Put it on, leave it on – Essential Albums: Duran Duran – “Rio”


Although The Cottage Country Mix is the perfect soundtrack for the cottage (with over 20 hours of music), sometime you just want to put on an album. It’s an often under-appreciated experience (these days) but something the time at the cottage can afford you (hopefully). So, I purchased some cassettes for a friend’s cottage, looking for those classic albums you can listen to, for the most part, back to front. At the Cottage you don’t want to be fumbling with cassettes or LPs if you just want to be partying down by the lake. So, here is a first in a series of essential album reviews.

Duran Duran – “Rio” (1982)

In our first review of essential albums. We have Duran Duran’s 1982 album Rio. When I saw the cassette I knew it was a definite pick. This breakthrough album, that really introduced Duran Duran to the world stage, is unmistakable with its iconic cover: the illustration by Patrick Nagel (a Playboy Illustrator). But thats what they were going for: a sort of pop-hedonism. The band that had previously identified with the New Romantic movement was now expanding into a bigger-sleeker pop market. The hooks were bigger, the production was bigger. Although the first song released from Rio was “My Own Way” (albeit an alternate version before the album’s release),  but it’s the other singles that most people will know: “Hungry Like The Wolf”; the title track “Rio”; and “Save A Prayer”; However, the other songs are no slouches either: “Hold Back The Rain”, “Lonely In Your Nightmare” , “Last Chance On The Stairway”, “The Chauffeur” and “New Religion”.

But wait Dougie, does Duran Duran have a place in the rock (i.e. this is Cottage Country) pantheon? If you were to ask rockers at the time it would probably be no. This was new wave which meant keyboards, and was not necessarily guitar driven but heavy dancefloor vibes. Added that they would eventually reach boy band status in popularity didn’t necessarily assert them as a rock band. Not that they were necessarily going for that (lets be honest, if anything they were standing against the old guard). There are Giorgio Moroder influences,  Soft Cell/ Depeche Mode influences (“The Chaffeur”). I think, it’s mostly through time that “rock music” has come to terms with it as what it is: a great pop album. Also the talent of the musicians can’t be denied: the Bernard Edwards (Chic) inspired bass playing of John Taylor; the wailing harmonic leads of guitarist, Andy Taylor; and the precision dance-floor friendly drumming of Roger Taylor. All of whom are NOT related (whuuu?)

An essential album for the cottage?

So, do you need Duran Duran’s Rio in your cottage cassette collection?

Q: Is “juice like wine”? A: yes, juice IS like wine.

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