Monthly Archives: November 2012
What was the purpose of that last post? The music group Duran Duran has included women in many facets of their career that has spanned over 3 decades.
So why all the women?
First of all, you have to remember that the members were mere teenagers in 1978 when the official line-up came together; Nick Rhodes the youngest at 16 and Simon Le Bon the oldest at 20. Not only was the music surging through them but the hormones were also. All of them married beautiful women, and even after Rhodes divorced, he’s dated several beautiful women. Le Bon actually married a supermodel. And their base fans have always consisted of mostly females, a fact that has stood strong for over 30 years.
The group members were interested in women for many reasons. Obviously, the physical attraction and appeal is the biggest reason. On a more creative note, all of them are interested in art in its many forms. Women are the most appealing objects in art because the female body is just simply beautiful. Since they were labeled “pretty boys” from the start, being with women just seemed to make sense. It was part of their image.
So over the years, they have always associated themselves with women: models, actresses, musicians, fashion designers, even great women like the late Princess Diana who stated publicly that Duran Duran was her favorite group. To solidify that fact, Duran Duran were the first act to perform at the Concert for Diana and were introduced by her sons, Princes William and Harry, who also repeated that information.
Is this exploiting women? Let’s face it; sex sells. When a video is banned from airplay until it’s edited, that creates a stir. Anything like that is definitely good for business, so to speak. Duran Duran is just using the resources that are most favorable to them. And the models like to do it…to be a part of something that one of their favorite groups is creating. It’s boring to be filmed standing on a stage and lip-syncing.
That is what television shows are for. Duran Duran busted the mold to tiny shards when they started their music videos. They were erotic and exotic, raising the bar for the others in the music business and leaving their competitors in the dust.
So what does it hurt to keep yourself in the company of beautiful women? Nothing at all.
As I’ve mentioned before, I am a Duranie…meaning that I am a devoted follower of the music group Duran Duran and have been since 1981. Duran Duran has a long life as a group: 34 years to be exact. Officially, they have put out 13 studio albums, 4 live albums and 5 compilation albums. Since their beginning, they have associated themselves with women in many ways as possible…beyond the sheer masses of females in their audiences around the world over the past 3+ decades.
Duran Duran were the probably the first ones to utilize models and beautiful women in their music videos, for which they have been known for. All video links are from YouTube.
- “Girls On Film” from Duran Duran (1981): first video to catch the attention of the media and was a hit in the underground; the first music video ever to be banned by both the BBC and America’s MTV; partial nudity. “Girls On Film” video (uncensored)
- “Hungry Like The Wolf” from Rio (1982): featured a model that wrestled with Simon Le Bon in the jungle. “Hungry Like The Wolf” video
- “Rio” from Rio (1982): Reema, a model, was chosen for the infamous role because she most resembled the woman from the album cover, in which Patrick Nagel was commissioned to do the album cover for. “Rio” video
- “The Chauffeur” from Rio (1982): first video that did not show the band members; featured 2 obviously wealthy women preparing to meet each other for a rendezvous in a parking garage at night; edited for partial nudity. “The Chauffeur” video
- “A View To A Kill” (1985): James Bond theme for movie of same title; featured all 5 band members as spies on the Eiffel Tower, following the scene from the movie; featured Grace Jones from the movie and a model posing for keyboardist Nick Rhodes as he took pictures of her under the guise of actually getting pictures of villainess Grace Jones. “A View To A Kill” video
- “Notorious” from Notorious (1986): featured model Christy Turlington as well as female dancers. “Notorious” video
- “Violence of Summer (Love’s Taking Over)” from Liberty (1990): featured several models, including Tess Daly, hanging out in platinum blonde wigs. “Violence of Summer (Love’s Taking Over)” video
- “Serious” from Liberty (1990): also features model Tess Daly. “Serious” video
- “Electric Barbarella” from Medazzaland (1997): second video banned by both the BBC and America; showed the group members purchasing a life-like, Barbie-looking woman to clean, be a hostess and take care of them; banned for partial nudity and sexually suggestive scenes. “Electric Barbarella” video
- “Falling Down” from Red Carpet Massacre (2007): featured the band members as doctors in a rehab hospital for women that were starlets, models, etc. and got hooked on drugs and alcohol in the essence of Hollywood; again banned from broadcast television; partial nudity. “Falling Down” video (extended version)
- “Girl Panic!” from All You Need Is Now (2011): fourth video banned by the BBC and America and had to be edited for airplay; was released directly on YouTube; featuring supermodels that portray the band members: Eva Herzigova (Nick Rhodes), Helene Christiansen (Roger Taylor), Cindy Crawford (John Taylor), Yasmin Le Bon (the Guitarist), and Naomi Campbell (Simon Le Bon); the band members make cameos as reporters, paparazzi, bell boys, elevator operator, bartenders, servers, etc.; features many models in fancy lingerie and tight leather clothes in sexual situations. Ends brilliantly with the message that “No supermodels were harmed during this video.” “Girl Panic!” video
As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve been discussing gender roles in class and that will continue next week. I’ve had this idea to do a project showing how women have been used on album covers (CDs for you “young uns” that never had the wonderful experience of listening to sweet vinyl records!). So I thought this would be a good time to do that.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve listened to music. I even listened to my parents’ old albums so my taste in music not only spans many genres but decades as well. Over the 4 decades I’ve been alive, I’ve noticed how women have been used as album/cd art. I remember these 2 from my parent’s record collection. My mom told me that they were very controversial for their time.
Is it exploitation? Maybe. Many people, including myself, consider album covers as art. Women are dressed scantily or with no clothes at all, turned into objects, seen as hollow or as demons and even tied up, restrained or tortured. An album cover is an artistic overview of the artists’ album…a tying together of a theme. It usually is directly associated with the album title. Yet many of these covers feature the artist themselves. So they are letting themselves be view in whatever way they choose for the artwork.
People shouldn’t get upset or offended, although I’m sure Jean Kilbourne of the Killing Us Softly series could have a field day with this topic! However, remember this. Look at some of the greatest albums of all times…and most do not have a woman on the cover. Is that what makes them great?? Hell no! It’s the artist and the fans, the consumers that make them great!
**Note: The collection of album covers that I put together for this blog is too big to include so I uploaded them to my Photobucket site. I encourage you to follow the links (no cost or registration to view them) and enjoy the collections!**