Four decades into their career, and there are no signs of slowing down for Duran Duran.
The group led the “Second British Invasion” of the ’80s, dominating the charts in the UK and in the US. Duran Duran has had 14 singles reach the top 10 in the UK and eleven singles in the Top 10 on the US charts. They’ve sold over 100 million records worldwide.
When forming in 1978, the band started as an alternative rock band, but by 1984, they were certified mainstream pop stars. They scored their first US Top 10 album in over 22 years when they released Paper Gods in 2015.
On the drummer Roger Taylor’s 68th birthday, we count down our 20 favourite Duran Duran hits!
20. “Violence of Summer (Love’s Taking Over)”
19. “Pressure Off” (ft. Janelle Monae & Nile Rodgers)
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 proved to be one of our favourite movie soundtracks ever.
The surprising mix of songs by the likes of Norman Greenbaum, David Bowie, Blue Swede and Redbone, it was a perfect blend of ’60s and ’70s tunes. And fans agreed: the soundtrack sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide.
With the sequel movie coming to theaters May 5, the soundtrack’s listing has been released early, and this iteration just might top the first.
More budget means more superstar names: George Harrison, Fleetwood Mac, and ELO all make appearances.
Here’s a track-by-track breakdown of Vol. 2:
1. Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra
Director James Gunn said to Rolling Stone that he had to fight to get the rights to this song, personally appealing to lead singer Jeff Lynne. “Mr. Blue Sky” has some space connections, too: the song was used as a wake-up call for astronaut Christopher Ferguson on the final mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis!
2. Fox on the Run – Sweet
“Fox on the Run” won’t appear in the film–just the trailer. But that was enough to get fans excited: it hit number one on the iTunes Rock Chart in late 2016 when the trailer went live.
If it sounds familiar, you might recognize the track from its inclusion in Dazed And Confused and Detroit Rock City.
Born 100 years ago today, in 1917, if not quite at the dawn of the recorded music era, then during its infancy, Ella Fitzgerald has done more than most singers to fill the world with beautiful music and spread the joy and the love of the Great American Song Book. But what is it that makes Ella so important? Or as Mel Tormé put it, “She was the best singer on the planet.”
As a teenager she bunked off school, worked for the Mafia and lived on the streets, so it is perhaps surprising that her purity of voice has beguiled audiences since she first recorded with Chick Webb’s Orchestra in 1935. Like so many singers from the era of the big bands, Ella’s job was to perform live for dancers at clubs and ballrooms and then to go into the studio to sing the pop songs of the day, whether they truly suited her voice, or not. As often as not these songs better suited the band than the singer.
It wasn’t until the summer of 1938 that Ella found real success and when she did it was with a 19th century nursery rhyme that was brought up to date by Van Alexander who regularly sold arrangements to Chick Webb. ‘A-tisket A-tasket’ hit the right note with record buyers and it made No.1 on the American hit parade. A year later Webb passed away from spinal tuberculosis and for the next few years Ella kept his orchestra together, billed as Ella Fitzgerald and her Famous Orchestra.
However, it was a struggle to keep it going; the band members were very demanding and Ella, barely in her twenties, found their demands difficult to rebut. In the summer of 1942 things came to something of a head when the American Musician’s Union (AFM) called a strike for all its members, which put an end to recording. Decca Records, Ella’s label, came to an agreement with the AFM in late September 1943 and instead of putting her back with her Orchestra, Decca teamed Ella with another of their prized recording assets, The Ink Spots. The result ‘Cow-Cow Boogie’ which made the Billboard top 10. Later in 1944 the same pairing scored a No.1 with ‘Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall’ coupled with ‘I’m Making Believe’.
Having had this success Decca tried to replicate the formula with recordings with Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, The Delta Rhythm Boys and The Song Spinners and there were some modest hits. One of these was her last chart success of the decade, ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ with Louis Jordan, from the Esther William’s 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter. The problem was, no one at Decca could work out what Ella should be singing solo.
The chorus of voices singing “Roooooxanne” has proven to be one of the most memorable and infectious moments in music. It’s almost impossible to not sing along when the track comes on.
For anybody who has been to the more hedonistic parts of Europe, the line “you don’t have to put on the red light” will instantly click. Lead singer Sting wrote the song while staying at a hotel in Paris during an October 1977 stay for their performance at the Nashville Club. The inspiration came from the prostitutes he saw near the hotel. In the hotel lobby hung an old poster for the play Cyrano de Bergerac, in which ‘Roxanne’ is the name of a character.
In the song, Sting narrates about falling in love with one of the prostitutes. “Not putting on the red light” is his way of telling her to hang up her career a sex worker and spend time with him, and you don’t have to wear that dress tonight” is him discouraging against her ‘work’ uniform.
Sting initially wanted the song to be a bossa nova, but says drummer Stewart Copeland suggested going in a tango direction, which he ended up preferring. In the intro of the song, you can hear a piano being struck and some laughter afterwards. This was Sting, and the band liked this impromptu moment so much they decided to keep it in the final version of the song.