Duran Duran’s Biggest Hits In Australia

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Duran Duran’s Biggest Hits In Australia

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Duran Duran, 1981. Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images. 

If ever there was a band that summed up the '80s, it’s Duran Duran. At the forefront of the New Romantic movement, the classic five-piece line-up of the British band combined killer tunes with a fashion-conscious image and savvy use of the nascent music video form to quickly become one of the decade’s most popular acts. And, although regular personnel changes and comebacks later in their career also produced hits, it was during the period from 1981 to 1986 that Duran Duran were most successful locally, with their 10 biggest hits all coming from that era.

10. "Notorious"

Released: 1986

Peak: number 17

After a break that saw spin-off projects The Power Station and Arcadia enjoy brief success, Duran Duran regrouped – albeit in a slimmed down version – to release fourth album Notorious, produced with Nile Rodgers. Now consisting of singer Simon Le Bon, keyboard player Nick Rhodes and bassist John Taylor, the band introduced funk elements into their sound, as evidenced by the brass-soaked title track, which returned them to the ARIA top 20.

9. "Girls On Film"

Released: 1981

Peak: number 11

Released shortly after their self-titled debut album, the band’s third single restored them to the upper reaches of the ARIA chart following the failure of previous release “Careless Memories”. It is open for debate how much of the song’s success was due to its racy video, directed by Godley & Creme, that featured scantily clad models – and, in its uncensored version, nudity and more explicit erotic scenes. If nothing else, the scandal around the clip certainly generated publicity.

8. "My Own Way"

Released: 1981

Peak: number 10

Somewhat overlooked in the decades since – in part because the band don’t consider it among their best work – “My Own Way” was released to keep momentum going while they readied their second album, Rio. The song would end up being included on Rio, but in a different version than the single mix, which featuring swirling strings and a faster tempo.

7. "Planet Earth"

Released: 1981

Peak: number 8

The band’s debut single provided them with their first Australian top 10 single – something they didn’t achieve at home, where “Planet Earth” peaked at number 12. Another local link was the fact that the song’s music video was directed by Australian Russell Mulcahy, who would work with the band on some of their most memorable clips in the years to come. “Planet Earth” also featured the first lyrical reference to the New Romantic scene.

6. "A View To A Kill"

Released: 1985

Peak: number 6

James Bond themes had come to be the domain of female singers, but Duran Duran became the first band in over a decade to release the franchise’s official soundtrack single in 1985. Accompanied by a playful music video shot at the Eiffel Tower, “A View To A Kill” was the only release that year by the band, who were mostly busy with their side-projects – and would end up being the last single by the classic five-piece until 2004’s “(Reach Up For The) Sunrise”.

5. "Hungry Like The Wolf"

Released: 1982

Peak: number 5

The band hit really their stride with this single, which was released contemporaneously with Rio and came with an Indiana Jones-style music video filmed in the jungles of Sri Lanka. Due to the ubiquity of the Grammy Award-winning video on American MTV, “Hungry Like The Wolf” would belatedly become the band’s first US hit upon re-release late in 1982, reaching number 3 there.

4. "Is There Something I Should Know?"

Released: 1983

Peak: number 4

An instant success upon its release in mid-1983, this stand-alone single debuted at number 1 in the UK to give Duran Duran their first chart-topper and shot straight into the ARIA chart at number 6. In Australia, “Is There Something I Should Know?” was a return to chart form, following two top 50 misses, “Rio” and “Save A Prayer”, which may have suffered sales-wise due to parent album Rio reaching number 1 locally.

3. "Union Of The Snake"

Released: 1983

Peak: number 4

Another song that debuted inside the ARIA top 10, “Union Of The Snake” was the lead single from third album Seven And The Ragged Tiger, which was finished off in Sydney after being recorded on the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean. Although reluctant to discuss the meaning of Duran Duran’s songs, Simon has said that the song was inspired by the lyrics of Jim Morrison.

2. "The Reflex"

Released: 1984

Peak: number 4

After the chart blip that was “New Moon On Munday”, which only just scraped into the top 50, Duran Duran were back in the top 5 with the final single from Seven And The Ragged Tiger. Extensively remixed from the album version by Nile Rodgers, “The Reflex” topped both the UK and the US charts, and would close the band’s four-song set at Live Aid the following year.

1. "The Wild Boys"

Released: 1984

Peak: number 3

The only studio recording on live album Arena, “The Wild Boys” saw Duran Duran up the ante in the music video stakes with the big budget clip to accompany this single, which memorably featured Simon strapped to a windmill and dunked in water as it rotated. The song was another collaboration with Nile Rodgers and was inspired by the William S. Burroughs novel of the same name, which video director Russell Mulcahy wanted to turn into a film (although that never ended up happening).

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