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The Wild Boys

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"The Wild Boys"
Duran duran wild boys
Single by Duran Duran
from the album 'Arena'
Released October, 1984
Format 7", 12"
Recorded July 1984, Maison Rouge Studios, London
Genre Dance, New Wave
Length 4:16
Label Capitol Records
Writer(s) Duran Duran
Producer(s) Duran Duran, Nile Rodgers
Peak chart positions
Duran Duran singles chronology
The Reflex
The Wild Boys
A View to a Kill

"The Wild Boys" is the twelfth single from the band Duran Duran, released on the live album Arena in October of 1984. It reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart, the American Billboard Hot 100, and the Canadian CHUM Chart, and reached #1 on the German charts. It was the band's biggest charting single in Australia, reaching #3.

About the songEdit

The idea for the song came from longtime Duran Duran video director Russell Mulcahy, who wanted to make a full-length feature film based on the surreal and sexual 1971 novel The Wild Boys: A Book Of The Dead by William S. Burroughs. He suggested that the band might create a modern soundtrack for the film in the same way that Queen would later provide a rock soundtrack for Mulcahy's 1986 movie Highlander. Singer Simon Le Bon began writing some lyrics based on Mulcahy's quick synopsis of the book, and the band created a harsh-sounding instrumental backdrop for them.

The song was the only studio track on the live album Arena, and was produced by Nile Rodgers, who had previously remixed the single "The Reflex". It was recorded at the end of July 1984 at Maison Rouge studios in London.

Donald A. Guarisco of All Music Guide[1] said:

Duran Duran [...] weren't afraid to occasionally add a hard rocking edge to their danceable sound. The ultimate example of this tendency was "Wild Boys," a bombastic 1984 hit that welded wailing guitars to some startlingly explosive electronic effects. The lyrics of the song are steeped in warlike imagery ("reckless and so hungered, on the razor's edge you trail/because there's murder by the roadside") as they paint a portrait of brave young men who refuse to bow to the pressures of a "sore afraid new world." The music backs these sentiments up with a sense of steely grandeur, building from ominous verses into a soaring chorus that tempers its rousing feel with plenty of dark shadings. Duran Duran's recording of "Wild Boys" found the group teaming with dance music legend Nile Rodgers to create a song that balanced dance and rock elements in equal measure: Andy Taylor's fiery, snarling guitar riffs and dense synthesizer textures set a gritty, rocking tone but the deep, throbbing backdrop of drum machines and electronic percussion adds a danceable edge. The end result was surprisingly dark and edgy, sounding more like goth rock outfit the Sisters of Mercy than previous Duran Duran hits.

The single was issued with six separate collectible covers - one featuring each individual band member and one of the band collectively.


The wild boys are calling on their way back from the fire
In August moon's surrender to a dust cloud on the rise
Wild boys fallen far from glory
Reckless and so hungered
On the razor's edge you trail
Because there's murder by the roadside in a sore afraid new world

They tried to break us
Looks like they'll try again

Wild boys never lose it
Wild boys never chose this way
Wild boys never close your eyes
Wild boys always...... shine

You've got sirens for a welcome, there's bloodstain for your pain
And your telephone's been ringing while you're dancing in the rain
Wild boys wonder where is glory
Where is all you angels?
Now the figureheads have fell
And lovers war with arrows over secrets they could tell

They tried to tame you
Looks like they'll try again

Wild boys never lose it
Wild boys never chose this way
Wild boys never close your eyes
Wild boys always...... shine

Music videoEdit

The video for "The Wild Boys" was directed by Russell Mulcahy. The cost totalled over one million dollars, a staggering sum for music videos at the time, as his design filled one entire end of the "007 Stage" at Pinewood Studios with a metal pyramid and a windmill over a deep enclosed pool, and called for a lifelike robotic face, dozens of elaborate costumes, prosthetics, and makeup effects, and then-cutting-edge computer graphics. The choreography of dance routines, including intricate stunts and fire effects added to the cost, was undertaken by Arlene Phillips. Mulcahy intended for the video to be a teaser for his full-length Burroughs film, demonstrating his vision to the movie studios he was wooing, but that project never came to fruition.

The video featured all of the band members imprisoned and in peril, wearing uncharacteristically rough and ragged outfits similar to the pieced-together clothing of the film Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. John Taylor was strapped to the roof of a Mercedes-Benz car suffering a psycho-torture with pics of his childhood and early past, Nick Rhodes was caged with a pile of computer equipment, Roger Taylor was put in a hot-air balloon that was dangling from the ceiling, leaving him high off the ground, and Andy Taylor was bound (guitar and all) to a ship's figurehead. Singer Simon Le Bon, strapped to the spinning windmill which dunked his head beneath the water with each revolution, supposedly found himself in real difficulty when the windmill stopped with his head underwater. He was given a tube to breathe through and the issue was promptly fixed, but the British tabloids had a field day exaggerating Le Bon's "near death experience". Le Bon himself has dismissed this story in more than one interview as an "urban myth", claiming nothing of the sort happened.

"The Wild Boys" was named Best British Video at the 1985 BRIT Awards.

B-sides, bonus tracks and remixesEdit

The B-side, "Cracks in the Pavement live", was recorded at the 5 March 1984 show at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. This is the same concert where the video for "The Reflex" was filmed.

To promote the release of the compilation album Greatest in 1998, EMI commissioned a number of remixes, including two mixes of "The Wild Boys" that were released only on promotional discs:

  • "The Wild Boys [ASAP & PM Project Remix]" 3:42 appeared on a one-track promo CD in Spain
  • "Wild Boys 98 [4 On Da Floor Remix]" 3:10 appeared on a one-track promo CD in Belgium

Covers, samples, & media referencesEdit

Cover versions of "The Wild Boys" have been recorded by Robyn Loau/Ronin System, the German bands Atrocity and Touch Down, and the Danish metal band Mnemic.

A sample of the phrase "Boys" (along with the "Girls" from "Girls on Film") was used as part of the "Girls! Boys!" chorus on the band's 1989 megamix single "Burning The Ground".

The song has long been used as entrance music by mixed martial arts fighter "Mirko Filipović".

Chart positionsEdit

"The Wild Boys" peaked at #2 on the UK Singles Chart, the American Billboard Hot 100, and the Canadian CHUM Chart, and reached #1 on the German charts.

Track listingEdit

7": EMI DURAN 3 (UK)Edit

  1. "The Wild Boys [45]" – 4:16
  2. "(I'm looking for) Cracks in the pavement [Live 1984]" – 4:08
  • Also released in sleeves featuring individual band members (DURANC3)

12": EMI 12 DURAN 3 (UK)Edit

  1. "The Wild Boys [(Wilder Than The Wild Boys) Extended mix]" – 8:00
  2. "The Wild Boys [45]" – 4:16
  3. "(I'm looking for) Cracks in the pavement [Live 1984]" – 4:08

CD: Part of "Singles Box Set 1981-1985" boxsetEdit

  1. "The Wild Boys [45]" – 4:16
  2. "(I'm looking for) Cracks in the pavement [Live 1984]" – 4:08
  3. "The Wild Boys [(Wilder Than The Wild Boys) Extended mix]" – 8:00

Other appearancesEdit

Apart from the single, "The Wild Boys" has also appeared on:



Duran Duran are:

Also credited:


  1. All Music Guide Song Review: Wild Boys

Simon Le BonNick RhodesJohn TaylorRoger Taylor
Andy TaylorWarren CuccurulloSterling Campbell

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


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


"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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