Retro Review: Duran Duran / Rio (1982)

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Duran Duran had established themselves as a new force to be reckoned with in the UK with their self-titled debut. It was a smash hit in Europe but failed to gain any traction in the United States. When Rio was released it reached #2 on the charts and banished any worries about the dreaded sophomore jinx. Hoping the album would do just as well in the United States, Capitol released Rio with absolutely no idea how to market the band.

Unwilling to sit idly by, Duran Duran took things into their own hands. They hired personal stylists and a feature film director to record their music videos in 35 mm (unheard of at the time) to give them a polished and professional look. They knew the way to the heart of America was through the new sensation that was sweeping every television set across the country….MTV.

The gamble paid off. "Hungry Like the Wolf" was an immediate hit on the station and gained heavy rotation. "Save a Prayer" and "Rio" followed as singles and through their popularity the album rose to #5 on the Billboard charts in 1983. Banking on this popularity the band re-released their debut in America and it made it to the top 10 while Rio was still on the charts. Duran Duran fever had landed Stateside.

Duran Duran have had continued success, and while they are best known as one of the biggest bands of the 1980’s (leading the second British invasion of American airwaves), they’ve had 15 singles chart in the UK top 10 and 21 hit the Billboard Hot 100 since then. They’ve sold more than 70 million albums worldwide and continue to tour arena sized venues (not as part of retro tours either) and release new material (their last album, Paper Gods debuted at #10 in America and #5 in the UK).