Duran Duran Releases the Buoyant ‘Rio’


On Nov. 1, 1982, Duran Duran launched “Rio” as a single within the U.Okay. The title monitor of the band’s 1982 LP rapidly turned one of many Birmingham band’s signature songs, a assured mission assertion pushed by optimistic lyrics and musical twists and turns.

Keyboardist Nick Rhodes’ frantic, pulsating sequences set a bustling tone matched by drummer Roger Taylor’s regular rhythms. Nevertheless, “Rio” can have a jazzy really feel at instances, a testomony to the tune’s malleable nature. “Rio” additionally incorporates certainly one of John Taylor’s most nimble bass traces. In a 2020 video tutorial, he outlined all of the influences he poured into the elements earlier than exhibiting viewers how one can play it and famous that Duran Duran did not carry out the tune reside earlier than recording it. The tune was written within the studio.

Elements of “Rio” had been kicking round Duran Duran’s repertoire for a number of years earlier than the tune lastly turned Rio‘s title monitor. John Taylor famous that a part of the tune’s supply materials got here from a lower referred to as “See Me Repeat Me,” which Duran Duran initially demoed in 1979 with early singer Andy Wickett. “See Me Repeat Me” ultimately advanced into “Ami A Go Go” (generally written as “Amy A Go Go”), which later Duran Duran lineups carried out.

“It had been via a number of iterations earlier than it turned ‘Rio,'” John Taylor informed this author. “And it was, like, only a funky idea tune that we caught with and saved growing.”

Certainly, it took singer Simon Le Bon and his poetry to start out hammering the tune into form. Le Bon famously wrote “Rio” after Duran Duran’s first U.S. tour in 1981, as a result of he was deeply impressed by the U.S. and the way thrilling and awe-inspiring the nation might be. These references crop up in summary imagery (“It means a lot to me, like a birthday or a fairly view,” “I’ve seen you on the seaside /And I’ve seen you on TV”) that hints at geography.

However a few of his lyrical inspiration arose from an encounter he had with a fantastic waitress — maybe the one who owns the well-known “cherry ice-cream smile” talked about.

“I used to be infatuated along with her, and I got here up with that line, ‘Shifting on a dance flooring, babe, you are a chicken of paradise,'” Le Bon mentioned in 2011. “I took that dwelling and put it along with all my fantastic emotions about being on tour in America. The tune began with a woman from Birmingham, however it turned about your complete United States, from mountains within the north right down to the Rio Grande.”

When Duran Duran was recording Rio at AIR Studios in early 1982, the band additionally added formative particulars to “Rio.” Saxophonist Andy Hamilton — who performed sax on the prolonged “Evening Model” of “Planet Earth” and likewise carried out the inimitable elements on 1983’s “Union of the Snake” — got here to the studio to trace what would turn out to be the tune’s inimitable solos.

Watch Duran Duran’s ‘Rio’ Video

Rhodes had additionally been listening to experimental composers John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. He determined to seek out out what it might sound prefer to drop steel rods on the strings of AIR Studios’ grand piano. “They bounced in all places, over the strings, and made a improbable noise,” he informed this author.

For good measure, the recording was then reversed, creating the disorienting, whirring sound heard in the beginning of the tune.

“Rio” obtained some U.S. airplay in the summertime of 1982 however surfaced as a single within the fall, across the identical time MTV began airing the tune’s Antigua-set music video. Directed by Russell Mulcahy, the clip was as placing because the tune itself, owing to the beautiful locale and pictures of the band crusing confidently on a yacht.

However outdoors of MTV, “Rio” largely made nearly no impression — in no small half as a result of “Hungry Just like the Wolf” took off on radio as a substitute and have become Duran Duran’s first main U.S. hit.

In spring 1983, after “Hungry Just like the Wolf” had run its course and commenced falling down the Billboard singles chart, “Rio” was reissued. The second time was the appeal: This time, “Rio” turned a success, reaching No. 14 on the Scorching 100.

“Rio” has remained an integral a part of Duran Duran’s set lists ever since. The band has usually closed its live shows with the tune. The place is poignant: A tune about dreaming of success and being in awe of the world at massive as a substitute involves signify want achievement —a buoyant exclamation level that alerts a triumphant job effectively accomplished.

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