Duran Duran alert!

Duran Duran debut albumAs I’ve mentioned several times on this site, Duran Duran’s self-titled debut album is one of my all time favorite albums. It was one of the first records I ever bought, and I was certainly the first album I ever bought where I said “this music is for me”.

A few months ago, word leaked that the band was working on a “deluxe version” of this album (as well as Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Arcadia’s So Red The Rose; Rio was done last year).

The three disc set – which includes a remastered version of the album, a disc full of demos and rare live recordings, and a DVD of some rare videos such as live Old Grey Whistle Test performances and the “club version” of the “Planet Earth” video – won’t go on sale for at least a few weeks in the US – Amazon says April 20; DD’s website says it was pushed back to May 20. But the disc has already been released in the UK, and mp3 rips are already showing up online.

Here are some quick thoughts about the set:

– Lots of people are trashing the album remaster, saying it’s the “worst they’ve ever heard”. I won’t go that far – in fact, as far as I can tell, it sounds okay to me… it’s just not that great. I’m listening to the remastered version of “Girls on Film” as I type this, and it sounds more or less like a slightly tinny version of the last (2003) CD issue… and not “as tinny as a 70s TV”, as others have complained.

– The demo version of “Girls on Film” is surprisingly… rocky!

– It seems that “Planet Earth” once had an additional verse. The demo version – which clocks in at 5:03 – has an ending verse which goes something like this:

I came outside
I saw the night fall into rain
She brightened
(?) flashes in my brain
Whatever happened to the world we used to know
I’ve got you coming over here

You can also hear this verse in some early live bootlegs, but it’s interesting to hear an “official” version of the “lost” verse.

– And lastly… the thing hardcore Duranies have been waiting to hear for years… the original version of “Tel Aviv”. The version we all know and love is an instrumental tune, thrown in as the last track on the debut album. With the demo, we find out that it was originally a long song (6:03) and had a full set of lyrics. Have a listen:


Wow! It’s just… something to finally hear this song after almost thirty years. I’ve known about the “original” version of “Tel Aviv” for years, since a snippet of the lyrics once appeared in a Duran Duran book in a photograph of one of Simon’s early lyric notebooks. I mean, I don’t “feel like I can die happy now” having heard the song… but as a longtime Duran Duran fan, I feel like one of the biggest mysteries of the band has finally been solved… ya know?

Happy 30th birthday, R.E.M.

Happy 30th birthday, R.E.M.!! As incredible as it seems, today marks the date that the band was formed thirty freakin’ years ago!

While my love affair with the band has waned over the years (Bill Berry, while not the best musician in the band, has a great ear for what makes a good rock song, as his absence has been sorely felt), I look to the words of Whitney Matheson for inspiration:

Thirty years ago today, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry began an incredible journey together in Athens, Ga.

The journey continues, albeit as a trio. We miss you, Bill! I can’t imagine my life without R.E.M.; they became my favorite band the first moment I heard them, and it’s been that way ever since.

via Happy 30th birthday, R.E.M.! – Pop Candy