1985 is a year I am forever fond of.
I was the flower girl at my Auntie’s wedding that brutally hot Southern California summer. (An event I almost ruined by bawling my eyes out during the ceremony– terrified the rites meant I would never see her again.) It was the year of Marty McFly, We Are the World, Punky Brewster (yay!), New Coke (boo!), Nintendo, bad perms and great flipping music.
It’s also the year that my favorite band of the ’80s, Duran Duran, split for what was to be the first in a long line of splits.
But it was a good split. Not one of those narly, messy Tiger Beat soap operas that had teenage girls in black sackloth and candlelit vigils. (That came a few years later.) No, this was quite different. An amicable split to explore the natural curiosities and urges that intrigues 20-somethings the world over. It was in fact less of a split and more of a side-project. Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon (swoon) and Nick Rhodes (faint) explored the phantasmagoria of deeply gothic synth rock while John Taylor (thud) joined ranks with rocking Robert Palmer’s Power Station.
They called themselves “Arcadia” and the Mad Max-ish Soft-pornish erotica of their epic video, Election Day, gave way to what is the point of this particular post: a delightful, whimsical homage to 40s screwball whodunnits. The Flame is a gem hidden beneath Duran Duran’s glossier, bigger budget big-brothers. Murder on the Orient Express, The Thin Man, House of Horrors and even Bringing Up Baby are sampled– Simon LeBon channeling a convincingly slapsitck Cary Grant, while Nick Rhodes is, as ever, the elegant omniscient puppeteer.
The reason for this admittedly random post is quite simple. At the age of six I was in love with the band, but also the style and fun of this video. As an adult, looking back, it’s wonderfully amusing to realize that even at six, my fate was sealed: the romance and mystere of classic film was already in my blood.
2 thoughts on “Duran Duran and Classic Movies (Yes, You Read That Right.)”
Although as a boomer baby I was a bit old in 1985 (30 to be precise)to have much interest in Punky Brewster (although Soleil Moon Frye did grow up to be rather hot, didn’t she?). I have to admit that I really loved what was happening musically in the early to mid 80s. And you would have a hard time convincing me that “Live Aid,” held on two continents and broadcast world wide simultaneously on TV and radio — with an unprecedented roster of talent — was anything less than the best music festival of the century It dwarfed 69’s Woodstock and 67’s Monterey Pop Festival combined, and you would be hard-pressed to find another baby boomer who would agree with that assessment.
It was the first time since the early 70s that I found myself listening to radio and hearing a lot of new music that did NOT suck. Just think — if you had been born ten years earlier, you might have been an huge fan of The Captain and Tennile rather than Duran Duran (a truly frightening thought!) Although I was crushed when The Clash broke up, there was still a great deal of music that helped ease the pain a bit, and Duran’s “Rio” may have been my favorite song of the 80s.
As flashy as the eighties were (and not just in hindsight thru rose-colored glasses), I am amazed to hear people today criticize Lady GaGa (who i also happen to like quite a bit) for her outlandish appearance and her live performance pieces. Then again, they criticized Cher’s for wearing those wild Bob Mackie creations way back when.
On a tangent, I’ve had this idea rolling around in my head for quite a while now of linking Lady GaGa with her early 20th century counterpart, Mae Murray — I’m just waiting for the creative mood to strike me!
PS: You have just won the honor of being the first person to have the opportunity to see my latest post, here:
I’m sorry to be such a shameless whore, but I can’t help myself . . .
Duran Duran is one of my favorite bands. This was a very cool post. I enjoyed it a lot. Took me back down memory lane.