40 Years of Duran Duran on Film

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40 Years of Duran Duran on Film

duran duran
Duran Duran, 1981. Photo by Gie Knaeps/Getty Images.

We’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of Duran Duran’s self-titled debut album with a look back at the now-iconic music videos that made them kings of the MTV generation.  


duran duran

When it was first released on June 15th in 1981, Duran Duran quickly climbed to number three on the UK Albums Chart and stayed in the UK top 100 for an incredible 118 weeks!

Drawing on everything from new wave to punk, Duran Duran created their own brand of shiny pop, merging space-age keyboards and disco bass with the intensity of driving post-punk guitars and Simon Le Bon’s emotive vocal, proving themselves archetypes of the burgeoning New Romantic genre. 

If the band’s art-school unorthodoxy pop wasn’t captivating enough, the singles arrived with slick, stylized music videos, shot on 35mm film with big-name directors. At the dawn of the MTV generation, it was a perfect storm that more or less sealed their impending pop-idol status.

Duran Duran | “Planet Earth”

With its Eurodisco grooves and rock guitar, debut single “Planet Earth” set the bar high right from the start. The cosmic music video gives the impression they arrived from their own flamboyantly-dressed planet as fully formed pop stars. 

Duran Duran | “Careless Memories”

The second single to arrive from LP was “Careless Memories.” It’s a moodier cut that dials up the intensity with a driving post-punk baseline and atmospheric guitars. As opposed to the straight performance-style music video of “Planet Earth,” the follow up incorporates a storyline, acting and choreography that made it clear they’d already mastered a format most bands were yet to even discover…

Duran Duran | “Girls On Film”

…Bringing us to the wildly successful third single, “Girls On Film” directed by the legendary filmmaking duo, Godly & Creme. The iconic music video was shot just two weeks after MTV launched in the United States – well before anybody knew what a massive impact the music channel would have on the industry. Not factoring commercial airplay into the mix, the band’s management encouraged them to make a raunchy music video, intended to be played in nightclubs. But after a heavily edited version hit high rotation on MTV, Duran Duran capitalized on the controversy with the well-timed classic. 

Duran Duran | “Is There Something I Should Know?”

“Is The Something I Should Know?” didn’t appear on the original tracklisting but was added for a 1982 U.S. reissue of the album, reissued after the runaway success of their second album Rio, which arrived with its own set of cinematic music videos, in particular, the award-winning “Hungry Like the Wolf.” 

Throughout the 80s, Duran Duran won a stack of awards for their incredible music videos, including the MTV Music Video Award for Lifetime achievement and the Video Visionary Award. Watch them all via the band’s official YouTube channel, here. 


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