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Remembering Duran Duran’s ‘The Wedding Album’ 25 years on

Duran Duran‘s The Wedding Album (technically, called Duran Duran of course) is 25 years old today. SDE would love to be telling you about an all-singing, all-dancing anniversary super deluxe edition, but… there isn’t one. As we know, Duran Duran don’t really like to release records anymore, whether new albums, reissues, singles, 12-inch remixes…etc. Touring is their thing. Putting aside the odd Record Store Day special, they’ve issued just one physical album in the last seven years, no reissues and no physical singles. That’s bordering on perverse.

But anyway, back to The Wedding Album. To fully appreciate the success of that record and the singles (Ordinary World in particular) you need to understand just how bad things were for the band beforehand and the depths from which they had to drag themselves up. I refer The Wedding Album’s predecessor, Liberty.

It’s hard to convey just how depressing the Liberty debacle (for that’s what it was) was for a Duran Duran fan like myself. The eighties had turned into the nineties and while 1988’s Big Thing had shown declining sales, the album was excellent; an artistic triumph and crucially, it still achieved top ten singles (different ones!) either side of the Atlantic and the band had consolidated their success in their first decade with a hits compilation called Decade – even releasing Burning The Ground a fairly creative ‘mashup’ single to promote it (which, strangely, wasn’t included on the compilation). In short, nothing looked too wrong, in the world of Duran Duran.

However, when the band returned in 1990 with a new album Liberty and newly anointed full band members Warren Cuccurullo and Sterling Campbell, it was nothing short of a disaster.

Violence Of Summer (Love’s Taking Over) was a terrible choice of lead single and this lumpen uninspired slice of pop-rock entered at number 23 in the UK charts, rose three places to number 20 the following week and then simply dropped out of the top 40 altogether, residing at number 54 after only four weeks. This was despite being issued on five formats in the UK, including a remix 12-inch, although the latter’s ‘Rock Mix’ and ‘The Dub: Sounds of a Powerful Mix’ surgically removed the any redeeming qualities of the original song (not too many in the first place) with Le Bon ‘speaking’ the vocal lines in rather embarrassing fashion. The only hint of the sophisticated DD of old was the B-side Throb (which turned out to be an instrumental derived from the best track on Liberty, My Antartica).

Somehow Liberty managed to enter the UK chart at number eight when issued in late August of 1990 (Prince‘s Graffiti Bridge was in at number one, on the same week) but it dropped to 49 only three weeks later, never to be heard of again.

Worse was to come, because painful though it was (no pun intended) Violence of Summer deserved to be a flop, but follow-up Serious, issued in October really didn’t. No one outside of hardcore Duran Duran fans even knew the single was out. The album had disappeared from the charts, the band weren’t touring, and the 45 had no chance of even getting a mention on the chart rundown on Sunday because it stalled at number 48 – the first time Duran Duran hadn’t had reached the top 40 with a single release. You had to go all the way back to 1981 and Careless Memories to get anything that was even close (that peaked at 37). I remember buying the CD single at the time. Oh well (I thought) at least I get to enjoy a remix of album track All Along The Water, called ‘Water Babies’ which was a bonus track. Except I didn’t because they’d accidentally just put the standard album track on the CD. The third single was cancelled and one imagines there was some serious navel-gazing and probably some stern words, maybe even ultimatums from the record company. Referring to Liberty, Nick Rhodes admitted a few years back that “If at any point in our career I felt that we were struggling to find a direction, that would be it.”

So Duran Duran retreated, probably with their tails between their legs, and it all went a bit quiet for a number of years. Fans like myself had some interesting ‘titbits’ to buy, in the meantime, such as the Japanese ‘Pastmasters’ reissue of Arcadia’s So Red The Rose (issued in late 1990), which although it didn’t include any bonus tracks, represented the first time the 1985 album had been issued on CD. There was also a rather good untitled two-CD Duran Duran compilation (another Japanese-only release) – which collected all four Japanese remix EPs, namely Nite Romantics, Carnival, Tiger Tiger and Strange Behavior. But as grunge started to spread from West Coast America and the beginnings of Britpop stirred in the UK, some fans started to wonder if there was a place for Duran Duran in the pop charts of the 1990s? Will the 1990s be a depressing wilderness for the outfit that ruled the airwaves and MTV in the early 1980s? They were once the biggest band in the world, but maybe Duran Duran were now a spent force?

Wedding planning

The band, to their credit, were going to put things right, it’s no exaggeration to say that their career depended on it. They’d holed up in Battersea to record in Warren Cucurullo’s home studio (known as ‘Privacy’) with co-producer John Jones. Sterling Campbell had gone and it was a back-to-basics approach; knuckling down to some good old fashioned songwriting.

In some magazine or other around 1991 or 1992, John Taylor’s then wife (and one-time The Word presenter) Amanda De Cadenet was asked what she was listening to or what her favourite song was and she answered that it was an unreleased Duran Duran song called Ordinary World. Interesting…

That single was officially released in the UK in late January 1993, but had actually been put out a month early in the USA due to ‘public demand’, after it got a massive amount of airplay thanks to the song being leaked to radio a few months earlier.

I remember very clearly the excitement because I used to frequent a record shop in Fulham in London that was one of those places that was off the beaten track and – I think – run by some blokes in the industry. Therefore you’d regularly find all sorts of promos and pre-release copies of singles. Pre-internet, pre-social media, it was incredibly exciting to find something that ‘wasn’t out yet’ and that’s exactly what happened with Ordinary World. I came across a copy of ‘CD 2’ of the single at least a couple of weeks before the official release! I could barely contain my joy although as I paid some relatively small amount for the item, the guy behind the counter was all very nonchalant and seemed to not understand THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TRANSACTION.

I’m trying to remember whether I’d even heard the song at all at this point. I think I had, via UK radio or even something like Casey Kasem doing his run down on a late night showing of his American Top 40.

But hey, hearing bits the song on radio or TV was one thing, but this was an official CD pressing that I could play on my NAD CD player. Yes, I was only 23 but I was already taking my music seriously!

The song sounded immense, epic, lush, emotional; in short a CLASSIC. It had a lyric with meaning, a melody that soared. Gone was the digital brashness and emptiness of most of Liberty – here was acoustic guitars, elegant strings, understatement and a memorable melody. Me and my friend Aubrey obsessed over the song. I think the phrase “fucking brilliant” was used quite often. Even the artwork was cool… hinting at ecology and with a groovy ‘cut and paste’ sticky tape vibe. A big improvement over the narcissistic look-at-us-hanging-out-at-the-fun-fair-with-beautiful-women Liberty promo shots. Incroyable, indeed.

Although in early 1993 we were edging towards an the era where Radio One would start to reject mainstream and heritage pop artists – and redefine their public service remit as one which decreed they had to play more ‘new acts’ leaving the mainstream fair to commercial radio – we weren’t there yet. This is a crucial point, because it meant we were still living in a world where if you wrote and recorded a ‘good song’, bands like Duran Duran still had the chance of having a hit. These days if Duran Duran come up with a corker, it won’t get played because… well, they’re Duran Duran.

Anyway… for the next few weeks it was operation ‘what’s-the-news-on-Ordinary-World?’ Any TV show that might play the video or feature the band was watched/recorded. Any radio airplay, noted and discussed. It was looking good. There was a definite ‘buzz’.

And then it happened. As a fan of pop music you get used to disappointment. Favourite 45s underperform. Record labels choose the ‘wrong’ single. But after the fiasco of Liberty where virtually every decision looked WRONG instead of right, suddenly everything was spot on. Ordinary World was undoubtedly the correct lead single for a ‘comeback’, holding it back for a follow up to something else would have been a reckless move – the stakes were too high. EMI was not messing around. There were no remixes; no arty B-sides. Between them, the two UK CD singles delivered classic hits as extra tracks, including The Reflex, Hungry Like The Wolf, Girls On Film, Save A Prayer and Skin Trade. The video (courtesy of Nick Egan) was excellent – cinematic, expensive looking but also elegant and restrained. Simon’s hair looked cool. Warren still had hair. Basically, the box marked ‘hair’ got a big tick. If it all went pair shaped, no one could claim they hadn’t given it their best shot.

Ordinary World entered the UK charts at number 11.

Immediately, straight off the bat, it was the band’s second biggest hit since Notorious in 1986 but then in the second week the song rose to number six, eclipsing No-No-Notorious (which peaked at number seven). A View To A Kill from ’85 became the last single that performed better (still the most successful Bond single, fact fans), and before that it was their ‘imperial’ phase. Not even Simon choosing to sing live on Top Of The Pops and EMI opting not to release Ordinary World on 12-inch vinyl (a Duran first) could spoil the party.

It felt like there was no limit to what this song could achieve and the success it could enjoy… but surprisingly it held at number six in the following week and then dropped to number nine a week later. The only, a-hem, ‘no limit’ evident was 2 Unlimited who were in the middle of a five week run at number one. It would have been churlish to have been too disappointed, but the song definitely felt like it was a potential number one. The silver lining was that thanks to the early release in the USA, where singles climb sloth-like up the charts, Ordinary World was in the top ten on both sides of the Atlantic AT THE SAME TIME. That’s proper old school, big hit single success. And while it didn’t quite make it to the top spot in America either (peaked at number three) the song was like a shot of adrenaline into the heart of Duran Duran. They were BACK and even people who had always thought they were wankers, had to grudgingly admit that Ordinary World was a ‘decent’ song (it would go on to win an Ivor Novello award).

But much like in tennis where commentators and pundits like to remind us that ‘you haven’t broken serve until you’ve held the next game’ Duran Duran were going to need another great single to keep the momentum going. Could they serve a second big hit? Would it be an ace? Were their ‘new balls’ going to maintain their bounce. Is this tennis analogy ever going to end? The album was about to be released and it would be time to find out if it was any good and play ‘guess the second single’.

But let’s talk about the album. In theme of getting all the decisions right the cover was excellent. No contemporary images of the band just a collage of vintage wedding shots of band members parents – hence ‘The Wedding Album’.

The Magnificent Seven

It’s a 13-track album which I think is too long, to be honest, but this was the CD era and the tendency was to try and fill the CD to give value. Taking a dispassionate look at it, I think there’s seven songs on The Wedding Album that range from pretty good to superb. They are as follows: Too Much Information, Ordinary World, Love Voodoo, Come Undone, Breath After Breath, U.M.F., and None of the Above. Seven tracks out of 13 doesn’t sound like a classic, but it’s not an exaggeration to claim that any of those tracks could have been singles. Land and Palomino from Big Thing were great songs, but didn’t really have mainstream appeal beyond the band’s hardcore fanbase. In other words, even once you got beyond the singles The Wedding Album offered lots to enjoy to non-DD fans. In short, it crossed over.

TOO MUCH INFORMATION is decent enough although I’d rank it as my least favourite of the seven tracks listed above; it scrapes in, basically. It’s obviously a powerful uptempo number and has a lyric of conviction but it’s a little too rocky; designed with an eye for the road, perhaps? Duran Duran aren’t a rock band. I don’t know when this song was written, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was early on when they hadn’t quite washed Liberty out of their system –  it does have that feel to it. It’s rather charmless, so choosing this song as the third single after Ordinary World and Come Undone was a big mistake. The first mistake in what was, until that point, a flawless campaign.


ORDINARY WORLD has been covered in detail above, although I will add that the single mix is far better than the album version. If you are wondering what the difference is, the single mix starts with the acoustic guitar riff, whereas the album version brings in some strings first. Then the single mix has an electric guitar solo at 2.39, whereas the album version replaces it with acoustic guitar (around the 2.52 point). The acoustic guitar sounds great at the beginning of the song, but in the middle the electric is better. One of the best ‘bits’ in the single version is the build up to a final triumphant chorus after the line “ours is just a little sorrowed talk…” but criminally, the album version doesn’t have the vocal chorus, it segues into the electric guitar solo that features at 2.52 in the single mix. Okay, the chorus happens again after the solo, but  it’s not half as tight and powerful as the single mix. It’s funny, because that CD single I picked up early was ‘CD 2’, which did indeed feature the single mix. However, CD 1 was the disc that was issued on the day the single came out in the UK and that version had the album mix. I could never understand that. Fans had to wait a further week to pick up ‘my’ CD 2 with the mix they would have been hearing on the radio. It’s a wonderful song, but structurally, the album version to me always feels a little flabbier than the lean and keen 45 mix which really goes for the jugular.


LOVE VOODOO is a slinky, dubby delight, with some great keyboard flourishes from Nick. The song has a seductive melody and Simon seemed to get his singing tone just right. This is an important point and applies to much (although not all) of the album. With Liberty Simon adopted a rather shouty, rocky edge to his vocal performance… almost ‘over singing’ them at times, but not here. Also, I don’t know if someone ‘had a word’ with Warren, but his ‘LA rawk’ setting on electric guitar was largely binned and Love Voodoo benefits from a lovely sparing acoustic guitar figure at 1.39. This lightness of touch does a great service to the song.


U.M.F. sounds like it could be awful for the first 40 seconds. Simon is guilty of his ‘speaky’ vocals and to be frank it’s not looking good, but then when the break happens at 40 seconds in, with the ‘Take it from me…’  line (ending with ‘such a wonderful person’) the song goes up to a whole other level… and we haven’t even got to the chorus yet. It has a genuinely witty lyric and just loads of great elements; the parping horns, the whistling, the ‘oooh oooh’ backing vocals. Three minutes in and there appears to be more inventiveness and creativity in U.M.F. than in the whole of the Liberty album. After four and a half minutes they could have faded out, but what the hell, let’s throw in a cool outro section! U.M.F. has wit, charm, melody and a great arrangement. Somehow, Simon gets away with a lyric with the line “I’m making love to the ultimate mind”!


NONE OF THE ABOVE was a single in Japan and really could have (should have?) been a single in the UK. It follows Nile Rodger’s Chic ‘rulebook’ and starts with the chorus (accapella). Like U.M.F. the name of the game here is melody and a great arrangement. The verse melody is fantastic and Simon’s singing is superb. It really is famine to feast when you compare Liberty with The Wedding Album, in terms of melody. None of the Above has the great verses.. (“There was a time…”) an blistering break (“Can’t take this attitude…”) and then a cracking chorus (“I am I myself alone…”). Nothing feels forced in this song, all the different elements fit together like a glove and and it’s another thoughtful lyric from Simon. Warren does let loose a bit at the three minute mark, but the song can take it and in fact the guitar is wonderful at the end section at around the 3.56 mark.


Come Undone stands head and shoulders above everything else on the album, with the exception of Ordinary World. It’s a stunning piece of work with that ‘liquid’ guitar figure intro. Simon’s vocals are as good as anything he’s ever delivered and like the all the best songs on The Wedding Album it has a great lyric married to a brilliant melody. But the quality of the production shouldn’t be underestimated. The song just sounds so good. As soon as I bought the album (on the first day it came out, of course) I couldn’t stop playing Come Undone. Obviously this ended up being the second single, but I remember fretting that some fool would try to be too clever and not release it. However, even the most inept record company marketing person could not fail to see that single number two chose itself. Ordinary World announced to the world that Duran Duran were BACK, and Come Undone said ‘we’re not going anywhere’. It beggars belief that this single wasn’t a top ten hit in the UK (it peaked at number 13) but in America at least Duran Duran did have had another top ten single. The success of Come Undone sent The Wedding Album back up the charts all around the world.


Breath After Breath is the most unusual song on The Wedding Album. This collaboration with Brazilian singer-songwriter Milton Nascimento was a commercial enough prospect for a video to be made, and for a while there were hints that this might be chosen as a fourth single, but that never happened.


So they are the magnificent seven, but what about the other six tracks?

Drowning Man is a housey, trancey number that is simple not very good. It did actually get a limited standalone 12-inch vinyl release in America (there was a UK 12-inch promo too) but honestly, why wasn’t this left off of The Wedding Album and relegated to B-side status? Not only is it a terrible song but it’s so discordant and not in keeping with most of the album. And it comes early on – it’s the fourth track!

Shotgun isn’t really a ‘song’, more of a short 55 second segue. It’s fine, but why bother? They could have simply tacked it on to the end of something else instead of giving it full track status. When The Wedding Album first entered the UK charts, on the Radio One album chart show, they played Shotgun to an audience who had at that point only heard Ordinary World. I remember being very annoyed by that, given how many other good songs were on the album. I’m sure the radio producer thought ‘it’s short, let’s go with Shotgun‘.


Femme Fatale is of course a cover of the Velvet Underground song. This recording represents something of a premonition really, because although we didn’t know it at the time, the much derided (although actually not that bad) covers album Thank You would be the next studio outing. This song being on the album does seem totally pointless. It’s pleasant enough, but really adds nothing.


Shelter / To Whom It May Concern / Sin Of The City

I’m grouping these together because there’s something about the last three tracks of The Wedding Album. They are very much album tracks in the sense that you could never imagine any of them being singles and they all share the same kind of tone and production. It’s as if the new found songwriting discipline and ‘craft’ that makes ‘the magnificent seven’ so good was thoroughly depleted and a bit of laziness crept back. Shelter is a kind of heavy-footed funk workout while To Whom It May Concern has a similar sound and is a chanty protest about ‘some people’ and ‘Mr Bones’ (Nick wrote the lyrics to this song). It’s all a bit messy and not of the highest quality. Only Sin Of The City has any kind of emotional centre, retelling the story of a tragedy, although even that’s not really enough to redeem it. Simon reverts to his ‘speaky’ vocals for the verses – it’s not great and drags on for ages. That fact that for this article I had to listen to all three of these songs again to ‘remember how they go’ tells you everything you need to know really. Back in the day, I do remember regularly ‘not bothering’ to listen to the end of the album fairly regularly!


The Wedding Album entered the UK album chart at number four in mid February of 1993. In the same week Annie Lennox‘s Diva and R.E.M.’s Automatic For The People were ahead of it. As was East 17’s Walthamstow which was released on the same day and entered the UK album chart at number one. But while R.E.M. and Annie Lennox hung around the top ten for quite a few weeks after, Duran Duran dropped out the very next week and continued to drop. It looked like a familiar story in many ways, and at the end of March ’93 when Come Undone was released the album was only just in the top 40. But the quality of that second single really did the trick and for the first time in what seemed like an eternity Duran Duran had an album that climbed back up the charts. Over five weeks the album rose to number five, just one place short of its peak position. It then stayed in the top ten for three weeks before slowly dropping out again.

The album was also a top ten hit in America and undoubtedly viewed by fans, band and record company as a big success. I think it’s this aspect and the career rejuvenation that we celebrate 25 years later, along with two hit singles that genuinely sit shoulder to shoulder with the band’s best work. In truth, as examined in some detail above, The Wedding Album isn’t a ‘classic’ album in the way that we might view the aforementioned Automatic For The People. There are too many average songs on it, but with some small adjustments it could have been so much better. A nine-track album – the ‘magnificent seven’ and maybe Femme Fatale and Sin of the City would have been much easier to digest. None of three B-sides of this era – Falling Angel, Time For Temptation and Stop Dead – are classics, although I’m aware that many fans have a lot of time for Falling Angel. Bizarrely, EMI didn’t put out any of these non-album tracks on UK singles – they didn’t emerge in Britain until the songs featured on the two-CD special edition of The Wedding Album which was issued in late ’93.

EMI/Capitol did a lot of things right for The Wedding Album campaign and the stood by the band despite the Liberty debacle, but post Come Undone they came up short for a number of reasons. They chose the wrong third single (or allowed the band to dictate the choice). None of the Above should have been single number three. Also, they only released three singles. Why? Annie Lennox’s Diva had five singles pulled from it, R.E.M’s Automatic For The People six, so there seemed no logic in stopping. More singles would have extended the chart life and interest in the album.  Against all the odds, Duran Duran were HOT PROPERTY once more, but the record company seemed to just give up when Too Much Information stalled at number 35 in the UK. I think the band deserved another chance to have a third hit from a fourth single, but that opportunity was denied.

Ultimately, this Wedding would end in a sad and messy divorce. The label apparently stood by and watched Duran Duran throw all their new found success and credibility in a dumper by allowing them to issue the ill-advised covers album, Thank You. Wrong album at the wrong time. Simon, Nick, John, and Warren really needed to consolidate and deliver another strong studio album of self-penned material, with attendant hit singles. That never happened. When they finally did do this, EMI would ultimately refuse to issue Medazzaland, the band’s ninth studio album, in the UK. The relationship with the label was over. In four short years it had all fallen apart and John Taylor was no longer even in the band. If commercial resurrection seemed unlikely after Liberty, it seemed almost unthinkable as we moved towards a new millennium. But this roller coaster ride was destined to continue… and more surprises were on the way. But that’s another story.

Duran Duran aka The Wedding Album was issued 25 years ago today. Leave a comment with your thoughts on the album and this era.

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PAUL

Just seen this. Interesting reading indeed. A re-issue is urgently needed. ‘Breath after breath’ is a gem of a track. The final track ‘Sin of the City’ is. in my humble opinion, a great closer.

Mark

Warren in Jan 2001 at a St.Petersburg, FL hotel after the show spoke to few fans at the hotel bar that his first choice for single for the Liberty album was ‘First Impression’ not ‘Violence of Summer’.

Mike Williams

Warren’s guitar licks were so good on Ordinary World, and have not been successfully replicated by later guitarists the band has used live. Since Andy Taylor is out of the band, how about letting Warren Cuccurullo back in? He is truly a guitar genius and I feel contributed greatly to the music on this classic album and it’s 2 lead singles. The band needs a great guitar player!

Neil

Great article,you seem to have covered everything regarding this excellent album. However, while agreeing with you over the standard of Liberty, I do feel that it is certainly no worse than Red Carpet Massacre or Paper Gods,both of which I can’t stand personally.I also feel that the decision to remove Warren from their line up was a poor one – for me, their output was far more interesting when he was around.

Chris Bennett

Great article, Paul. ‘Ordinary World’ and ‘Come Undone’ are both classic songs.
The highlight of the album for me is ‘Ordinary World (Acoustic Version)’ on disc two of the special edition. It has a beautiful arrangement.
Personally I love ‘Too Much Information’ but, as mentioned on someone else’s post, it probably wasn’t a smart move to release it as a single with the MTV and BBC references.

Chris Bennett

Great article, Paul. ‘Ordinary World’ is a truly classic song and ‘Come undone’ closely follows. Personally, I especially love the acoustic version of ‘Ordinary World’ which appeared on disc two of the special edition of the wedding album.

Chuck

Double white vinyl in a gatefold please. Been waiting YEARS!,

Larry Davis

As I said, I got the album back yesterday and listened to it top to bottom for the first time in like 25 years…read your comments Paul, and here’s my take… Agree with most but not all of it…13 tracks and 62 minutes is longer than usual but not overlong…in reality, the album is 12 songs because “Shotgun” is not even a SONG but a pointless interlude of 55 seconds… Big disagreement on “Drowning Man”… That is a FANTASTIC song with an amazing chorus and shoulda been a single, and it forms a purple patch with “Love Voodoo”… I also really enjoy “Breath After Breath” because i love Bossa Nova music and that was clearly the influence here…as for the last 3 tracks, I enjoy them, with “Sin Of The City” a cool finale…I also agree “None Of The Above” really shoulda been single #3, with that ace chorus. I DO enjoy “Too Much Information” but that does NOT sound like a single whatsoever…as for your comment on it being too rocky and that DD are NOT a rock band?!?!? What the heck are you on about?? Of course they are!! All punk, new wave, powerpop, Britpop, arty fashion-influenced bands, Glam bands, are ALL rock bands of a different sort than, say, classic rock like Zeppelin or prog like Rush or Marillion or Porcupine Tree…and DD are not a soul/R&B band or a country band or a jazz combo…all pop bands with the trad guitar/bass/keyboards/drums/lead vocals approach are rock bands basically…great article as usual Paul, cheers…

jamesc

Great article Paul! I was nodding my head in agreement with so many things as I was reading it. Especially, regarding Too Much Information. I always thought None Of The Above was the obvious choice for the third single and it’s a shame it was only released as one in Japan.

I was working for Capitol around that time and a promo cassette appeared in mid-1992 with a slightly different track list and was set for imminent release. I grabbed one and was playing the heck out of it for a week or so and then everyone was abruptly told to return all copies as the album was put on hold. I couldn’t understand why since it was such a solid album and Ordinary World was an obvious hit single.

I believe there was a management change and then the album reappeared on the schedule for early 1993 with Come Undone and Femme Fatale replacing what ended up being two b-side tracks. It seems like those two tracks were recorded during that interim period since they never appeared on any of the demo collections that are floating around for the album.

Of course, it all worked out for the best since Come Undone might not have been written if the album had been released in 1992. Femme Fatale was alright but I think it probably would have been better as a b-side.

1992 promo cassette:
Too Much Information
Ordinary World
Love Voodoo
Drowning Man
Shotgun
Stop Dead
Breath After Breath

UMF
None Of The Above
Time For Temptation
Shelter
To Whom It May Concern
Sin Of The City

Gareth Pugh

I read somewhere that at that point the album’s title was to have been ‘Here Comes the Band’ and that some early promo cassettes even carried that name. I also heard another working title at one point was ‘Four on the Floor’ – punning on the old musician’s nickname for a 4/4 beat with an in-joke by the band that working late at Warren’s meant they sometimes ended up kipping round there in sleeping bags!

Albert

Would be great if there was a Scott Walker cover of ‘Ordinary World’. Apart from the guitar solo I thought it was very Walker Brothers when I first heard it.

hamicle

I’d definitely be keen to hear Scott Walker takle it in his current style.

Jason Brown

It’s a good album. One of the first CD’s I bought a deluxe edition of (the 2CD version you refer to). Too Much Information is a great, great track – my favourite DD track ever. Bit of filler, some naff lyrics (you peeled me like an onion skin…?) but a solid album, dwarfed by the three singles (and I have a soft spot for Drowning Man). Not a patch on All You Need Is Now, mind…

Larry Davis

It’s funny… Or some might think kinda sad (cue TFFs Mad World)…with this talk of TWA (cue said airline), no word on a deluxe/SDE, I figured I need it back, so I had recently ordered a box of 100 random mystery CDs from a seller on eBay for like $27…risk free proposition…some were good and keepers, most were crap but sellable… Or so I thought…anyhoo, this one local used CD store on Long Island called Mt Cheapos…they cherrypicked a handful and gave me a dollar credit… Oh joy…well they had a good condition used copy of TWA for…get this…$1.99!!!! So with my dollar credit, it only cost me $1.09…now I’m off to Goodwill to pawn off the rest cuz no other store wants the others…sad…and I have plenty of blank cases too…it’s alright tho, I got my money’s worth from that box…I won’t buy those mystery boxes again tho…too much time shlepping the majority around…

Larry Davis

It’s called MR Cheapo’s…Paul, you really should have an EDIT button to correct posts before entering them with errors not caught beforehand… Just an idea…always love the site Paul cheers…

Jules

Great review, Paul – it’s still one of my all-time favourite albums.

I’m guessing the record shop in Fulham was on Dawes Road and called ‘On Broadway’ – which would mean the nonchalent bloke who served you was dear old John – if it wasn’t country music he wouldn’t have been interested in the slightest…!

Jules

It’s still there, but moved a few doors further down the road. The original shop was like Aladdin’s Cave. There must have been half a million 7″ singles downstairs – mostly demos and ‘A’ labels, and thousands of 12″s, too. I went through the lot over a number of years. Sadly they had a flood in the basement and everything that was left got damp or ruined. They all ended up in a skip outside!

scottyboy

Another great article and great to see so many comments and it was really good to re-listen to this album which I’ve not heard for a long time. I seem to recall I bought the CD on the day it was released and was really impressed by it, though I will agree that a few tracks could be omitted (i.e. Shotgun and Femme Fatale). It was strange that they just called the album “Duran Duran”, especially as that was the name of their debut album too but then again, David Bowie did the same with his first two albums.
I thought the Liberty album was ok, with the two stand-out tracks being “My Antarctica” and “Serious”, btw if you ever watch the “Serious” video, the blonde model in it is a young Tess Daly (BBC’s, Strictly Come Dancing presenter)!
Still think So Red The Rose tops anything they’ve done and they even said at the time that Arcadia was just Duran Duran but more advanced.

Simon

Never a fan of Duran Duran (although I did like and buy Planet Earth but later gave it to some girl in a failed attempt at wooing her) but I did enjoy your piece Paul, thanks!

A . Vogt

Great article! I agree with nearly everything in it, and I felt much the same way as a teenager in Iowa back in ’93, feeling very vindicated for being a longtime fan. One thing though: “Shelter” is a great track, one of the album’s best songs. Give it another listen!

Phillip Fogel

Fab review Paul, thanks. I was a Duran fan in the 80’s along with the other Brit Pop invasion (Culture Club Eurythmics, Tears For Fears…), I became an even bigger “mega” fan in the later 80’s with Notorious and Big Thing but after that I kind of lost track of them. I don’t remember much about the Liberty era, just a vague memory of it being mentioned and then it just disappeared. I never got the album till years later. I remember hearing Ordinary World for the first time and failing instantly in love with it, the melody and words blew me away. I was also shocked that Duran could have a hit again. Because of this album I was able to see them live for the first time. It’s not my favorite album but it extended their career. While the next few albums were IMO hit or miss it did lead us to the fabulous Astronaut, AYNIN and Paper Gods which I seem to be in the minority in loving. Plus I got to see the incredible Astronaut Tour, and 2 years ago the Paper Gods tour with Nile Rodgers, seeing him play live on Notorious with them was a concert highlight for me. Would this of happened had the Wedding album and Ordinary World not been a hit?

bob

This is another great in depth article Paul, one of the reasons that many of us check into your site on a daily basis.
I am traveling just now and internet access is limited therefore haven’t read all of the posts. Has anybody mentioned when they briefly changed their name to Duranduran (all one word)
I can’t remember exactly when they did this but I am sure it was about early 90’s.

Rob

Great article. I do disagree with some points, particularly that Big Thing was an excellent album. It wasn’t. It was very patchy, especially the “dance side”. It’s similar in Paper Gods in trying to sound contemporary. It’s not bad though.

It’s interesting that the 7 highlights you picked are the only songs from the album that have performed live to this day. I think those 7 tracks along with Fallen Angel would make a great 8 track album. Also there is a great unreleased track from this era called Matter of Fact.

Kevin Galliford

Paul, what is that DD book you are holding. I ask because I collect their tour programmers & have never seen that one before, unless it’s sheet music. Career wise, I think the best thing they could’ve done would be an MTV unplugged one as that was very fashionable & popular at the time but I don,t think they wanted to do that. Another interesting tit bit is “come undone” was the last thing to be written for the album & done without John Taylor. He ‘d gone back to LA & did’nt want to return but the band being the nice chaps that they are still gave him a writing credit.

John

I have the book for this album too, the sheet music. I don’t think Astronaut was released, but it’s possible the music is available digitally as many often are now.

Rob Kirby

At the time I ended up picking up the US CD single of Come Undone because it featured To the Shore, which still wasn’t on CDs of their first album at the time, having been sliced out to include Is There Something I Should Know. To my surprise, it isn’t the album version at all For starters, it begins with a background beat box that fades in and then you can hear a bass guitar note playing across the opening sweeps up to when the song kicks in to full gear following the “sanhedralyte” (sp?) lyric. I’m guessing this was an alternative mix that accidentally got picked off the shelf, but I’ve never seen anyone mention this lovely little curiosity, although I’m sure someone must have done :)

American Scientist

Excellent piece.

Agree 100% that the album could have been edited down (10 or 11 songs) and tweaked (lose Shotgun, Drowning Man, Femme Fatale; add Falling Angel) into a classic. As it stands, The Wedding Album is a handful of stellar tracks (OW, CU, TMI, BAB, LV, NOTA) and Liberty 2.0.

Its place in history is secure by the fact that DD would probably not be around today had it not been for OW and CU.

TMI was the right call for the third single as it sounded vaguely “grunge” and was in keeping with the alternative rock movement of the time. But agree that the album has at least 2 more singles in Love Voodoo or None of the Album. EMI seemed to throw in the towel by Fall of 1993 while the right fourth single could have carried the album into the holidays (to conincide with the MTV Unplugged).

RTW

This is a great article but you’re absolutely wrong about “Sin of the City,” perhaps my favorite track on the album. Let’s just say that they actually got right all the things they’d failed at doing before… and then there’s that chorus. It just soars, funks, and grooves, all at the same time… one of those endlessly repeatable codas that should have gone on for 30 more minutes. It’s that good.

Eriv

This wedding lp is the best arcadia lp ever..just sayin..

Chris Gerard

I agree that the Wedding Album is too long, although I’m actually rather fond of Femme Fatale. It’s one of their better covers, and frankly it might have made an excellent 3rd single. I can see why Too Much Information was chosen, but that kind of acerbic diatribe rarely makes much of an impact. Ordinary World and Come Undone are indeed brilliantly-crafted classics. I don’t see None of the Above or Love Voodoo having much better luck in the US than Too Much Information, but Femme Fatale may have been an easier sell at radio. But of course hindsight is 20/20. I agree that it’s sad only 3 singles were released. This needs to be reissued – the original vinyl on 1-LP sounds terrible as it’s too much music jammed onto one disc. I’d love to have a nice 2-LP version.

As for Liberty, I agree w/ your assessment of Violence of Summer. It’s just plain awful. Probably the worst single of their career, and to lead off a new album project with it… just insane. It sunk the album. It’s not *that* bad – some different sequencing and different single choices may have salvaged it. My Antarctica is clearly the one real classic DD song on the album, although Serious is excellent as well. Neither of those feel like a first single, though. “First Impressions” may have been the best choice, with a tightened-up remix of “Liberty” another possibility. But that’s really what the album was missing. The supporting cast was mostly there, but not that big first single to really launch the project.

Larry Davis

Ya know…big DD fan and I might be in the minority here, but I actually LIKE, even LOVE, “Violence Of Summer (Love’s Taking Over)”!! I see nothing wrong with that song whatsoever and often complained that it’s missing from all singles compilations!! Now, I never owned a copy of “Liberty” but intended on buying a deluxe after “Big Thing” as that got a deluxe… I did like “Serious” too…as for “The Wedding Album”, I find it great but not perfect, I do enjoy the “Thank You” covers album, although a weird choice of follow-up despite covers albums being in vogue mid90s, and “Medazzaland” was great and got screwed from lack of promotion and no UK release…the single from it was a lost hit single methinks…same with “Pop Trash”… That period for DD between 1993 and 2002’s “Astronaut” was just weird…but interesting and unpredictable and i do agree, without “The Wedding Album”, DD coulda been finished…or just reduced to a hits/nostalgia act, which woulda been sad…I personally think “Paper Gods” and to a point, “All You Need Is Now” were two if their best albums…without TWA, those 2 and “Astronaut” would never have existed in the first place…

Neil Kelly

What a truly wonderful article. I love ‘The Wedding album’ and always have. I’d like to point people in the direction of live versions of ‘Come Undone’ around the time. They appear on bootlegs and i watched what i think was an acoustic MTV thing in the early hours of this morning having linked up my phone to my TV for the first time (i watched over 2.5 hours of music via YouTube and enjoyed EVERY minute – so addictive)! The female backing vocalist on these performances is Lamla (i presume i have the right spelling). I can’t even remember if it’s her on the record or how much she contributes to the album. Of course she’s dead now and presumably died young i do remember hearing at the time (it was a few years ago). I’ve also dug this album out again recently for the car but all of this is purely coincidental.
One thing i must strongly disagree though is regarding new albums. I adore both ‘Paper Gods’ and ‘AYNIN’ and feel that their output of late is pretty standard for an 80’s band. We’ve not had a new album (unfortunately) from The B-52’s since 2007 and only one in 26 years. Kraftwerk’s last was 2003 and only one in 32 YEARS. In that timeframe we’ve had quite a few from Duran

Dan T.

Great article, Paul. It is incredible to see behind the scenes at what record companies believe is a hit song or not… Ordinary World is one in a million! One of my all-time favorite songs, start to finish.

Ordinary World holds a special place for me, simply because I grew up hearing a lot of Duran Duran in the early 1980s, then didn’t hear much from them at all until college, when I heard Ordinary World… and I was smitten. It was also the very first mp3 file I remember hearing (being an audiophile and collector, that aspect didn’t sit well with me), so I straightway went out and purchased the CD at the local record store. I still have it to this day, and spin it routinely.

The Wedding album also awoke me to post-1980s Duran Duran albums, and despite some clunkers in the mix, I’m the proud owner of their entire studio CD discography, at least as far as US customers are concerned. There are gems on those other 1990s Duran Duran albums too!

Paul, articles like this are truly why I feel your corner of the internet is so valuable. Thanks again!

SimonP

Recently re-purchased this album in a charity shop, as it went with my ex-girlfriend when we split in ’93. I’m not usually one for single edits, but having just compared the two, I agree the single mix of Ordinary World is better.

One drawback of this album was the fact that the Night Versions the band recorded in the eighties were a distant memory by the time this came out and all we got were terrible 90s remixes. Ordinary World didn’t suffer the same fate as Come Undone, though, thankfully.

Richard

great and thoughtful review of the Liberty / Wedding Album era, Paul.

I will add my 2c worth – My Antarctica, off Liberty, is in my top 3 favourite Duran tunes ever (and Serious is in my top 10). Not bad for such a bad album. Anyway, I had to go back and listen to the Wedding album while reading your review and it’s pretty much spot on.

I lamented at the time that some singles were released in foreign territories and therefore only available as expensive imports – thinking of the 3″ CD of None of the Above from Japan, but it was great the Duranies could have another bite from the apple.

Cris

Even though it is widespread knowledge that bands earn more money with tours rather than records (I guess owing to reduced sales these days, otherwise I would not imagine another specific explanation; pardon my limited intelligence for what regards economics or pop music contracts) I never thought as DD willfully neglecting releases themselves but i have always rather pointed at the record company for being inept.
It does not even match with Nick’ s and John’ s nostalgia and love of vinyl, nor with the precious release of “A Diamond in the Mind”.
So I guess you are just being provocative Paul, and I second that tactic, in order to grab WB’ s balls (if they have any) and make them do their job. EMI have been fantastic in their three celebratory reissues, both with the choice of additional tracks and with the graphics which were a perfect extension of the original (see the double vinyl sets). So WB if you’ re listening/reading: you are incompetent (not only in this specific case), and the job can be done if one wants to do it. And I believe you are especially considering the current vinyl resurgence.
OK, let’ s be objective: personal tastes aside, Liberty + Thank You were failures. But it does not take a genius to reissue at least The Wedding Album (and I believe that even Medazzaland and Pop Trash would be well received [maybe the former more than the latter] should they receive a first time vinyl print). I never heard TWA in full because I was not convinced enough by its singles and I postponed its purchase never imagining that the vinyl would have become so rare or so expensively valued in a ridiculous way (see Violator).
So get on with it Warner, start doing a bit of work and among the avalanche of reissues of all kinds that is going on start releasing all the vinyl that is being asked for by the DD fanbase.
My final scattered opinions:
– OW is too Beatlesy for Duran Duran, while CU could have spared that annoying Soul II Soul beat to it even though it remains a super track (got the Italian 12″: how about that ebay sellers??).
– Thank You may be a disaster, but judging the tracks I heard: Perfect Day and Thank You are wonderful, White Lines is stupid and the album contains a work of pure genius that is Drive By. Not many bands in history have been able to reprise a masterpiece with its “Part II” thirteen years later and repeat the trick with its successor (Leopard) in their career, thus providing three sublime tracks with the same feel, almost a triptych, in the time span of thirty years.
– Liberty is shameful. Cuccurullo and Sterling with their intrusive personalities should have been kicked in the arse rather than being “official members” (who cares if it’ s Warren who came up with the guitar riff of OW [did he?]).
– PG is really bad, apart from Pressure Off. Even though I think Nile is a bit too light for Duran today, he’ s lost the Reflex touch and when he gets Notorious he’ s bad for the band which becomes too black American funk. Mark Ronson is the only one (if Alex Sadkin were still here it would be great too, or even Colin Thurston…).
– Don’ t touch my Kajagoogoo Mikael! Listen better to instrument playing, production (Thurston + Rhodes), melodies, effects on their first LP and then also listen to “Islands” their second album and then you will tell me about playing real instruments and having ace tracks… I concede that without David Sylvian there would be no Rhodes and without Quiet Life LP there would be no Duran Duran LP (and especially no Planet Earth without Quiet Life the song), but I think that precisely for this reason you can be more indulgent towards Duran’ s first album…
– All She Wants Is: great atmospherics, very DD and new wave, but there’ s another song that does not have a chorus, and gets lost in the housey approach the band decided to embrace.
– RCM is really a great collection of songs but they are “simply” awfully produced. I cannot express enough my hate for Timbaland and his gang, now who on earth is this guy and what has he done to have been so “sought after” as a producer? All the records I have happened to read as produced by him appear to have been disasters. I despise him really. And what were DD thinking, that it was enough to go to a “hip” black producer to find Nile Rodgers’ reincarnation?

Cris

… And I forgot Lay Lady Lay as a super track from Thank You, too.

Charles Christopher

This album soundtracks a special moment in my life, as “Ordinary World” was released in the US (or I first heard it, anyway) the week I moved away from my small-town home to the big city of Austin, Texas. There was genuine buzz and enthusiasm about the song, and I also bought the album on release day.
I thought the production sounded deliberately crude and harsh, and self-consciously surfing the grunge and electronic genres of the times, neither of which actually suited them. They reminded me of those pretty actors or models who grow beards or stop cutting their hair to look ‘less showbiz’/get taken seriously – or like aging hipsters trying on clothes that they were just-so-slightly too old to wear. Sampling the “Ashley’s Roachclip” beat (which had been doing the rounds in hip hop and Milli Vanilli records for years) in “Come Undone” didn’t help my impression either. However, like you, I feel that the strongest songs carry the album past it’s duller moments and over the dated and hammy production touches. In fact, I’m listening to it right now and enjoying it!
Thanks for the review!

Charles Christopher

Incidentally, the pop radio station I listened to at the time was fairly adventurous and actually went back and played “Serious” from Liberty quite a lot while The Wedding Album was big on the charts. My roommate at the time was surprised when he borrowed my Wedding Album CD and “Serious” wasn’t on it. I agree that would’ve been a better choice for a single than “Violence…”
Also incidentally, I had the option of seeing either Duran Duran at the Frank Erwin Center or Judy Collins at the McCulloch Theatre (both on the University of Texas campus) – I chose Judy Collins because it was more affordable and I assumed I’d have more chances to see DD in the future.

Martin

Great review Paul! I can remember buying Serious and Burning the Ground CD singles from my local record store (Star Records!), as well as the 12″ of each, Serious being the etched version with poster. Early 1993 was a great time, Duran being back with a great album, as well as Depeche Mode with SOFAD……I got the US cd singles for Come Undone, and agree with some of the other comments that Falling (or Fallen??) Angel and Stop Dead should have been included, as well as Time for Temptation….When the re-issue double cd came out in 1994, I was disappointed with the versions on there compared to the US versions….I tend to think of the Wedding Album as the start of a run of ‘mature’ albums – Thank You, Medazzaland and Pop Trash for me is Duran’s best output and I’ve been a fan since Planet Earth – and I’m one of the few who like RCM!

-SG-

Nice article Paul. I like the whole setting, and your experience in that record store. I have fond memories of visiting stores packed with promos and exclusive items, and wondering what I might find on any given visit. No internet, no “let me look up the price on discogs” garbage, it was really different, and when you got the record it really meant something. I agree the record was a bit long, I still think the US single version of Fallen Angel is superior to the one released on the UK special edition and could have replaced one of those less dynamic songs you listed. It is a bit of a surprise that this record never got a proper deluxe treatment, and vinyl reissue, as a landmark record that brought the band back from the dead, it really has been unfairly neglected.

poptones

Although I enjoyed their early singles, I’ve never been a fan of Duran Duran but I enjoyed reading this post. This is what writing (blogs) is about : share your memories/experience/passion/enthusiasm/attachment for an artist. I liked how you brought us back in time and perfectly described the context and that era (local independant record shops / buying experience / discussions around the desk about music, etc.). You should do that more often.

Darryl

I agree. Paul great write up. Even for a semi-fan for me.
really captured the joy of the love of music. A real delight to read.

I was in London from 1998-2000 on my OE (overseas experience) from New Zealand. I don’t think I ever checked out the Fulham second hand stores.
I lived in Shepherds bush so frequented out those stores and Notting Hill. As well as the the little ones round Soho.
I recall the charity store on Marylebone always had promos in there all the time so reckoned some record company was offloading stuff there all the time.

Stevie B

I was never a huge fan of Duran Duran but I did like them, so would buy the singles and occasional albums. From my memories of the 80’s once you had ONE bum single (at the most two) it was all over for you, and that’s what I think happened to DD after Notorious (1986?) so to the majority of non-fans the comeback single ‘Ordinary World’ was actually the comeback from a band we’d heard nothing of for 7 years.

I remember being obsessed with the song, and (pre-internet) and not having MTV, it was always a joy to hear it on the radio, or to ask the pub/club DJ’s to play it.

‘Come Undone’ was a superb follow up and you really were rooting for the band (like you did for Blondie when ‘Maria’ was released)… that ‘there’s still life in the old dogs’ mentality.

Unfortunately the one flop rule still applied and pretty soon they were gone off the radar for many.
I was lucky enough to see them for free at a Glasgow Hogmanay Party in George Square around about then.

I agree with your review, it was too long an album with too much filler, but I did fall for the ‘Greatest Hits’ B-Sides ‘scam’ and enjoyed the various sets of the two singles I bought.

A great much loved band which deserves some Super Deluxe Treatment over their back catalogue.

patjoller

very interesting post. I’m not a fan of the band, but did enjoy some hits back in the 80’s and of course the ordinary world tune, because as you said it, it’s a bloody well written song, stunning melody. So this was an interesting input about an era of this band I really don’t know much of. Bravo

memoryboy

I saw this and thought about it awhile before deciding I couldn’t resist writing ….

Ahhh, Duran Duran. My history with them is interesting to me, because I remember always liking their music, the video to “Hungry Like The Wolf” caught my attention I remember, and it was the song “The Reflex” on the radio all the time that also caught my ear.. back in 1983. In 1982 I remember my Aunt had the ‘Rio’ album and I remember her going to See Duran Duran in Concert one night here where we lived in California and I babysat for her (Here in California, USA). But it was until a few years later that I actually bought “Seven And The Ragged Tiger” on Cassette. I was not a big fan but I did like a few songs, and I had friends who were obsessed… And eventually later in the 80’s in 1989 I bought “Decade: Greatest Hits” on cassette. Still wasn’t obsessed, but I did like them. Especially the big hits like ‘Hungry Like The Wolf” and “The Reflex”.

Then a few years later I do remember when ‘Ordinary World’ came out, and I don’t remember the video but I thought the song was such a pleasant surprise. Just remember thinking it was excellent. I did not buy the album. Nor the single. I was even more impressed with “Come Undone”. The video was excellent I remember thinking. I think around that time I was more focused on Depeche Mode’s “Songs Of Faith And Devotion” and Nirvana, Sinead O’Connor and Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Radiohead, and others… but as for Duran Duran,… that was it. Didn’t hear anything from them again, until around 1997. I remember “Electric Barbarella” was big. But again, didn’t buy the album.

Around that time, in 1998 the “Greatest Hits” album came out in 1998. I bought it. And it came with the DVD. I once again got in to Duran Duran. Loved “Electric Barbarella”. Re-Discovered “Come Undone” and “Ordinary World”. My new-found appreciation for Duran Duran blossomed a little. Really enjoyed the early hit’s and everything that came after where I last left off, that “Greatest Hits” was remastered and re-released in 2014 and I re-bought it. And there is an improvement in sound, just to note for any of you wondering. So anyways, the “greatest Hits” was a good stepping stone, but it was nothing compared to what was to come twelve years later….

In 2010 I happened to come across the video for “Planet Earth”, I think I saw it on one of my DVD’s or maybe it was YouTube, which I had never actually seen the video before. And needless to say I was blown away. It instantly transported me back to the early 80’s, the New Romantic style, the dancing, the hair and makeup, the whole vibe. I was blown away. I always liked the song. But watching this video was an eye-opener. I had no idea they were so Fantastically cool back then. I guess the “Seven And The Ragged Tiger” Era kinda gave me the impression of “Safe, cool and hip” Boy-Band image for some reason. I am more of a “Punk, Post-Punk, New Wave, Alternative Rock” kinda guy. Anyways, watching the video to “Planet Earth” moved me to buy the Singles Box Set in 2010, and then I bought all the remastered Deluxe reissues of their 80’s albums that I could find. And what can I say? I became OBSESSED.

How could I have missed this? How could I have not been paying attention all that time? It is so strange. But that is what happens is that I find I have gone back and listened to some music and either found something new I like or re-discovered bands or artists. (David Bowie is one) and I also remember I’ve done this with a few other artists….I didn’t really have a real obsession with Madonna until 1990 when “Vogue” came out and her “Immaculate Collection” CD.

So yes it’s true, I am now a reborn certified Obsessed Duran Duran fan, a little late to the game I might add, but obsessed none the less. I play them ALL THE TIME now. All the time.

I do wish Duran Duran would re-issue their later albums after ‘Big Bang’, and also put out another Singles Box, collecting all the Singles and remixes from where the last one’s left off.

I do not own the “Wedding Album” and I do not know the songs on it other than the singles. I plan to buy it at some point. I think “Ordinary World” is one of the greatest songs from the early 90’s and I think the same of “Come Undone”. Paul, your writing was fun to read, and the excitement of when the songs and album came out back in 1993. It kinda reminds of when Depeche Mode’s “Ultra” came out in 1997. Hearing their singles “Barrel Of A Gun” on the radio and then the big hit “It’s No Good”. I was so excited at the time, to learn that DM were back, because it was all so uncertain with singer Dave’s drug addiction in the news and his near-death. I remember the excitement because that album came out of nowhere. I don’t remember hearing about it being released or even the singles. It was just a sudden surprise. And it was a very good album I might add. One of their best. (DM, Ultra)

I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments on here. Thanks Paul for this. I’m listening to Duran Duran tonight because of you, and I am rediscovering the “All You Need Is Now” album, and I find it is an excellent album.

My favorite Duran Duran song is “Union Of The Snake”.

Ian Harris

I have to disagree with the negativity over TMI – I love it, one of my top 10 Duran Duran songs. But I think people are missing the obvious; a track that disses the media, BBC, MTV etc is not going to pick up a lot of airplay on those ‘platforms’ is it? It the reverse of the way DJs would always play singles about radios.

The only track I’d get rid of from the Wedding Album would be Femme Fatale.

I’m much more a fan of uptempo pop music in general but if any band do ballads well it’s Duran Duran; Save A Prayer, the Chauffeur, Do You Believe In Shame?, Midnight Sun etc

seikotsi

Nice long article! I used to be a DD fan from when Rio came out, up till about Big Thing, which is also one of my favourites. Like most people I didn’t like liberty at all initially, but it does have a few good tracks. My favs are ‘can you deal with it’ and ‘venice drowning’ but really only after I heard them many years later on a John Taylor solo album stripped of all the overproduction. Wedding album was quite good but not very exciting. I love ‘Thank you’ though. The title track is amazing. And I found the album much more ‘fun’ than the wedding album. Meddazzaland wasn’t great except for the self-deprecating song Undergoing Treatment. I am biased towards Pop Trash, maybe because the Pop Trash tour was the only time I have ever seen them live. The problem here was a bad choice of lead single (Someone else not me sounds like a bad copy of ordinary world). But Lady Xanax, Pop Trash and Last Day on Earth are among the best songs they did. Everything DD after I just found cheesy, and I hardly listen to them anymore, and If I do it’s the singles from Big Thing, or a few song from Pop Trash. I actually prefer all John Taylor solo albums now.

Sandro

Good article Paul! I’m not DD fan but enjoyed reading it! Your article shows a true passion for music – I also take a chance to thank you for your work at Superdeluxe for keeping us updated with new releases :)
Bye Sandro

Koen Kroeze

In the end there were a lot of singles, remixes, versions… so it was a commercial succes in my opinion.

Ordinary World (multiple formats worldwide, incl. classic hits)
Come Undone (multiple formats worldwide, incl. various remixes and classic tracks)
Too Much Information (multiple formats worldwide, incl. remixes and live tracks)
Breath After Breath (promo / video single)
Drowning Man (various formats, incl. various remixes, superior to the album version)
None Of The Above (released in Japan, various versions)
Femme Fatale (released in France, including two non-album b-sides)
and
Love voodoo… a few mixes released

Also the album was available in various formats, as well as a VHS/video…

Koen Kroeze

Nostalgic…

Great review.

Jason Lent

Really great piece! As a life long fan, I find myself going to Liberty more as I get older and it has some decent moments. The best from these two albums would be a solid compilation. I remember hearing “Ordinary World” in my car driving home one night. I was so excited because DD were clearly back! Saw that tour in Florida and they were on fire.

Shaun

Looking back at TWA now it seems like their “adult contemporary” album nestled in among some more experimental or flop albums (depending on how one looks at it) of the 90’s. But as strong as TWA was it is albums like Liberty and Medazzaland that make them a more interesting band to me. It was not always easy to square the intersection of John’s funk sensibilities with Warren’s “LA rawk” style, that’s for sure, but listening to some of the demos from these albums gives one a glimpse of what might have been. Sadly John admits himself that he was mostly checked out during this era so he ended up being buried in the mix a lot. I do like much of what came out of these wilderness years but it did prove unsustainable in the end (aka no hits). There is no doubt TWA gave them that extra mileage to carry on.

Charles

I understand the disappointment with Liberty, but I’d much rather live in the alternate universe where Serious was the number one smash hit it deserved to be.

smorissey

Bordering on the perverse is not posting all the comments on the Best Buy article Paul…I mean i understand this is your blog but when one spends some time on a comment and at the end that article is not posted (don’t know why) is a waste of time…

J Galvin

Love this band and this album although it really needs a serious sonic upgrade, preferably with the Bonus single mixes. I don’t know why they stopped remastering their catalog, but let’s get back to it people.

Jim Brady

Great review of ‘the Wedding Album’ – I’m thinking, like many, that the re-issues ended with ‘Big Thing’ because of the previous disaster that was ‘Liberty’ and the following ill-advised and poorly executed “Thank You” (even though both have a very few shining moments.) If you’ve ever seen the EPK for ‘Liberty’ – I think it’s still for sale as a “video” from iTunes, at least in the U.S., where I found it – you’ve no doubt seen the crippling self-doubt and hear the meandering “jam sessions” that informed and influenced the bulk of the album. They were treading water here and probably trying to get ahead of the curve while all the time forgetting they were never part of the curve. I think it was Simon who said, after handing the album over to the suits at EMI and having been told “we don’t hear a single,” they went back to “a thing Nick and I were working on but never finished” which ended up being ‘The Violence of Summer’ – to my ears the worst single they’ve ever released. John Taylor admitted in his autobiography that he barely remembers the bulk of the recording of ‘Liberty’ due to his copious hashish intake. You can see it all over his face in the video – thin as a rake, that blank, dead look in his eyes. Pity, because I thought the previous release “Big Thing,” as a whole, was as good or even better than most anything they’d recorded to that point and that they were headed in a terrific direction –
embracing the then-current electronic dance sounds yet not forgetting their strongly Roxy-influenced moody, atmospheric and sensual side. And letting Warren over-dub some really fantastic, experimental guitar work on the second side (my favorite, BTW) really was the cherry on that sundae. Having said all that, if nothing else, the bulk of the B-sides and extras from the “Wedding Album” can be found in their second singles box set, which if I’m not mistaken is still available on iTunes (again, the U.S. store.). Sorry for the long post, but I’ll be the first to admit I could talk about this band all day long, and I’m glad you (Paul) took the time to revisit, commemorate and celebrate one of Duran Duran’s finest moments.

Mick

Great article Paul. I agree that, as was the case with so many albums released post-CD, the tendency to “fill” the CD resulted in a lot of filler on what would otherwise have been killer albums had they been a bit more streamlined. The Wedding Album was one such casualty.
I sheepishly admit I’ve always been a closet DD fan, and Ordinary World + Come Undone are certainly two of their crowning achievements.
Odd that their catalogue hasn’t been milked for reissues, DE’s, SDE’s, vinyl, etc. Must be something to do with rights, contracts, and all that sort of twaddle.

Justin (UK)

Really good article Paul! I must admit, i’d never noticed how different the single and album mixes of Ordinary World are. I too prefer the single mix. I gave it a spin this evening (o:

Vincent Marino

“Ordinary World” remains one of my favorite singles of all time. Yes, the single mix is better. It always reminded me of early 70’s Bee Gees, especially the harmonies in the chorus.

Matt

Great read. I had all but given up on DD with liberty after being a fan from day 1. I remember waking up at a friends house one Saturday after a heavy night. We had the TV on i saw and heard the ordinary world video for the first time. I had no idea a new single was on the way and i almost cried, it was that good! I was very hungover, mind you.