8 Deep Cuts by Duran Duran Worth (Re)discovering

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With a band with as rich a discography as Duran Duran, pulling out deep cuts is both a fun and challenging task. Originally born from the New Romantic movement of the early 1980s, the Fab Five have continually evolved and moved forward, embracing the musical elements that fans have come to love while tempering them with fresh ideas as they keep pace with modern culture. Their music has matured in the studio and on the stage over the last 40 years, and their dynamic shows reflect this. Here are eight Duran Duran deep cuts that represent their wide range of sonic adventures.

“Khanada” Duran Duran B-Side (1981)

The B-side to the “Careless Memories” single is one of the more unusual in Duran Duran’s catalog. Featuring a great melodic hook from Andy Taylor, this romantic song radiates post-punk energy with reggae bass undercurrents. In the chorus, two separate vocal lines intertwine beautifully, and there’s even sitar guitar near the end! Singer Simon Le Bon revealed years ago the song was inspired by a New Romantic clothing designer named Jane Khan whom he knew from the band’s hometown of Birmingham, England. In their early days, the group wore clothes designed by her and Patti Bell, who provided their wardrobe for the “Planet Earth” video.

“Shadows on Your Side” from Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983)

This high-energy track features nimble bass work from John Taylor along with bursts of dramatic guitar from Andy Taylor and lively sax playing from Andy Hamilton. There’s a Roxy Music influence that can be heard here. This is one of those earlier Duran works that has some darkness lurking underneath, notably during its moody coda. It’s a song that deserves some concert love because it would keep the energy level amped up.

“Winter Marches On” from Notorious (1986)

This atmospheric synthscape is a good spotlight for its emotive Simon Le Bon vocal performance, while keyboardist Nick Rhodes conjures all manner of string sounds in an ethereal milieu. There is something melancholic in this cinematic, waltz-like composition that emanates a sense of yearning. It includes intriguing lyrics like this:

The trade’s on
She drains emotion
To drink from her breast of fortune

Dreams have frozen crystal in the morning
Birth time rose
A thorn for coronation 

“Too Much Information” from The Wedding Album (1993)

Duran Duran’s second self-titled release, known as The Wedding Album, revived their profile in the early ‘90s with two Top-10 ballads, “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone.” The release had other solid tracks too, including this rock-infused ode to advertising and media overload that has become increasingly relevant since its release. Even though times had changed, Duran Duran adapted accordingly at the start of their second decade—they stayed true to themselves while exploring new vistas. Guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, who took up the mantle from Andy Taylor for 15 years, gets in some good acoustic strumming here and solid solo time at the end.

“Astronaut” from Astronaut (2004)

Although “(Reach Up for the) Sunrise” is the best-known song from the group’s reunion album for the classic lineup, the title track is the best of this collection. It’s a groovilicious tune that features funky acoustic and electric guitar work from Andy Taylor, all wrapped up in the classic Duran Duran sound. There’s also an unexpected ambient break with twangy guitar. It’s surprising this song didn’t get picked as a single, but it was performed on tour at the time.

“Zoom In” from Red Carpet Massacre (2007)

One of three tracks co-produced and co-written with Timbaland and Danja, “Zoom In” focuses on retrofuturist keyboard sounds and a contagious beat from Roger Taylor. Then-new guitarist Dom Brown, a talented player who has been with the band ever since, sneaks in some noisy guitar sounds in the background. This feels like it could be music for in a club scene in an episode of Dr. Who, and its lyrical exploration of a separate online identity would fit right in. (Fun fact: Part of “Hungry Like the Wolf” was sung in a 2013 episode of that famed British series.)

“The Man Who Stole a Leopard” from All You Need Is Now (2010)

This dreamy, elegant composition is one of the standouts from All You Need Is Now, a superlative album that harkened back to Duran Duran’s classic sound. There’s something beguiling and haunting about this tale of a man and his relationship to a caged wild animal he has domesticated in his New Jersey apartment. Female singer Kelis contributes to a call-and-response section that adds to this weirdly obsessive story. To add to the dramatic allure of the tale, British journalist Nina Hossain reads a fake news report at the end detailing the man’s arrest.

“Beautiful Lies” from Future Past (2021)

One of the standouts on Future Past, this epic track combines so many great elements—big, lush vocal harmonies gliding over a robust groove, with a somewhat gothic atmosphere that hints at the Danse Macabre album to come. One of two songs co-written and co-produced for Future Past by the “father of disco” Giorgio Moroder, this really should be played live more because it completely invokes the group’s classic era while sounding fresh and vibrant.

Courtesy American Songwriter