New Wave Albums

Rio – Duran Duran

todayDecember 1, 2022 257 4

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Rio is the second studio album by English new wave band Duran Duran, released on 10 May 1982 through EMI Records. The band wrote and demoed most of the material before recording the album at AIR Studios in London from January to March 1982. Colin Thurston returned from their 1981 self-titled debut studio album as producer. The band utilised more experimentation compared to the debut, from vibraphone and marimba to the sound of a cigarette being lit and cracking ice cubes. Andy Hamilton played a saxophone solo on “Rio”.

A new wave album with musical elements ranging from dance to synth-pop, Rio is mostly composed of fast, upbeat numbers, along with a couple slower synthesiser-based ballads. Singer Simon Le Bon’s obtuse lyrics cover topics from chasing one’s dreams to pursuing a love interest. Bassist John Taylor conceived the album title, which the band felt represented the optimistic and exotic tone of the album. The cover artwork, painted by Patrick Nagel and designed by Malcolm Garrett to resemble 1950s cigar packaging, is considered one of the greatest of all time.

Duran Duran shot music videos for many of the album’s tracks, all of which helped spearhead the 1980s MTV revolution. Accompanied by three worldwide hit singles, Rio peaked at number two in the United Kingdom and remained in the chart for 110 weeks. Initially unsuccessful in the United States, the album was remixed, as commissioned by Capitol Records, to better match American radio at the time; the remixed album spent 129 weeks on the Billboard chart and peaked at number six. The band toured the US and Europe throughout the latter half of 1982.

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