Album #514 – Rio

Album #514

Duran Duran were the biggest teen idols of the early 80’s. The group was known for their look and their accessible synth pop. In fact, many singers in synth pop groups modeled their voice after Duran Duran’s lead singer Simon LeBon. Rio is the group’s second album and continued their wave of success with music video. Hungry Like The Wolf was a huge early MTV hit and made the group even more attractive to screaming girls everywhere.

Save A Prayer and Rio were also major hits for the group on both sides of the Atlantic. But, Duran Duran are more than your average synth pop band. John Taylor’s bass lines are funky and are strongly influenced by Chic and other disco/funk groups. John actually admitted in his memoirs that Rio was one of their best albums, with the group working as a cohesive unit. The group is in fine form here and with all the success, it’s hard to believe that Rio wasn’t an instant hit in the U.S. Rio would hit #6 on the album charts the following year, after receiving heavy airplay on MTV. 1983 and 1984 were the biggest years for the group and produced some of their biggest hits.  The original lineup would break-up in 1985, Live Aid was their last performance together until the early 2000s. Then, the group would split into 2 new projects: Arcadia and The Power Station (also featuring Robert Palmer). Some of the members would reform in 1986 and produce the hit Notorious. But, Duran Duran would not become relevant again until Simon LeBon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes and John Taylor along with former Frank Zappa guitarist Warren Cuccurullo released The Wedding Album and the mega hit Ordinary World. Rio is proof that Duran Duran are more than teen idols. They may have had the style and the looks but, they are musicians and fans of great music too. Other highlights include: Lonely In Your Nightmare, Hold Back The Rain, New Religion, Last Chance on the Stairway and The Chauffeur. Overall, I give Rio, 5 out of 5.

Next: Violent Femmes self-titled debut album

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