Duran Duran’s Rio defined my young life–Jesus, maybe still defines my entire life. I write this as I sit under a mint-condition Seven and the Ragged Tiger poster, which is prominently displayed 5 feet high on the wall behind me in my fancy Beverly Hills office. The band itself is essentially sacred in my book–the first page of which includes a 3 ft. x 10 ft. Duran Duran collage splayed across the back of a closet door in the bedroom I shared with my oldest sister in Missouri. Somewhere in the middle is the image of John Taylor, perfectly cut out of a magazine, wearing a tailored blue suit, his left leg crossed over his right and one come-hither eyebrow raised, all like a textbook diagram of the kind of man you kiss. Or tumble on the beach with.
And “Rio,” the song that begat the album, with its tumbling intro and maniacal execution, remains one of the most perfect and erratic and important tunes ever to cannonball into my ears. If I closed my eyes, I never knew if I was at a nightclub or a jungle, if I was in a fantastic movie scene or on a terrible safari. Did it matter? Does it matter? All that counts is that it was the essence of cool, and Duran Duran was sooo British, and that the possibilities to be so chic and so rad and so seething with sex, when you listened to that song, were endless.
And so it is with deep dismay that I came across this terrible news this week: Pussycat Dolls alum Nicole Scherzinger has laid her paws all over the seminal track, creating a tacky breath-pop island version that will ultimately mean nothing to no one–except of course Caress, the brand of soap she’s peddling for with the song.
What’s next, Lennon’s original masters in JC Penny commercials?
Filed under: Bad Days, Duran Duran, Island Jams, New Wave is Life, Nicole Scherzinger, No Waysian, One Bad Song Cover Spoils the Whole Bunch, Peddling for Companies, Rio, Seminal Songs, Simon LeBon is God
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