While English pop monarchs Duran Duran have remained active for two decades, it's clear that the indomitable ensemble was at its peak during those mercurial '80s. This greatest-hits collection documents the band's ambitiou... more »s beginnings as a funky glam-rock outfit and follows its gradual transformation into a high-tech pop band with loads of commercial appeal. Featuring now-classic tunes like "Girls on Film," "Rio," and "Planet Earth" as well as more recent songs like "Ordinary World," Greatest focuses on Duran Duran's unending string of hit singles. Although the young quintet that performs "Hungry Like the Wolf" and "A View to a Kill" has little in common with the posh, aging trio featured on 1997's "Electric Barbarella," vocalist Simon Le Bon provides some impressive continuity to these proceedings. --Mitch Myers« less
While English pop monarchs Duran Duran have remained active for two decades, it's clear that the indomitable ensemble was at its peak during those mercurial '80s. This greatest-hits collection documents the band's ambitious beginnings as a funky glam-rock outfit and follows its gradual transformation into a high-tech pop band with loads of commercial appeal. Featuring now-classic tunes like "Girls on Film," "Rio," and "Planet Earth" as well as more recent songs like "Ordinary World," Greatest focuses on Duran Duran's unending string of hit singles. Although the young quintet that performs "Hungry Like the Wolf" and "A View to a Kill" has little in common with the posh, aging trio featured on 1997's "Electric Barbarella," vocalist Simon Le Bon provides some impressive continuity to these proceedings. --Mitch Myers
Vivien R. (nomadbooklvr) from MEDFORD, MA Reviewed on 8/4/2006...
All their best songs! I love it!
I was a teenaged Durannie.....
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 02/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, I admit it. When I was in college and getting my feet wet in radio, I was sent a copy of the first Duran Duran album and instantly fell in love with "Planet Earth" and "Girls On Film." When the band made an abbreviated club tour of the United States based on the success of "Girls On Film" and its controversial video, a very young Simon LeBon called me from a New York hotel and gave me only the third interview I'd done in my brief radio career. At the time, he and his fellow bandmates were infatuated by America, its landscape and especially New York City, with its wild clubland nightlife. LeBon told me he'd written a ton of songs in just a couple of weeks here and couldn't wait to get home to record them. I'll assume they became the crux of the highly danceable "Rio," which blew me away the week it came into the station I was working at when it was released. With "Hungry Like The Wolf" and "Rio," I was hooked for good. Many of my college friends hated the band, calling them MTV dreck as they blasted their Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd albums. But secretly, I thought Duran Duran was the Bee's Knees. As they themselves put it, DD wanted to combine their two favorite styles of music, Chic disco and Punk rock, into one art form. That they managed to do this over and over again, plus blend in elements of Bowie and Roxy while making some of the most off-the-wall videos then fledgling MTV had available, put them over the top during that heady period that made stars out of Culture Club, Adam Ant and Aha. Unlike most of those groups, however, Duran Duran had the chops to make better than average albums over a sustained career and run up a string of hits that still hold up today.One of the other interesting things about Duran Duran was their willingness to change, not just as they recorded new albums, but even with the music they had out. "Rio" was remastered and re-issued as "Wolf" became a hit, the debut album was reedited and reissued with "Is There Something I Should Know" as the lead track. (It has since been reissued on CD with the original songlist and artwork.) Singles would be radically altered for radio ("The Reflex") or completely re-recorded as "Night Versions" for clubs. Even though it is getting hard to find, the "Essential Duran Duran" from 1998 collects most of these and is worth searching out.So for the 19 songs encapsulated on "Greatest," you get a consistently satisfying overview of 80's pop by one of its most inventive bands. As James Bond themes go, "A View to a Kill" holds up as one of the best of the Bond Themes. Even the latter stuff (the subdued "Ordinary World," the funky "Notorious" or the club heavy "I Don't Want Your Love") pushed the band harder than most of their peers. With the debut Duran Duran album being now over 20 years old, (and said young college radio DJ now into his 40's) that's really saying something."
Essential and important collection of the Fab Five
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 02/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Among the vanguard of the Second British Invasion of the 80's was a group dubbed the Fab Five. These pretty boys got their name from Milo O'Shea's character in the Jane Fonda cult classic Barbarella. I refer of course to Duran Duran, who during their peak years comprised of Simon LeBon (vocals), Andy Taylor (guitar), John Taylor (bass), Roger Taylor (drums), and Nick Rhodes (piano), he of the heavy makeup. But the reason why Duran Duran stood over contemporaries like the Human League or Spandau Ballet was their MTV coverage and stylish videos and that certain edge they had in their mostly danceable pop tunes.
Their first UK hits were "Planet Earth" and "Girls On Film." The first had a lively and upbeat synth backbeat much like Spandau Ballet or Berlin and is a standout. The second, with rapid-fire camera snap effects, was the group's first UK Top Ten hit, and made notable by its racy Godley-and-Crème directed video. Its chorus, where the title is sung twice in a row, the second at a lower pitch to make an accompanying and memorable couplet. But they hit pay dirt when the superbly upbeat "Is There Something I Should Know" topped the UK charts-it later hit #4 in the US. "Please please tell me now..." Oh yes!
Rio, which featured silk-screen girl album artwork from Nagel, had the title track, with a cascade of keyboards and drums, before settling into a more leisurely chorus-"my name is Rio and she dances on the sand..." But love that sax solo in the middle of it all! Also from that album, the #3 "Hungry Like The Wolf" with a guitar riff that would later become hardened in the Power Station, featured catchy hooks in the chorus, great guitar from Andy Taylor, and a running pizzicato-like synth.
Despite their hit power, they only had two US #1s. The first was "The Reflex"-remember, "whyyyyyyyyy don't you use it? Tryyyyyy not to bruise it"? Definitely one of their best songs with Roger Taylor's power drumming. The other was the title hit to Roger Moore's last James Bond outing, A View To A Kill, alternately upbeat and moody song with an airy synth, whose video had shots of DD mixed with film scenes to make it look like they were also in the movie.
Songs like "Hungry Like The Wolf", with Andy Taylor's guitar riffs, and the tribal thumping drums and grinding guitar of their #2 hit "Wild Boys" seemed a prelude to the Power Station, the Robert Palmer-led side project which Andy and John Taylor joined during Duran Duran's hiatus. When Andy and Roger Taylor left, DD did the Genesis thing-"and then there were three." Simon, John, and Nick released Notorious, whose funk-laced title track reached #2. It was slightly different from their earlier oeuvre, but when the mid-paced "Skin Trade," with its horn arrangements accompanying the usual synths, only charted at #39, it was clear DD was losing its audience. A pity, as it's not that bad a song.
Their last big hits came from their 1993 Wedding Album, which yielded a brace of more maturer and mellower singles, the reflective "Ordinary World" with a nice guitar solo from ex-Missing Person's guitarist and new member Warren Cuccurullo and majestic synths and vocals, and the moody "Come Undone" with high-pitched female vocalist singing the refrain.
The songs are not in chronological order, not too big a complaint. It supersedes their previous compilation Decade, which didn't include the two Wedding Album singles and "Serious" from their ignored 1990 Liberty album. The grinding near-techno of "Electric Barbarella" from the John Taylor-less Medazzaland, seemed to show the band ironically coming full circle-remember where they got their name from? Despite coming this late in the game, a great single by all means. The fact that the original members got back together for Astronaut indicates that despite their brief splash from 1981 to 1984, they were one of the most important forces in the 80's music and fashion scene. Take a bow, guys."
THIS is the way compilations should be done
retrowens | Alabama, USA | 10/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, there's not much if anything that I can say that wouldn't be repeating what many others have said, especially the main thing that prospective buyers should be aware of. And that is the fact that Duran Duran's Greatest is the epitome of excellent compilations.
I'm not saying that they're my favorite band of all time (they're not but they're definitely one of them), but that this is just a flawlessly perfect compilation. If you've purchased at least two of those infamous 'greatest hits', 'very best of' or 'essential' albums, you know what I'm talking about. 99.99999% of them leave off at least 3 of their best songs - Top 10 hits and even #1s at that! Even most box sets leave off a big hit or two. But not Duran Duran's Greatest.
Duran Duran had 15 Top 40 hits during the 80s and early 90s, and every single one of them are here. That's all you need to know. If you've heard some Duran Duran songs you like a lot and don't want to live without, don't even THINK about thinking twice or putting this purchase off.
In closing, I'd like to mention what I like the best about Duran Duran. I'm a fool for songs where the singer draws out the words they're singing, just like Duran Duran does with the word 'night' in the following lyrics: "I light my torch and wave it for the new moon on monday and a firedance through the night." Instead of singing that word like "night", it's like "niiiiiiiiight". I LOVE that! I can't think of many things catchier in a song. And nobody uses that tactic more than Duran Duran.
My top 3 favorites of Duran Duran isn't the same as most. "Hungry Like The Wolf" is awesome, but my three favorites are: 1. Rio 2. New Moon On Monday 3. Come Undone"
GREAT indeed, but not enough.
Silent river | 01/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great selection of songs but it still misses because of the horribly butchered single versions of 'Save a Prayer' and 'Rio'. And as important is the fact that a single compilation like this leaves out songs that are just as beautiful as the ones on it or surpasses them.
Anybody lucky enough to see Duran's recent concerts will be aware of this when they played many songs from the first two albums that are not on the Greatest album. Here's some of what's missing.
Duran Duran - Careless Memories, To the shore, Sound of Thunder, Friends of mine, Tel Aviv. Rio - The Chauffeur, Lonely in your Nightmare, New Religion, Hold Back the Rain
Then there's the songs from the other albums that are nothing less than essential.
Seven & the Ragged Tiger - Of Crime and Passion, Shadows On Your Side, The Seventh Stranger Notorious - Winter Marches On, A Matter of Feeling, Hold Me, American Science Big Thing - Do you Believe in Shame?, Land, Palomino, Too Late Marlene Liberty - My Antartica Wedding Album - Breath after Breath, Sin of the City Medazzaland - Midnight Sun, Out of My Mind, So Long Suicide, Michael, Buried in the Sand Pop Trash - Starting to Remember, Someone Else Not Me, Pop Trash Movie, Last Day on Earth
The thing is Duran Duran are simply not a singles band, and with every album having something different to offer, it's worthwhile to listen to everyone of them. Duran Duran (the first album), Rio, Notorious, Medazzaland and Big Thing are all amazing."
5-star songs, 2-star collection
Caitlin | 05/26/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"All of Duran Duran's greatest songs on one disc? Great idea. Too bad it's impossible to accomplish with an 80-minute time limit. In this attempt to do it, several of the band's best works were left off, including "Careless Memories," "Too Much Information," and the brilliant "The Chauffer." Several of the tracks are also edited versions of the originals, and poor edits at that. There are several import collections that represent Duran Duran's work much better than this. Hopefully a 2-cd set or a multi-CD box set will eventually be available here in the US."