|Seven and the Ragged Tiger|
|album by Duran Duran|
|Released||21 November 1983|
29 March 2010
|Genre||New wave, synthpop|
About the albumEdit
Simon Le Bon said the album "is an adventure story about a little commando team. The Seven is for us - the five band members and the two managers - and the Ragged Tiger is success. Seven people running after success. It's ambition. That's what it's about."
The year 1983 saw Duran Duran at the top of their game. They had scored their first chart topping single in March with "Is There Something I Should Know?", had their debut album re-released and saw the release of a Grammy Award winning 11-track video album, chronicling the first two albums.
With the band in such high demand, the recording of the third album was never going to be smooth sailing, especially with EMI breathing down the band's neck for a follow up album.
Duran Duran intended to spend a year away from the UK as tax exiles, as their income had increased dramatically after the fantastic success of Rio and the reissue of Duran Duran the previous year. Thus during May 1983 the band began writing and making demo recordings at a chalet near Cannes on the Côte d'Azur in the south of France. The band was having trouble writing material there, due to almost non-stop partying. Still, several songs were completed, including a track called "Seven and the Ragged Tiger", for which the album was named. This song was never released, but parts of it would eventually evolve into the album track "The Seventh Stranger".
With hardly anything to show for their South of France adventures, the band was forced by Capitol/EMI to move to George Martin's Air Studios on the Caribbean island of Montserrat in May. It was hoped the isolation of Montserrat would keep the band more focused. The sessions, with producer Alex Sadkin at the helm, would keep Duran Duran in Montserrat for five weeks, but yielded only one useful song. During one of these sessions, keyboardist Nick Rhodes collapsed and had to be airlifted to a hospital; newspapers later reported it was due to an episode of paroxysmal tachycardia (abnormally fast heartbeat).
Prior commitments brought the band back to the UK in the summer of 1983, including a July charity gig playing in front of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in London. It was later revealed that the Irish Republican Army had plotted to plant a bomb at the concert in order to injure Charles and Diana, but the IRA member sent to carry out the plot, Sean O'Callaghan, was in fact an informer working for the Irish Government and successfully helped to pull the plug on the operation.They also played a benefit concert at Aston Villa football ground in Birmingham.
It was around this time that the Princess of Wales publicly named Duran Duran as her favourite band. During their time in the UK, the band worked on a few more songs in a studio in London, before returning to Montserrat for one final late summer session.
Fed up with the island's isolation, the band moved the operation to downtown Sydney, Australia at the end of August. Producers Ian Little and Alex Sadkin began to work with Rhodes on the audio mixing of the album, now titled Seven and the Ragged Tiger, at 301 Studios. An argument during this period between John Taylor and Alex Sadkin over the prolonged mixing is said to have been the germination of The Power Station side project that happened in 1985, as Taylor contemplated leaving Duran Duran for the first time.
The album's cover photo was shot on the steps of the State Library of New South Wales. 
Release, promotion and tourEdit
With their Sing Blue Silver world concert tour to commence in November at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Canberra, Australia, the band departed for the sands outside Sydney to film the video for lead off single "Union of the Snake" with director Simon Milne.
Twenty-four hours before the band were due to deliver the single for "Union of the Snake" to EMI, Nick Rhodes and Simon Le Bon did an all-night session to complete the writing, recording and mixing the B-side "Secret Oktober". At the end of October, Duran Duran raised a few eyebrows by deciding to release the "Union of the Snake" video to MTV a full week before the single was released to radio, at a time when the industry feared video really might kill the radio star.
The simultaneous worldwide release of the album followed a few weeks later on 21 November. The album swiftly went to number one in the UK, and #8 in the US; it was certified platinum by January, and eventually double platinum.
The tour for the album, which played large indoor arenas, continued throughout the first four months of 1984. It was recorded in the Russell Mulcahy-directed documentary Sing Blue Silver, the music video for "The Reflex", and the concert videos Arena (An Absurd Notion) and As The Lights Go Down. The live album Arena was also recorded during this tour.
The next single "New Moon On Monday" was released in January, accompanied by another ambitious video. In February, the band appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, and won two Grammy awards in the brand-new Long Form and Short Form music video categories.
A Nile Rodgers remix of "The Reflex", released in March, became the band's first number one single on the Billboard Hot 100, and it remained there for two weeks. The live concert video was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Best Stage Performance (but lost to Van Halen's "Jump").
The music Edit
While Duran Duran and Rio were seen by many as masterpieces from start to finish, the sheen was starting to wear thin on Seven and the Ragged Tiger. In the documentary film Extraordinary World, filmed a decade later, Rhodes described the sound as "barely controlled hysteria, scratching beneath the surface".
Apart from the three hit singles and a number of interesting set pieces — most notably the instrumental "Tiger Tiger" - fans and critics alike had a difficult time coming to grips with tracks like "Cracks in the Pavement" or the band's move to rockier territory with "Of Crime and Passion".
"Restores danger and menace to a band that was veering dangerously close to the insipid." (Melody Maker)
"Pathetic, useless, no good. It's pretentious, pompous and possibly the first chapter in their decline." (Record Mirror)
"It's apparent that Seven and the Ragged Tiger's content has the band moving ever so slightly into a danceclub arena, with the songs leaning more toward their ability to produce a sexier sound through electronics and instrumentation than through a firm lyrical and musical partnership. Even the unreleased tracks trade Duran Duran's handsome edginess for a shinier sound, heard mainly on "I Take the Dice" and "Cracks in the Pavement". It's here that Le Bon and Taylor's personalities begins to get overshadowed by the demand to produce a more synth-snazzy and fashionable style of music." (Mike DeGagne, All Music Guide Review: Seven and the Ragged Tiger)
However, there were definite moments of brilliance on Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Apart from "Tiger Tiger", the mystic flavour of "The Seventh Stranger" echoed similar epic anthems from albums before and since, most notably "The Chauffeur" from Rio and "Still Breathing" from Astronaut. On the whole, the album exuded a more atmospheric flavour than previous outings.
The variety in musical style was expanded upon in the members' side projects during the band's ensuing hiatus. Le Bon and Rhodes focused on the atmospheric, layered sound found in "Tiger Tiger" in their project, Arcadia, while John and Andy Taylor joined with Robert Palmer and members of Chic to create The Power Station, built around the rock sound seen developing in "Of Crime and Passion".
- "The Reflex" - 5:29
- "New Moon on Monday" - 4:16
- "(I'm Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement" - 3:38
- "I Take the Dice" - 3:18
- "Of Crime and Passion" - 3:50
- "Union of the Snake" - 4:20
- "Shadows on Your Side - 4:03
- "Tiger Tiger" - 3:20
- "The Seventh Stranger" - 5:24
Duran Duran are:
- Simon Le Bon - vocals
- John Taylor - bass guitar
- Andy Taylor - guitars
- Nick Rhodes - keyboards
- Roger Taylor - drums
- Andy Hamilton - saxophone
- Raphael DeJesus - percussion
- Mark Kennedy - percussion
- Michelle Cobbs - backing vocals
- BJ Nelson - backing vocals
- Producer - Alex Sadkin, Ian Little, Duran Duran,
- Engineer (mixing) - Phil Thornalley
- Engineer (recording) - Peter Wade-Schwier, Phil Thornalley
|<< Rio||Notorious >>|
- ↑ O'Callaghan, Sean. The Informer. Corgi, 1999. ISBN 0-552-14607-2
- ↑ GusWorld: Duran Duran
- ↑ Extraordinary World documentary film, 1993.
| Simon Le Bon • Nick Rhodes • John Taylor • Roger Taylor|
Andy Taylor • Warren Cuccurullo • Sterling Campbell
|COMPILATIONS and EP's|
"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"
|Arcadia • Power Station • Neurotic Outsiders • The Devils|
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