that they secretly despise. 20 years ago, I’m sure I was that guy, pretending to be into mega-selling bands that I didn’t actually like. I suppose there aren’t many that cite their grade 9 year among the most proud moments of their lives!

But it happens, and Duran Duran was happening in 1982.

Which gives us point GNS (Grade Nine Student) on the above graph: the guy that actually hates (negative x-value) what he publicly loves (positive y-value).


To borrow a line from Rio, I know what you’re thinking, I’ll tell you something: What does this have to do with Rio?

In 2016, people will probably feel the same way about Rio that they’ve always actually felt.

It’s the public declarations about Duran Duran that may (and maybe should) change.

Speaking graphically, if people are honest about their actual feelings, the x-values remain the same, the y-values flip, as shown below:


That former Grade Nine Student (GNS) stops being a sheep; if you don’t like ’em, it’s OK to say so!

And the BNL protagonist? Fly that Duran Duran flag proudly my son.

The points each move 270° (or a Duran Duran Angle if you will), actual feelings align with publicly declared feelings.

The world is as it should be.

And in my world, even if it somehow disproves that I’m a man, I’m not embarrassed to tell you that I like Duran Duran.

From → 1980s

  1. I wish I could Like this post a thousand time. Exemplary work, Geoff!!

    Myself, I like Duran Duran. I liked them at the time, and I like them now. I have some of their stuff in my collection even now. Some of them are even still old cassettes!

    • Many thanks Aaron – and this is certainly an environment where continued Duran Duran &/or cassette listening is encouraged!

  2. Oh wow, you thought of me in choosing Rio, didn’t you? I don’t get your graphs, but I feel your scene, man! Rio is second only to Seven and the Ragged Tiger for me. And that artwork! You can’t get any more 80s than Nagel. Well done!

    • I remember we had a whole conversation about Nagel and that artwork, and then I looked him up and he’s not even alive anymore.

    • I certainly did think of you for this post Sarca! For Duran Duran, obviously, and for the BNL Gordon track.
      I thought the Duran Duran/BNL/Math combo wouldn’t be for everyone, but in your case, hopefully 2 out of 3 ain’t bad!

      • Yeah, math ain’t my forte, but music certainly is! 🙂

  3. Wowzers this is deep! I wish I had a cool Grade 9 Math Teacher like yourself! Duran Duran were mega when I was in high school (81- 86) but the closest any teacher talked rock n roll was my Grade 11 English teacher who didn’t find the humour in ACDC s Sink The Pink video! Ha…

    • Well at least they acknowledged ACDC’s existence?!
      Thanks Deke – I wouldn’t say I’d be a cool teacher, but one that embraces his musical nerdiness!

  4. First Duran Duran album I bought was the covers album, Thank You. I got heavy into them after Ordinary World and Come Undone. Think I was all alone there, too – friends were all like “say what now?”. Same happened when I snapped up the Greatest compilation back when I was at college. But I didn’t care none. Hurrah! for Duran Duran. Hurrah! for Rio. Hurrah! for heavy deep analysis of the Duran Duran liking trends!

    • Ordinary World – YES!
      And Come Undone, a fine 1-2 punch that was my intro to Duran Duran in the early 90s.
      I’d still put Ordinary World in my top 25, that descending guitar line will never get old for me.
      Hurrah for your commenting J!

      • I couldn’t agree more, Geoff. Ordinary World is a belter. I like that it soars a little during the chorus … but not too much. Just enough.

  5. Your post is better than their music. I always thought of them as a perfectly okay pop band and could never really see what the big fuss was, then or now.

    • I definitely struggle with groups when I feel that way – of course no examples are springing to mind, but when I get the “it’s fine for what it is” feeling but the masses can’t get enough of that artist, the overexposure tends to drive me away

      • My own example, which is not representative of anyone else’s opinions and is offered here as only my opinion: Oasis. I feel exactly that way about Oasis.

      • I thought that with Wonderwall when it first came out – it’s 4 chords, why the fuss!
        Surprisingly, once the inescapable airplay faded, I quite like the song now.

  6. Thank you for this! And this is coming from someone who actually and publicly loves their music, and gets quite defensive about it! This is probably one of the best “Duranalysis” I’ve read in the past year (and that is how long I’ve been a proper fan. Also, I wasn’t alive in 1982) and it really is about time that people buried their hatred for yachts and mullets and just accepted that this music is just, sublime.

    • You’re most welcome ofopinions – I like that compound word, Duranalysis!
      A canadian group, Hedley, made a video semi-recently that was quite the tip of the hat to Rio’s yachting video:

      This is definitely a safe place to enjoy mullets & Duran Duran!

      • Thanks! There are many underrated tracks by them I really like. I haven’t listened to all the albums, but I think many of the singles from lesser-known albums are actually very, very good. Like “Skin Trade”, “Serious”, “I don’t want your love”, “Electric Barbarella”. And I just love that track from Duran offshoot Arcadia called “Election Day”. It really annoys me that all people think about are some coloured suits and a yacht, when there are so many brilliant tracks!

      • I’m not familiar with most of those, I’ll have to explore.
        I guess that’s the blessing/curse of being a teenage heartthrob – I remember hearing Jason Priestly being interviewed. No matter what he does, however brilliant, he’ll always be Brandon from Beverly Hills 90210!

      • I think that’s where the current popularity of retro-style synthpop comes in. Because people are mostly discovering 80s music without the context (I discovered most through watching 80s teen films as a teenager in the 2000s) they don’t have those reference points. I personally think Notorious and Big Thing from the late 80s are both really good albums but suffered because people were no longer interested in former teen idols. And I haven’t listened to the Arcadia album, but I’ve read many reviews that say it was Duran Duran without the pop element, like “The Chauffeur” on Rio. “Election Day” is certainly very stylised and lavish, but not obviously catchy at first listen. Glad to acquaint you with the underrated Duran Duran!

      • That video was so funny! Almost a frame by frame copy, though I hope it wasn’t meant to be an ironic tribute! I love the bassline on the original “Rio”.

  7. Stunning graph work! (From a fellow Maths teacher). I was OBSESSED with Duran Duran, as were my friends back in the day, and I dread to think what I would have been like if we had had the social media age back then. As it was, my wall was covered with posters, I bought every magazine article I could and listened and went to every gig I could (not many, as I was too young to go anywhere with an adult escort). All my friends had a favourite (mine was John) and we talked ENDLESSLY in a fanfic kind of way.
    Looking back now though, my favourite tracks are Ordinary Day and Skin Trade, which were made in the time when they were on the wain a little in popularity terms. In truth, a lot of their music was pretty average, but it was “of the time”. They gave me great memories and a real high during my teenage days, but there not a single song of theirs on my IPod. Just some dusty albums in the loft.

    • My thanks musicwaffle – always nice to hear from a fellow graph/duran duran enthusiast!
      Of its time, for sure, but I bet if you retrieved Rio from the loft, a lot of those great memories would come rushing back!

      • I’d probably feel the need to re-enact standing at the front of yacht, looking rather windswept!

      • I’d say that would only enhance the listening experience!

  8. I’m in love with this album cover. In fact, I love Patrick Nagel. My mom still has his artwork in her house. I recently looked him up actually and found out this from wikipedia (yeah I know awful source) “In 1984, at the age of 38, Nagel participated in a 15-minute celebrity “Aerobathon” to raise funds for the American Heart Association. Afterwards, he was found dead in his car, and doctors determined by autopsy that he had suffered a heart attack.”

    Just sad … to me his art is so iconic.

    • I wasn’t familiar with the artist before this post Angie but the more I think about it, the more the cover is a part of the Rio package. I’m fortunate to have it on LP as well so the art is that much more prominent 🙂

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