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Skin Trade

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"Skin Trade"
Skin Trade
Single by Duran Duran
from the album Notorious
B-side(s) "We Need You"
Released February 1987
Recorded London, Jun-Sep 1986
Genre Dance, New Wave
Length 5:57
Label EMI
Writer(s) Duran Duran
Producer(s) Nile Rodgers
Duran Duran singles chronology
"Notorious"
(1986)
"Skin Trade"
(1987)
"Meet El Presidente"
(1987)

see the help page for more info

"Skin Trade" is the 15th single from Duran Duran, and the second single from the Notorious album. It was released in February 1987, reached #22 on the UK Singles Chart, and barely nudged into the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100.

About the songEdit

The single was quite a departure for the band. Not only was Simon LeBon singing in a Prince|-style falsetto, but a horn section played a prominent role in the track, as played by The Borneo Horns.

Donald A. Guarisco at All Music Guide said:

The lyrics have a surprisingly direct, soul-searching feel to them as they lay out scenarios of people shortchanging their dreams to make money. These moments are followed with the dramatic proclamation that makes up the chorus: "Will someone please explain/The reasons for this strange behavior?/In exploitation's name/We must be working for the skin trade." The music lends contrast to the angry tone of the lyrics by creating a sultry, mellow melody that juxtaposes verses with a soft, hypnotic ebb and flow with an ever-ascending chorus that revs up the song's inherent drama. Duran Duran's recording is fuelled by funky but gently layered guitar textures and subtle drum work that push its groove along, plus some atmospheric synth textures on the chorus. Interestingly, Simon Le Bon uses his normal tenor voice for the choruses but sings much of the verses in a lush, soulful falsetto that led many pop fans to initially mistake "Skin Trade" for a Prince ballad. The result was a perfect blend of slow-dance textures and adult social critique. It didn't do as well as "Notorious," just barely making the Top 40 in the U.S., but it got plenty of radio airplay and is fondly remembered by the group's fans as one of Duran Duran's most mature achievements of the late '80s.

The band persevered with the single and many aspects of their future business took inspiration from "Skin Trade". They called their publishing company Skin Trade Music Ltd. and the Notorious tour was called the "Strange Behaviour Tour". Likewise, a 1987 remix EP and a 1999 double CD collection of remixes were also called Strange Behaviour.

The title came from the Dylan Thomas book Adventures in the Skin Trade.

LyricsEdit

Working on the weekend, baby.
She's working all through the night.
A jump into the deep end gave her
The evidence she required.
Takes five; she's got pearls.
Don't fake it when it comes to making money.
So she smiles. But that's cruel.
If you know what she thinks
If you knew what she was after.

Sometimes she wonders,
And she laughs in her frustration.

[CHORUS]

Would someone please explain
The reason for this strange behaviour.
In exploitation's name
We must be working for the Skin Trade.

Doctors of the revolution gave us
The medicine we desired.
Besides being absolutely painless
It's a question of compromise.
They got steel.
So cool to get angry at the weekend
And go back to school.
So big deal; it's what rules.
When it comes to making money,
Say yes, please; thank you.

Sometimes you wonder, and ask yourself the question.

[CHORUS (Repeated)]

I know the answer, but I'm asking you the question.

[CHORUS (Repeat for FADE)]


Music videoEdit

The "Skin Trade" video was the second filmed for the band by directors Peter Kagan and Paula Greif, after "Notorious". Film of band members performing was treated with a rotoscope-like effect, adding vivid colors to details like a person's eyes or jewelry. Like so many other Duran Duran videos, "Skin Trade" included a beautiful woman - in this case German supermodel Tatjana Patitz. Her image was rotoscoped for some scenes as well, and her dancing figure was superimposed on several different vividly colored abstract backgrounds.

Session guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, who would later become a full member of the band, appears in the video, although his face is not often seen.

"Skin Trade" was nominated for Best Special Effects in a Video and Best Cinematography in a Video at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards, but lost to Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" and Robbie Nevil's "C'est La Vie", respectively.

B-sides, bonus tracks and remixesEdit

The b-side to "Skin Trade" was the only original b-side released during the Notorious era. Entitled "We Need You", it was written and recorded in 1986 while the band awaited the return of Andy Taylor for a recording session. It was the first recording to feature just the three remaining members of Duran Duran - Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Simon Le Bon.

Two further mixes of "Skin Trade" were completed, but not released commercially during the "Skin Trade" release cycle. They appeared on a US promo 12" backed with remixes of the next single "Meet El Presidente". The Parisian Mix was also released on promo-only Master Mixes EP.

The Parisian Mix was finally released commercially first in the UK on the "All She Wants Is" (1989) 3" CD and in the US on the "Come Undone" (1993) CD single.

The S.O.S. Dub still remains commercially unreleased.

  • "Skin Trade [Parisian Mix]" (8:10)
  • "Skin Trade [S.O.S. Dub]" (7:16)

Both tracks were remixed by Daniel Abraham and edited by José "Chep" Nuñez for S.O.S. Productions.

Covers, samples, & media referencesEdit

Chart positionsEdit

"Skin Trade" was actually the first chart disappointment in the Duran Duran career. Not only did it fail to repeat the huge success of "Notorious" but it failed to get into the top 20 on either side of the Atlantic, and that was a first for the band since their very earliest releases.

  • #22 UK Singles Chart
  • #39 Billboard Hot 100
  • #3 Italy

Track listingEdit

All release details pertain to the UK only.

7": EMI TRADE 1Edit

  1. "Skin Trade [Radio Cut]" (4:26)
  2. "We Need You" (2:49)

12": EMI 12 TRADE 1Edit

  1. "Skin Trade [Stretch mix]" (7:36)
  2. "Skin Trade [Album cut]" (5:58)
  3. "We Need You" (2:49)
  • Stretch Mix was remixed by Larry Levan
  • These tracks were also released on cassette (TC TRADE 1) in a video style box with the banned "bum" cover.

CD: Part of "Singles Box Set 1986-1995" boxsetEdit

  1. "Skin Trade [Radio cut]" (4:25)
  2. "We Need You" (2:49)
  3. "Skin Trade [Stretch mix]" (7:36)
  4. "Skin Trade [Album cut]" (5:58)

Other appearancesEdit

Apart from the single, "Skin Trade" has also appeared on:

Albums:

Singles:

PersonnelEdit

Duran Duran are:

With:

Production:

ReferencesEdit


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"

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