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Live Gig Video: Duran Duran play ‘Pressure Off’ from new album ‘Paper Gods’ on Jimmy Fallon

 
By on Thursday, 17th September 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

Pop legends Duran Duran released their latest album ‘Paper Gods’ last week. (As a Duranie, I stopped counting after they reunited with the original line-up in the last decade.) But no matter: they’re still making the American late night telly rounds, this week performing the radio-friendly single ‘Pressure Off’ on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The studio version features Nile Rodgers and Janelle Monae, but sadly neither were present for this performance. Guys, what is up with those shoes? Sorry…I did say I was a Duranie…

Watch the performance of ‘Pressure Off’ below. Grab ‘Paper Gods’ now from Warner Brothers.

 

A Few Words About the Bond Film Theme Songs…

 
By on Thursday, 11th October 2012 at 11:00 am
 

2012 is a milestone year for Bond fans, seeing both the 50th anniversary of the first episode in the film franchise, Dr. No, and the release of the 22nd in the series, Skyfall, due this month. As a teaser, Adele’s eponymous theme song was unveiled last week – of which more later. As TGTF’s celebration of all things Bond-ian, we run through a short history of Bond movie themes.

Where better than to start than at the beginning, with Dr. No, which, strictly speaking, didn’t have a theme song of its own. The honour it did have, however, was to introduce an unsuspecting public to the sinister, bombastic delights of Monty Norman and John Barry’s title theme, the story of which is just as tortuous and thrilling as any Fleming plot. Norman had to go to court to defend his authorship of the James Bond theme three times; the latest in 2001, after a Sunday Times article alleged it was primarily a John Barry composition. Norman won all three cases, and received royalties unchallenged for years before and since. No matter its authorship (and a keen ear can hear the influence of both Norman and Barry), the song itself is a near-genius piece of composition. Expertly conjuring an orchestral breadth from its big band arrangement, and featuring a guitar riff timeless in both tone and melody from the superbly-named Vic Flick, the appearance of major sevenths in a minor key and liberal use of the ‘blue’ diminished fifth generates a macabre tension in the harmony, which Barry’s brass blasts amplify to almost unbearable levels of drama. Surely the most recognisable movie theme of all time, and amongst the finest 2 minutes’ of music ever conceived.

Monty Norman never again worked on a Bond film, in contrast with John Barry, who went on to score eleven more, including the title songs (except Lionel Bart’s competent if somewhat tame From Russia With Love). Goldfinger is where the franchise really hit its stride: Barry is at his menacing best in the opening brass fanfare and contrasting demure strings; the first of three Bond outings for Shirley Bassey matches the orchestra’s passion with a barnstorming vocal never bettered in the whole series, although Tom Jones almost achieves that high accolade with Thunderball, another tour de force performance from composer, orchestra, and singer alike, Jones famously fainting after holding the song’s final note for as long as he could manage. You Only Live Twice sees Nancy Sinatra in a more reflective mood than the bombast of the previous two episodes, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is blessed with Louis Armstrong’s final recording, and Bassey returns along with Connery for Diamonds are Forever.

A Barry hiatus saw him temporarily replaced on composition duties by the wonder pairing of George Martin and Paul McCartney, whose Live And Let Die was recently, and rightly, voted the best Bond theme of all time by no less an authority than the listeners of Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s film review. (You can watch the iconic Macca/Wings-infused title sequence below.) The first rock band theme, but no less Bond-ian for it, the McCartney/Martin effort strikes the perfect balance of lushness and aggression: an apposite way to signal the franchise’s change of tone as Moore picks his way through the mean streets of Harlem. Barry’s return, for The Man with the Golden Gun, carries more than a whiff of self-parody in its wah-wah guitar and blaxploitation overtones, and is, by Barry’s admission, his weakest ever theme, Lulu’s charms insufficient to drag it into the charts on either side of the Atlantic.

Marvin Hamlisch’s expert handling of the Barry style for The Spy Who Loved Me generated a worldwide hit for Carly Simon in ‘Nobody Does It Better’ and makes one wonder why Hamlisch never returned to the franchise. It being the late ‘70s, synthesisers and disco influences were creeping into the traditional big band style, to mixed effect. Moonraker is about as humdrum as a Barry/Bassey recording is likely to get: the tone more gentle and orchestral, presumably to reflect the yawning silence of space; the thuggish brass is sorely missed.

By the time of For Your Eyes Only (again Barryless), the rot – the 1980s – had truly set in. The truly dreadful Sheena Easton title song, seemingly played on a child’s synthesiser, is notable solely as a historical artefact, demonstrating how the 1980s FM radio sheen invaded even the most hallowed of musical institutions. Barry returned for Octopussy, but Rita Coolidge’s ‘All Time High’ was barely better than Easton’s effort. Was this really Bond’s fate, to drown in a deluge of 1980s schmaltz?

Thankfully, to draw the Moore era to a close, Barry reached out for help, and found inspiration in a collaboration with Duran Duran. They knew how to harness the electronic sound for drama and tension rather than sickly sentiment, whilst Barry kept the orchestra bubbling underneath: The samples of ‘A View to a Kill’, its stratocaster and synth stabs add up to the finest Bond theme of the electronic era, charting higher than any Bond theme before or since on both sides of the Atlantic. [It also has a hilariously ridiculous spy-themed promo video, which you can watch below. – Ed.] Presumably, recruiting a-ha for The Living Daylights was meant to engender the same success – it didn’t, the resulting collaboration being a mostly forgettable, insipid thing. And thus ended the Barry era of Bond music. Patchy, but at its best, particularly in the early years, nothing could come close.

Licence to Kill mystifyingly chose Gladys Knight’s MOR r&b over a re-recorded version of the original theme tune by Eric Clapton and original guitarist Vic Flick. Evidence that the plot had well and truly been lost. It would be 6 years before Goldeneye released Eric Serra’s underrated avant-garde electronic minimalism on unsuspecting Bond fans. Featuring familiar themes given unfamiliar treatments (the main riff played on timpani, anyone?), anyone who spent hours playing the superb Nintendo video game will be more familiar with the nuances of Serra’s soundtrack than any other in the series.

David Arnold helmed the next five films, spanning 13 years, and failed to deliver a true classic theme for any one. Which brings us to Adele’s effort. Thomas Newman appears to be adopting the David Arnold “no surprises” approach – no blast of horns, no sneering vocal, just a gentle piano intro, developing strings, smooth, diva-ish vocal, choir call-and-response, and end. The intro’s too long, and there are some dreadful “moon in june” rhyming couplets. Not bad, not special, not enough to break the 27-year drought since ‘A View to a Kill’. Time and hindsight may treat the recent themes more kindly, but arguably the line “Nobody does it… quite as good as you… baby you’re the best,” could well have been written about the great John Barry himself.

 

MP3 of the Day #602: Duran Duran

 
By on Tuesday, 14th August 2012 at 10:00 am
 

Coming off their appearance in Hyde Park in the accompanying gig to the massive one by Danny Boyle in Olympic Stadium to open the London 2012 Olympics, Duran Duran are riding high. So it seemed as good a time as any to offer up a remix of ‘The Man Who Stole a Leopard’, from the band’s 13th album ‘All You Need is Now’. By Gosteffects, it’s a little house and a little dubsteppy. Listen to and download it below.

 

Listen to the Official London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony Playlist

 
By on Friday, 6th July 2012 at 3:30 pm
 

As reported a couple weeks ago on the Guardian, these 86 tracks were chosen to be the best of British music through the years and will be the soundtrack to official opening ceremony on 27 July. As should be expected, confirmed opening ceremony performers Duran Duran (pictured at top) appear on the list with ‘The Reflex’, and Muse, suppliers of the official London 2012 song, appear twice with ‘Map of the Problematique’ and ‘Uprising’. There are also appearances from the themes of both Coronation Street and Eastenders: little North vs. South action, eh? The Blur (‘Song 2’) vs. Oasis (‘Wonderwall’) argument has a second coming.

But there seem to be some glaring omissions (how are there no Beatles, Queen or Smiths songs?), and do we really need to remind the world of Frankie Goes to Hollywood‘s ‘Relax’? I guess the Sex Pistols‘ previous two fingers to the monarchy have been long since forgotten (they appear twice, with ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘Pretty Vacant’), and I can’t be the only one who thinks OMD‘s ‘Enola Gay’ is a strange choice. My favourite addition? A tie between Soul II Soul‘s ‘Back to Life’ and Kaiser Chiefs‘ ‘I Predict a Riot’. Least favourites? Tinie Tempah‘s ‘Pass Out’ and Roll Deep‘s ‘Shake a Leg’. (Really?)

Have a look and listen below and then let us know what you think of the 86 song list in the comments. We’ll add the most entertaining ones to the body of this post. (Hints: you must have Spotify to play the tracks, and to activate the scrolling bar, run your mouse or finger on the right hand side of the player to reveal it.)

 

Video of the Moment #422: Duran Duran

 
By on Saturday, 5th March 2011 at 11:00 am
 

’80s new wave legends Duran Duran released their latest album, ‘All You Need is Now’, on digital format in December, to rave reviews. The band worked with famed producer and self-confessed massive Duran fan Mark Ronson, which made me think this albun could potentially be miles better than their last two, trying to desperately grab on the hip urban genre.

Enter the mostly monochromatic promo video for the title track of the album. As an old school Duranie, I’m pretty critical of the band’s artistic choices and am always comparing new efforts to the brilliance of songs like ‘The Reflex’ and ‘Come Undone’ of days gone by. The verses in this song aren’t great and the discordant buzzing is a little annoying, but the chorus is really well done and sounds like classic Duran and Simon LeBon’s voice sounds like it hasn’t aged one bit. And even if you’re not into reminiscing with the band on their New Romantic heritage (with, er, “new” New Romantics with mobiles?), gazing at Nick Rhodes’ synth set-up is pretty awe-inspiring.

Duran Duran are heading out on an arena tour of the UK in May and June, details here. The digital version of ‘All You Need is Now’ (the album) is available now, but the physical drops on the 21st of March.

 

Duran Duran / May and June 2011 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 31st January 2011 at 9:00 am
 

To the delight of their legions of fans, young and old, enduring pop legends Duran Duran have announced an arena tour for May and June of this year. Tickets are on sale now.

Wednesday 18th May 2011 – Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
Thursday 19th May 2011 – Glasgow SECC
Saturday 21st May 2011 – Birmingham LG Arena NEC
Sunday 22nd May 2011 – Nottingham Capital FM Arena
Monday 23rd May 2011 – Liverpool Echo Arena
Saturday 28th May 2011 – London O2 Arena
Monday 30th May 2011 – Brighton Centre
Tuesday 31st May 2011 – Bournemouth International Centre
Wednesday 1st June 2011 – Cardiff International Arena
Friday 3rd June 2011 – Manchester MEN Arena
Saturday 4th June 2011 – Sheffield Motorpoint Arena

 
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About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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