Duran Duran's ALL YOU NEED IS NOW was released as a 9 song iTunes exclusive in December, 2010 and then as a 14 song CD on March 21 (Europe) and March 22 (North America), 2011. Here, the band members and some collaborators look back on the album on its tenth anniversary.
Jonas Åkerlund, Director, GIRL PANIC! music video
I was intimidated to do this video since Duran Duran already had the best videos. What could I do to meet them at their level? The “Girls on Film” music video made me want to do music videos.
Looking back, I believe it is one of my best executed music videos. The whole experience was a highlight of my career. Though it took a long time to prepare, the project felt spontaneous and was a fun shoot. Gender roles dissolved, and the experience becomes about the power of the individual models’ in these positions, matching the musician’s energies. This video has every single ingredient to make a great music video, style, beauty, fun, and most importantly, a great song.
I enjoyed all of the collaborations involved on this video, it was a win for everybody. It was like a cast reunion for the supermodels, and was an incredible moment in time for all of us involved. Collaborating with the band on the concept was fantastic. Duran Duran are the kindest, most polite and professional band I’ve ever worked with.
“Girl Panic!” was a personal favorite music video, I am eternally proud of adding to the incredible Duran Duran music video canon and for being a part of this cultivated image of beauty, style, power and fun forged with the models. I will never forget the excitement and will always look back at this great moment in time with gratitude.
Behind the Scenes on Duran Duran's "Girl Panic!"
Nick Egan, Director, ALL YOU NEED IS NOW music video
Making “All You Need Is Now” was the best fun video I've made for the band. At the time it had been 10 years since I shot “Perfect Day,” and I wanted to approach the idea differently from the other videos I had done. The song itself was a different sound for the band, a much harder edge to it. I wanted it to do something to reflect that, more organic and spontaneous. Initially my idea was no idea, just fly to London and film whatever happens around them. John and I had discussed other memorable band performances that were spontaneous, like The Beatles on the roof at Apple Records, The Rolling Stones on a flatbed truck driving through Manhattan and the Sex Pistols river boat party on the Queens Jubilee.
The band had given me an orchestral piece for the opening and closing of the video. The idea was for them to describe the making of the album in their own words, so I asked Gavin Elder, who shoots all the behind the scenes footage of the band, if I could use the stuff he had made during the making of the record. I also asked Gavin to shoot, along with myself, the performance.
Technology was moving really fast then, and cameras were getting better and smaller by the hour. The first high definition pocket sized camera was the Flip. It was the size of a cell phone and it just had a basic zoom lens, but the quality, for that time, was better than any cell phone. I started at Abbey Road Studios with Simon and Nick, who were appearing as guests at Mark Ronson’s show. Then we spent a day at the rehearsal space, which the band had art directed themselves with tin foil on the walls.
Although we had playback of the track, I wanted the band to play live as well, so I could cut between the two. After we finished filming the performance, we all jumped in a car and drove to the Tate Modern where I shot them walking along the embankment and in and around the Tate Modern. People were doing double takes, seeing Duran Duran walking along with everyone else. I could never have pulled this off with a traditional video shoot.
I spent the next two days individually with each band member. First with Simon and a live interview at the BBC, then back to Simon’s house. On the way there I noticed a really serene part of the river Thames, where you could walk to the river's edge, so Simon and I took a stroll along the shores of the Thames.
Next was Roger, who at the time had been DJ’ing at events around the country, so we went to Black Market Records in Soho. All the UK’s top DJ got their records from there, and I had him spinning on their decks. When we finished, we took a walk through beautiful Richmond Park.
For Nick, we went to Brompton Cemetery. When I was with Simon and Nick at the Mark Ronson show, I saw Nick juggling some oranges, and saw how good he was, so I asked him to do that again; Nick reminded me of Oscar Wilde or one of the great English romantic poets like Shelley and Byron from the 19th Century. We also filmed Nick in his back garden which reflected the great English Landscape gardener, ‘Capability’ Brown.
Last but not least was a trip out to the west country towards Bath to see John. We got up before dawn and walked out into the snow-covered English countryside.
I also wanted to tribute the importance of the Duran fans, and the legacy the band have left on a whole new generation of fans. The band constantly re-invent themselves. I found these three young fans in Hollywood and went out to a club with them where this new generation danced to music from the 80’s and 90’s. The jacket the boy is wearing is actually from John’s personal collection from the early days of the band.
My good friend Paul Boyd co-produced the video and edited the short version of the video. Ironically, Paul was the initial director for “Ordinary World,” but for some reason his Production Company pulled out of the job even though they’d started filming.
Fun Fact: While we were editing the video at Paul’s house, I noticed a car stopped right outside his place surrounded by people, photographers, fans. When I left a few hours later, the car was still there, with more people surrounding it, and it turned out to be Paris Hilton with a broken- down car! I offered her sanctuary at Paul’s house, which she took me up on. I told her we were editing a new Duran Duran video and she said she loved the band, so I asked her if she’d be in the video. I asked her to jump up and down on the trampoline, and I have to say she was a great sport.
Josh Blair, Engineer, ALL YOU NEED IS NOW
ALL YOU NEED IS NOW was the first album that I worked with Duran Duran on as an Engineer. We started the album’s pre-production in their little production room (Prod 3) at the now defunct Sphere Studios. Six guys jammed into that tiny space made for a kind of creative melting pot. Any and all ideas were welcome. We worked thru writing and recording around 50 to 60 song ideas. These we done in a kind of “jam” fashion, where three parts of a song (verse, chorus, bridge) were created from nothing, with Simon singing random words and phrases over them to find a top line melody that he liked. Later, Mark Ronson joined our little “sardine can” as Producer, and he liked most of the song ideas, working with the band to hone them further. Once we had enough songs put together, we started recording them properly at Eastcote Studios. The days for me were long, but fun. Little did I know that they were to get a lot longer very quickly...
Whilst at Eastcote two things happened which changed the album irrevocably: Simon’s laptop crashed with all his lyrics stored on them and Mark had expressed his love of the song “The Chauffeur.” At the time these two things seemed disconnected, but they soon became intrinsically entwined. After three days of toil, Simon had managed to reload his OS and announced loudly during a drum take that he’d just installed Leopard. Amongst the melee of pounding drum sounds this was misheard by Nick as “A man who stole a Leopard”… Ever the keen song title-smith that Nick is (he keeps several books of songs titles with him at all times), he wrote it down. Then, almost as if with divine intervention, Mark decreed out of nowhere that he’d really like a "Chauffeur style" song on this album and “The Man Who Stole A Leopard” was born. Nick was keen to get started on this, so at the end of the session (around 9pm most nights), Nick and I went back to Prod 3 on our own and began to work on the song.
During the day I was working with Mark and the rest of the band on the album recording and then working into the early hours of the morning with Nick (going to bed when the birds were chirping became a common thing). It was great to be in the middle of that creation. Every sound was carefully crafted from Nick’s beloved keyboards. He would sit just behind me with his Jupiter 8 in between us making sounds and teaching me how he did it. To this day I still can’t program a Jupiter 8 from the 'correct side.' I always feel far more comfortable doing it upside-down from “my side” of the keyboard (Nick still thinks it funny). After sever weeks of double shifts, and a few nights of no sleep at all, “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” was completed.
That's my strongest memory of AYNIN.
Dom Brown, guitarist and songwriter, ALL YOU NEED IS NOW
Wow, it’s a cliché to say ‘time flies,’ but the last 10 years have truly flown by! Seems like only a few years ago that we were doing this album. I remember a very happy and enthusiastic John calling me, on the evening the album was released and as it was making it’s way up the charts saying, “DB we’ve made something special here.”
I’d say that of the 16 years of working with Duran this period was the most intense, yet fun, period for me. I can remember us all in a room together jamming and bouncing ideas off each other for weeks on end. Someone would come up with a riff or set of chords and someone else would say ‘that’s cool, keep playing that’ and add their parts as ideas grew and developed into songs. It was a very old school and democratic process, writing this way, and I think this approach to creating is part of the reason the band still get along so well together.
It was great having Mark Ronson produce the album, and the concept that he brought with him for the record “let’s make Rio 2”! His attention to detail was quite something.
I love all the tracks, but standouts for me are "All You Need is Now," "Girl Panic!," "Mediterranea" and "Leave a Light On." These were all so much fun to play and help write, and "Mediterranea" was a particularly special moment for me live with the extended guitar solo. I also love "The Man Who Stole a Leopard," I was very happy with how my guitar synthesizer lead part in the middle came out. That was the first time I’d ever used a guitar synth and I was inspired.
I also have great memories of the world tour that followed to support the album. It was a long and busy one, and a great experience for me playing songs, that I’d co-written, to such huge crowds around the world.
To DD fans everywhere, keep enjoying this album. Long live AYNIN!
Simon Le Bon, Duran Duran
Initially, we went in and had a big meeting with Mark Ronson. One of the things he said was, “I think you need to reclaim the sound of Duran Duran.” He cares about the band, and felt we lost some of that with Red Carpet Massacre; he thought we could have connected with fans a bit better.
We went in to the studio and got really in to it. After a while, Mark had to leave to make his own record. He told us to carry on, and that he’d come back and join us later in the process, which he did. He set the vibe and we just moved forward.
We did some work in Armory Way (Dom’s place), then we did some work at Sphere. I think we got some amazing tracks during this period. The song “All You Need is Now” is about the connection between the band and the fans. The history of our relationship with them, and all that history leads to NOW - so all you really do need is…now!
“Girl Panic!” is one of the most spectacular videos we’ve ever made - what a great premise getting super models to play the parts of Duran Duran! I also thought the video was great in terms of gender politics and feminism, as well as being a very original idea. It was a magnificent day shooting that video in London, and I absolutely loved having Naomi Campbell play me (and Mrs. Le Bon was in the video too - the quiet one.).
I think there was some good lyrical content on ALL YOU NEED IS NOW. I love “Girl Panic!,” “Blame the Machines,” “Leave a Light On.” I had hoped “Leave a Light On” would be like “Save a Prayer,” but I am not sure it ever reached that height. “Before the Rain” is probably my favourite track on the album. I sat down in my back garden with a guitar and tried to re-write Mozart’s REQUIEM…but ended up with “Before the Rain.” It’s about the ghosts that trail around after you.
Roger Taylor, Duran Duran
ALL YOU NEED IS NOW is an album whose title said everything about this collection of songs that were ingeniously inspired by Mark Ronson’s desire to go “back to the future.” Mark encouraged us to re-visit the way we used to write and record - sometimes even using the same instruments that had been gathering dust for decades - and bring that sound right back into the NOW. Utilizing Mark’s contemporary recording techniques, Josh Blair’s all-round brilliance and Mark “Spike” Stent’s incredible, state-of-the-art mixing, my feeling is that the experiment was a resounding success. ALL YOU NEED IS NOW brought us right back into the arms of a fan base that had been anticipating this moment for many years.
Nick Rhodes, Duran Duran
Being someone who always obsesses over details, I was thrilled to be able to join all the dots in a bizarre way with the cover artwork for ALL YOU NEED IS NOW and the song “The Man who Stole a Leopard.”
The photo on the front cover, used by Clunie Reid to create the art work, was one that I had taken in Palermo at Palazzo Valguarnera-Gangi where many scenes from Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard (Il Gattopardo), were filmed. On the track “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” I used an orchestral sample at the end of the piece which was licensed from the Luchino Visconti movie, Rocco and his Brothers. The soundtrack was written by Nino Rota, who happens to be one of my favourite Italian composers, so somehow, Luchino Visconti was reunited with a leopard both through the album’s artwork and its music.
It was a real thrill to make a whole album with Mark Ronson. I think he helped us find the pathway back to the roots of Duran Duran. It’s always great to have Mark in the room, he’s a fine source of inspiration and his musical knowledge is quite extraordinary. We had a lot of fun together recording my keyboard parts with vintage analogue synths. In fact, after the album was completed, Mark went on a spending spree and pretty much duplicated my keyboard collection for his own studio – I was of course most grateful because whenever I visited him, it saved me from having to transport my fragile synthesizers back and forth.
One of the highlights of the ALL YOU NEED IS NOW project, for me, was certainly the “Girl Panic!” video. I think it’s actually one of the most complicated things we have ever attempted to pull off. It was the tenacity of our wonderful manager Wendy Laister, that finally paid off when she miraculously coordinated the schedules of five supermodels, the four members of Duran Duran and film director Jonas Åkerlund to converge in London at the Savoy Hotel. Whilst our original plan was to release the video much earlier alongside the single, I am glad we did not did not give up on the idea and were able to follow it through a few months later.
The tour was long and had many highlights. I don’t usually speak during our live shows (aside from the occasional flippant remark during “The Reflex”), though on this tour I had been nominated to introduce a song; I chose “Blame the Machines,” a personal favourite from the album, which enabled me to tell absurd stories about locally invented technology. This worked particularly well in Australia, but I fear my stories were getting increasing longer as I could see John fidgeting on the other side of the stage.
John Taylor, Duran Duran
ALL YOU NEED IS NOW is the 10th studio album by Duran Duran, coming as it does after RED CARPET MASSACRE.
ALL YOU NEED IS NOW was produced by Mark Ronson and conceived as an alternative ‘follow-up’ to RIO. We employed similar production techniques and instrumentation.
It is one of my favorite Duran albums, having a fantastic energy and sense of authenticity and DD DNA.
I have many good memories from making this album: “Blame the Machines,” inspired by a news story about the trouble you can get into with a faulty GPS, “Safe (in the Heat of the Moment) - somewhere there is an early demo of that featuring an extemporizing Q Tip - love to hear that again – “Girl Panic!,” which inspired a GOAT video and “Runway Runaway.” I love this song! Wish that had made it to radio (and video).
The video for AYNIN was directed by our dear friend Nick Egan. It was a real ‘hands-on’ Warhol Factory style job, everyone involved like the early days. I love it!
Also, a big fan of the cover art.
If you haven’t played this album lately, today is a good day to do so!
All photos by Nick Egan