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Notorious

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Notorious
Duran Duran Notorious
Album by Duran Duran
Released 18 November 1986
Recorded 1985/1986
Genre Funk-New Wave
Length 46:56
Label Capitol/EMI
Producer(s) Duran Duran, Nile Rodgers
Professional reviews
  • All Music Guide (2/5) link
Duran Duran chronology
Arena
(1984)
Notorious
(1986)
Big Thing
(1988)

Notorious is the fourth album by Duran Duran. Released in November 1986, it peaked at #16 in the UK and #12 in the US. The singles "Notorious" and "Skin Trade" demonstrated a Duran Duran reaching for white funk, heavy on bass and brass. The gap between previous efforts and the new one, however, was hard to handle for the greater part of the fan base, since the album left the well-worn path of the successful euro-dance-pop of earlier days.

Personnel difficultiesEdit

The making of Notorious during 1986 was a difficult time for Duran Duran. The band had planned for a much-needed break after the success of their 1984 world tour, but all of the band members had ended up working on one of two side projects -- the hard-rock collective Power Station in early 1985, and the atmospheric Arcadia project in late '85/early '86. When it came time to record the new Duran Duran album, they found that drummer Roger Taylor was too exhausted to continue in the music business, while guitarist Andy Taylor had developed taste for the spotlight, as well as for a harder, more guitar-heavy sound than the rest of Duran Duran was prepared to pursue.

During this period, the band also began to act as their own management, having dismissed brothers Paul and Michael Berrow who had shepherded them through their first five years. Arrangements for the forthcoming Strange Behaviour Tour which kicked off in March 1987, as well as the tensions with Taylor, are recounted in the documentary Three To Get Ready.

The band gradually coaxed Andy Taylor back from Los Angeles to the UK in order to begin playing on the album, but personal and creative disputes continued and much of the communication was carried on by lawyers, until Taylor finally withdrew from the band. It is rumoured that Andy went so far as to try and stop the band from continuing with using the Duran Duran name; since that time the band ensured that the name is wholly owned by co-founding member Nick Rhodes.

During this time, Andy began jamming with members of Los Angeles pop band Missing Persons who were in the midst of breaking up. Missing Persons guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, noting that Taylor didn't intend to return to Duran Duran, offered his services to them instead. They hired him as a sessions and tour guitarist; he would later become a full member of the band in 1989.

The remaining three original band members, Rhodes, Le Bon and John Taylor continued working on the new album with Cuccurullo and producer Nile Rodgers (himself a guitarist from his days in Chic) providing the remaining guitar work. Incidentally, with material from three guitarists, the band has since found it difficult to tell what guitarist ended up playing on what finished track. Sessions drummer Steve Ferrone took Roger Taylor's place behind the drum kit.

Side-project influencesEdit

In light of everything the band had experienced since the release of Seven and the Ragged Tiger, one might say that the development of Notorious' sound was an obvious direction, especially due to the fact that the band's last two hit singles "The Wild Boys" and the James Bond theme "A View to a Kill" were much "heavier" in style but were nevertheless worldwide smash hits. "The Wild Boys" was also produced by Nile Rodgers, who had been a spectator during his long-time production partner Bernard Edwards' work on the brass-heavy Power Station album, as well.

With three years between the release of Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Notorious, the band used the added experience garnered from their work with Arcadia and Power Station, and the many gifted musicians they had encountered (Edwards, Robert Palmer, Dave Gilmour, etc.).

For a large part of 1986, Arcadia was still very much on the radar for Le Bon and Rhodes as the final single from So Red The Rose, "The Flame" was released in July. The video featured a cameo by John Taylor coming out of a closet with a contract to sign. Fans have debated whether this was a thinly veiled dig at the situation with Andy Taylor at the time.

The final Arcadia release, "Say The Word", from the Playing for Keeps soundtrack was released in late September, a mere month before the release of the "Notorious" single.

The Notorious album has a number of tracks titled after Alfred Hitchcock movies. In addition to the album and lead single named for the movie Notorious", there was also "Vertigo" and "Rope", the original title for the demo that became "Hold Me".

Andy Taylor's Participation Edit

According to interviews, Andy Taylor was involved in a lot of early sessions. Although no one remembers which songs feature Andy, a track is available on andytaylor.com, in which Andy plays guitar and sings vocals for "A Matter Of Feeling".

Singles Edit

The album's first single "Notorious" did very well in the US peaking at #2 and on their homeground reaching #7. It was the first single to be released with a second, remix 12" single, led off by a remix by The Latin Rascals.

"Skin Trade" was a Bowie-flavored track notable for Simon singing in a Prince-like falsetto, as well as featuring The Borneo Horns quite heavily, culminating in a very un-Duran Duran sound. John Taylor has since been quoted as saying that his disillusion with the charts began when "Skin Trade" peaked at #22.

"Skin Trade" had its sleeve banned in several countries, as it featured an airbrushed naked female buttock. In the UK, the single was released in a plain red sleeve with the Notorious-era Duran wording along the top. In certain markets, like Canada and France, the bare buttock sleeve was used.

To commemorate the band's 1987 tour, several promo-only remixes were commissioned for "Skin Trade", including the "Parisian Mix" and the "S.O.S. Dub". These were initially released on a US-only promo 12" single with mixes of "Meet El Presidente" on the flip-side.

"Meet El Presidente", released to coincide with the tour in April 1987 reached #24 in the charts. It was their first single to be released on CD (catalogue number CD TOUR 1). The CD single featured all the tracks from the 12".

To drum up further interest in the album, a collection of otherwise unavailable remixes was released on a double promo 12" pack called Master Mixes in the US and Hong Kong. Rumour has it the remixes were commissioned for a possible fourth single (either "Vertigo" or "American Science"), but this release was shelved as the singles for "Skin Trade" and "Meet El Presidente" didn't do so well in the charts.

All in all, this new funkier sound was not the Duran Duran the public wanted to hear, not to mention the critics which were anything but friendly to the band from the beginning.

Track listingEdit

  1. "Notorious" – 4:18
  2. "American Science" – 4:43
  3. "Skin Trade" – 5:57
  4. "A Matter Of Feeling" – 5:56
  5. "Hold Me" – 4:31
  6. "Vertigo (Do The Demolition)" – 4:44
  7. "So Misled" – 4:04
  8. "Meet El Presidente" – 4:19
  9. "Winter Marches On" – 3:25
  10. "Proposition" – 4:57

Singles Edit

  1. "Notorious" (Oct 1986) #7 UK, #2 US
  2. "Skin Trade" (Feb 1987) #22 UK, #39 US
  3. "Meet El Presidente" (Apr 1987) #24 UK, #70 US

Personnel Edit

With:

Production:


DURAN DURAN
Simon Le BonNick RhodesJohn TaylorRoger Taylor
Andy TaylorWarren CuccurulloSterling Campbell
DISCOGRAPHY
ALBUMS

Duran DuranRioSeven and the Ragged TigerArenaNotoriousBig ThingLibertyDuran Duran (The Wedding Album)Thank YouMedazzalandPop TrashAstronautRed Carpet Massacre

COMPILATIONS and EP's

CarnivalDecade: Greatest HitsGreatestNight Versions: The Essential Duran DuranStrange BehaviourSingles Box Set 1981-1985Singles Box Set 1986-1995

SINGLES

"Planet Earth" • "Careless Memories" • "Girls on Film" • "My Own Way" • "Hungry Like the Wolf" • "Save a Prayer" • "Rio"• "Is There Something I Should Know?" • "Union of the Snake" • "New Moon on Monday" • "The Reflex" • "The Wild Boys" • "A View to a Kill" • "Notorious" • "Skin Trade" • "Meet El Presidente" • "I Don't Want Your Love" • "All She Wants Is" • "Do You Believe in Shame?" • "Burning the Ground" • "Violence of Summer (Love's Taking Over)" • "Serious" • "Ordinary World" • "Come Undone" • "Too Much Information" • "Perfect Day" • "White Lines" • "Out of My Mind" • "Electric Barbarella" • "Someone Else Not Me" • "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise" • "What Happens Tomorrow" • "Nice" • "Falling Down"

RELATED BANDS
ArcadiaPower StationNeurotic OutsidersThe Devils
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