|album by Duran Duran|
|Released||11 October 2004|
|Studio||Sphere Studios, London, UK|
|Genre||New wave, pop rock, synthpop|
About the albumEdit
This was Duran Duran's first studio album since Pop Trash (2000), and the first full album since Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983) to have been recorded by the original five members of the band as the stand-alone single "A View to a Kill" which was released in 1985 was their last studio recording together for nearly twenty years.
Duran Duran became highly successful with its original line-up (singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, guitarist Andy Taylor, and drummer Roger Taylor) from 1980 to 1985. This "Fab Five" line-up released three studio albums, each with great success. Then Roger retired, and Andy pursued a solo and producing career. The band membership of Simon, Nick, and John, with guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, remained intact until 1997, when John left Duran Duran. Despite major hits with "Ordinary World" and "Come Undone" in 1993, they were never able to sustain the same level of success as they had achieved as a five-piece band.
The making of the albumEdit
Duran Duran originally announced a reunion of the original five members in 2001, and began writing new music together in the south of France. They continued to write and record intermittently, working hard for a few months at a time, throughout 2002 and 2003. The band's friend Nile Rodgers did preliminary production work on several tracks.
Meanwhile, the search for a record label went on, complicated by the band's desire for independence, control, strong promotional support, and a commitment for more than one album, at the same time that the cash-strapped and risk-averse recording industry was unwilling to gamble on the "leftover fame" of a band best-known for a series of twenty-year-old hits.
The band, frustrated and with nearly thirty new songs approaching completion, set out on a world tour in 2003 to show that they still had drawing power even twenty years after they had first started. The sold-out dates in Japan, America, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand - and the nearly delirious news coverage that followed the reunited band -- warmed the record labels to the possibilities. The new songs "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise", "Still Breathing", "Virus", "Beautiful Colours" and "What Happens Tomorrow" were played during these concerts; John Taylor also played a demo recording of "What Happens Tomorrow" on the air at Los Angeles radio station STAR 98.7.
During this period, a "teaser CD" with short demo versions of a few of the unfinished songs (used to demonstrate the new work to potential labels and producers) was leaked to the Internet and quickly copied throughout the band's fan base. The songs were "Virus", "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise", "TV vs. Radio", "Salt in the Rainbow", and "Pretty Ones". The band was very unhappy about the leak, and with the exception of "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise" (which became the first single) the leaked songs were not included in the final track listing for the album. ("Virus" later appeared as a bonus track on a Japanese release of Astronaut).
[NB - there were two further (is the 1st one a complete track list of the teaser CD?) leaks onto the internet from Epic CDRs prior to the album release -
2003 demos - 01 "TV vs Radio" (2:41) / 02 "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise" (3:02) / 03 "Taste the Summer" (2:39) / 04 "Pretty Ones" (2:44) / 05 "Salt in the Rainbow" (3:33) / 06 "Virus" (3:11) - as a 'standard' CD.
2004 demos - 01 "What Happens Tomorrow" (4:51) / 02 "Beautiful Colours" (4:29) / 03 "Still Breathing" (5:55) / 04 "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise" (3:54) / 05 "Virus" (4:09) / 06 "Taste the Summer" (4:02) / 07 "Salt in the Rainbow" (4:32) / 08 "Point of No Return" (4:59) / 09 "Lonely Business" (4:02) / 10 "Bedroom Toys" (4:28) / 11 "Nice" (4:32) - as 160kbps MP3s... PD]
A remix of "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise" by Jason Nevins was included on the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy soundtrack in February; it received a warm reception by DJs anticipating new work from Duran Duran, but the song was not released as a single from the soundtrack. In March, the band donated "Beautiful Colours" to FIFA, the international governing body for football (soccer), to use as its Centennial song. At the awards ceremony for the FIFA 100, honouring the top living footballers, a video of top moments in the sport was accompanied by the song.
New deal, new albumEdit
Finally, after lengthy negotiations, the band signed a four-album deal with Epic Records (a subsidiary of Sony BMG Music Entertainment) in June of 2004. The songs were given a final polishing with producer Don Gilmore at Sphere Studios in London, and then mixed by Jeremy Wheatley in June and July. R&B producer Dallas Austin produced three tracks on the album, and Nile Rodgers' early production work remains on another three.
Limited copies of the new album were released with a bonus DVD which included 45 minutes of live and behind-the-scenes footage from Wembley Arena, recorded in April 2004. The CD/DVD set came in DVD-sized packaging and European copies bore copy protection, a holdover from the BMG production facilities.
A worldwide media tour accompanied the September release of the first single, "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise", with more surrounding the release of Astronaut in October; in fact, the pace became too hectic for guitarist Andy Taylor, and in November Duran Duran announced he was suffering from exhaustion and flu, and would not be participating in band promotion until January 2005. The remaining four members continued with television appearances, and a stand-in guitarist (Dominic Brown) was hired for the scheduled radio station Christmas concerts in December. Subsequently, January concert dates in Japan had to be postponed until the summer, after drummer Roger Taylor broke a bone in his right foot in December.
Astronaut debuted at #1 on the Internet album chart (that is, physical albums bought through Internet vendors), #3 in the UK album chart, and at #17 in the US Billboard album chart, with similar Top Twenty debuts elsewhere in the world. Meanwhile, the CD/DVD set debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Music Video chart.
The first single, "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise" debuted at #5 in the UK singles chart. In late November, it reached #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart.
The second single, "What Happens Tomorrow" was released 31 January 2005. It was not the quick starter that "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise" was, but slowly gained chart position and radio play, supported by a nearly sold-out tour of North American arenas and stadiums, touted as the band's "largest tour ever". Later in 2005, "What Happens Tomorrow" was used in a promotional spot for the U.S. digital cable network Fox Soccer Channel; Simon Le Bon and John Taylor had also appeared in a separate spot for the network. Andy Taylor missed several American dates in February and March to attend his ill father's hospital bed and subsequent funeral.
Live favourite "Nice" was announced to be the next single in Europe to coincide with the band's tour there. It was believed that the single would not have a commercial release or music video. "Nice" was first released only to radio in Europe and was promoted poorly, then disappeared quickly from the airwaves. Later, the "Nice" single mix and a bunch of remixes were made available on iTunes Store in August 2006.
Embracing new mediaEdit
On 29 March 2005 Sony BMG reissued Astronaut on the new DualDisc format. This double sided disc included the CD version on one side and a remixed 5.1 DVD-Audio surround mix of the album on the other side. The DVD side also included a 25 minute video program with new behind-the-scenes footage.
|Europe||11 October 2004||Epic Records||LP|
|United States||12 October 2004||Epic Records||LP||E2 92900|
|Japan||20 October 2004||Sony Music Japan||CD||EICP 426|
|CD/DVD||EICP 424 - EICP 425|
|United States||29 March 2005||Epic Records||DualDisc||EN 93512|
|United States||20 December 2005||Epic Records||SACD|
- "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise" - 3:27
- "Want You More!" - 3:39
- "What Happens Tomorrow" - 4:11
- "Astronaut" - 3:26
- "Bedroom Toys" - 4:01
- "Nice" - 3:33
- "Taste the Summer" - 3:55
- "Finest Hour" - 4:02
- "Chains" - 4:48
- "One of Those Days" - 3:52
- "Point of No Return" - 4:59
- "Still Breathing" - 5:59
Bonus track on the Japanese edition:
- "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise" (Australia 20 September 2004; UK 4 October 2004) - Charted #5 in the UK on 10 October 2004; Charted #89 in the US on 13 November 2004
- "What Happens Tomorrow" (31 January 2005) - Charted #11 in the UK on 6 February 2005
- "Nice" (European radio release, iTunes download)
Duran Duran are:
- Simon Le Bon - vocals
- John Taylor - bass guitar
- Andy Taylor - guitar
- Nick Rhodes - keyboards
- Roger Taylor - drums
- Arranged by (strings) - Guy Farley (tracks: 3, 8, 12)
- Artwork by - Bernie Beca, Clarissa Tossin, Faile, Patty Palazzo, Sean Hogin, Toru Yoshikawa
- Artwork by (creative direction, graphics remix) - John Warwicker
- Artwork by (graphics) - Sara Syms
- Backing vocals - Andy Taylor (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 10), Tessa Niles (tracks: 4, 5, 7)
- Percussion (additional) - Lily Gonzalez (tracks: 3, 8, 12)
- Engineer - Don Gilmore (tracks: 1 to 3, 5 to 9, 12)
- Engineer (additional) - Daniel Mendez (tracks: 1 to 3, 5 to 9, 12)
- Engineer (assistant) - Francesco Cameli (tracks: 1 to 3, 5 to 9, 12)
- Executive Producer, performer, written by - Duran Duran
- Mastered by - Leon Zervos
- Mixed by - Jeremy Wheatley
- Other (A&R) - David Massey
- Other (additional A&R) - David Gray
- Management - Wendy Laister / Magus Entertainment
- Photography (cover) - Kristian Schuller
- Photography (guitar photo) - Richard Haughton
- Producer - Dallas Austin (tracks: 2, 4, 10), Don Gilmore (tracks: 1 to 3, 6 to 9), Duran Duran
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