Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Duran Duran - "Save a Prayer"

Save a Prayer - Rio (Collectors Edition) [Remastered]

(Debuted February 2, 1985, Peaked #16, 14 Weeks on the Chart)

The girls in my school loved Duran Duran. As for the boys? Well, most of us said we kinda liked the music because the girls liked it. However, three decades later, I've grown to appreciate the group's sound better now that I'm not immediately thinking of them as the cover subjects of the issues of Tiger Beat I saw on the magazine rack.

Originally, "Save a Prayer" was a cut from the band's 1982 Rio LP. It was released as a single in England and Europe, but not in the U.S. even though the song's video was placed rather quickly into heavy rotation on MTV. When the group released their live album Arena in late 1984, it was something of a disappointment. The critics were quick to point out that the sound was much too slick to have been truly "live," while the band members didn't seem too interested in promoting it. After the added studio track "The Wild Boys" was a hit, the record company had a dilemma...which "live" track would be the next single?

In the United States, there was an obvious answer. Since "Save a Prayer" was already familiar to Americans due to its play on MTV, the next single would be an edited version of the six-minute album version, with the new live recording on the B-side. As a result, the band notched another Top 20 hit before moving on to their next project, a James Bond theme.

Personally, I think the song is one of the group's best from their 1980s material. The guitars and synthesizers work well, and Simon LeBon's vocal lets him show off his talent a lot more than the simple posturing he seemed to do on the band's other hits.

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