Monday, August 3, 2020

Musical Monday - Is There Something I Should Know? by Duran Duran

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: March 26, 1983 through April 2, 1983.

Although Michael Jackson was the most iconic act of the 1980s, I don't think there was a band that was more firmly rooted in the decade than Duran Duran. Jackson had success with the Jackson 5 in the 1970s, and continued his solo career into the 1990s, but it is almost impossible to conceive of Duran Duran in any decade other than this one. There is simply no way that Duran Duran could have succeeded like they did except as a result of the perfect confluence of music and pop culture that propelled them to prominence.

A lot of Duran Duran's success was the result of the nascent art form of the music video. Much like Michael Jackson, Duran Duran dove headfirst into marketing themselves via music videos, and to a large extent the music videos was what they were known for - far outshadowing their actual music. I recall articles from the era talking about how it was strange that Duran Duran had become such a cultural phenomenon despite the somewhat mediocre chart performance - at least in the U.S. - of some of their best known songs.

The implied knock on Duran Duran's songs, including this one, is that the band was all style with little accompanying substance, and to be honest, it is kind of hard to argue with that assessment. Some of these complaints were just older music critics and commentators having trouble coming to grips with the idea that the video presentation of music was an important element of pop music in the 1980s, but some of these complaints were based upon the fact that Duran Duran made mostly meaningless pop with a good dance beat. Duran Duran was a pretty band that made pretty music videos featuring catchy pop melodies and often forgettable lyrics, and that pretty much sums up this music video.

Previous Musical Monday: Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
Subsequent Musical Monday: Beat It by Michael Jackson

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Let's Dance by David Bowie

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

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