|My Own Way|
|single by Duran Duran|
|B-side||"Like An Angel"|
|Released||16 November 1981|
Townhouse Studios, London
|Genre||New wave, synthpop|
|Length||3:39 (Single Version)|
6:31 (Night Version)
|Duran Duran Official Videos|
About the song
The single was designed as a stop-gap release to capitalise on the Top 5 success of the band's previous single, "Girls on Film", but prior to the recording and release of the band's second album Rio which was recorded in the early months of 1982.
"My Own Way" peaked at #14 on the UK Singles Chart. It was more successful in Australia, becoming Duran Duran's second Top 10 hit at #10.
Even though it was a released as a single, and a gateway to the Rio album, "My Own Way" has yet to appear on any of Duran Duran's compilation albums. Neither 1989's Decade or 1998's Greatest included the track, although it came close. A promo for Greatest included both "My Own Way" and "Careless Memories", but the commercial release replaced them with 1990's "Serious" and 1997's "Electric Barbarella".
The band played "My Own Way" consistently between 1981 and 1984, and in 2006 even dusted it off a few times, segueing right into the song after performing the Power Station's "Some Like It Hot."
Although See Me Repeat Me has often been associated with the song Rio, the song also shares an upbeat backing rhythm like My Own Way. An unknown track called Jay also appears in early performance setlists, which may also be related.
A demo of "My Own Way" recorded at EMI's Manchester Square headquarters on Aug. 28, 1981. That take included different instrumental flourishes: prominent percussion, light-touch guitar riffs and bursts of Andy Taylor's signature electric guitar.
The 7" single and 12" single versions of the song were recorded in late October 1981, well before the rest of the album was recorded in the early months of 1982. The single had a fast tempo and real "disco strings" arranged by Richard Myhill and Duran Duran. In interviews, Andy said they "kinda rushed it" as they only had a small window of time after they got back from New York to record it. He said: "We came back from New York probably a little bit hyper about it all." 
"The single version of My Own Way is a little misguided," bassist John Taylor said in a 2017 interview around Rio's 35th anniversary. "We were kind of going for a very disco, Donna Summer-y [approach]. …I mean, it was probably the most blatant kind of disco song we wrote." (Source). "The single version was very different from the album version," added drummer Roger Taylor in the same interview. "I made some notes on some of these songs [for Rio] and at the top next to 'My Own Way,' I'd written 'problem child.' "
In a 2022 interview about the song, Roger said "In my opinion, the album version of the song My Own Way was FAR superior to the original version. The single version; which we cut at a very high break-neck tempo; which was far too fast for the song. So we took the unusual step of going back into the studio, and recutting it at a slower tempo, which I think was much better for the song. John and I were into Michael Jackson at the time, so if you listen carefully, you'll hear 'Working Day and Night' in there somewhere."
A much slower version of "My Own Way" was later recorded for the album, with slightly different lyrics. In this slower groove version, Simon shouts out a rough approximation of the address for the popular New York club The Peppermint Lounge: on 45th street between 6th Avenue and the Broadway theatre district. 
This version of song was later remixed by David Kershenbaum for the Carnival EP, and this altered track appeared on the American re-issue of the Rio album on vinyl and cassette late in 1982. All CD pressings of Rio have used the original UK album mix, rather than the Kershenbaum mix.
"For me, it was always a slightly tricky song," Simon Le Bon said in the Rio look-back interview. "I still think that the verse is a lot better than the chorus, you know — [Sings] 'Saw you at the air race yesterday / April showers, get out of my way.' That was really catchy, but… I don't think that the chorus ever quite fulfils the promise of the verse." Roger said: "By the time we cut it for [Rio], we slowed it right down, and we got the groove a little bit more where it should be. I much prefer the album version of it."
The video for "My Own Way" was set to the fast-paced single version of the song. It was rarely played on MTV or VH-1, and was quickly overshadowed by the other more famous videos for the Rio album. Like those videos, "My Own Way" was directed by Russell Mulcahy.
The video for "My Own Way" was filmed in a St. Johns Wood studio decorated entirely in red, black and white. The band performs the song while flamenco dancers twirl in the background, and a colorful parrot sits on the keyboards. The video was shot on 35mm film rather than video, a trend the band had started with their previous single "Girls On Film".
Small snippets of this video was seen on the projection screen in the video for "Is There Something I Should Know?" released in 1983, and it was part of the band's 1983 video album Duran Duran. However, it was not included on the video compilations Decade (1989) or Greatest (1999).
7" Back Cover
(12" Back Cover)
Japan got a Nagel cover
The sleeve was the first instance of collaboration by two of the primary sleeve art stars: Malcolm Garrett and Peter Saville. “My Own Way” was not the last time the twin titans of graphic design collaborate, either. Garrett was responsible for the layout, with typography falling under Saville’s duties (Source). The scratchboard/lino cut illustration riffed off of the “dancing with the bulls in any old way” lyric, with a bull facing off against a matador, against a Tyrian purple backdrop. Gold ink was used for the band’s name, making an effective four color design. The “double d” logo on the back cover was another new addition, which would return for the bands 2003 'Reunion' tour.
Japan got it's own cover produced by Patrick Nagel; who would go on to produce covers for the Rio album. This was the band's first time working with him, and was also the introduction of the 'Rio lady'/character used for the next album cover. It is unknown whether the line from the Night Version of this song: 'Thank God I'm going to Rio!' had any baring on this Nagel cover design, or the titles of the forthcoming Song Rio, or the Rio album.
B-sides, bonus tracks and remixes
The b-side on the 7" and 12" singles was "Like An Angel", and the 12" included the "night version".
The "Brazilian edit" was released on the Brazilian 7" single. It is an edit of the album version which fades with over a minute left of the song.
A further version of "My Own Way" surfaced on the b-side of the "Rio" 12" single. This mix, by David Kershenbaum, was the same as the version on the Carnival EP, it just faded out a few seconds earlier.
Complete list of mixes
- "My Own Way" - 4:49
- "My Own Way" (Single Version) - 3:40
- "My Own Way" (Night Version) - 6:34
- "My Own Way" (Instrumental Version) - 6:33
- "My Own Way" (Carnival Remix) - 4:31
- "My Own Way" (Remix) - 4:36
- "My Own Way" (Brazilian Edit) - 3:42
All release details pertain to the UK only.
7": EMI 5254
- "My Own Way" (Single Version) - 3:39
- "Like An Angel" - 4:41
12": EMI 12 5254
- "My Own Way" (Night Version) - 6:31
- "Like An Angel" - 4:41
- "My Own Way" - (Short Version) - 3:39
CD: Part of the "Singles Box Set 1981-1985"
- "My Own Way" (Short Version)" - 3:39
- "Like An Angel" - 4:41
- "My Own Way" (Night Version) - 6:31
Apart from the single, "My Own Way" has also appeared on:
Duran Duran are:
- Simon Le Bon - vocals
- John Taylor - bass guitar
- Andy Taylor - guitar
- Nick Rhodes - keyboards
- Roger Taylor - drums
- Colin Thurston - producer and engineer
- Renate - technician
- Peter Saville, Peter Saville Associates and Malcolm Garrett, Assorted iMaGes - sleeve design
- Arranged by (strings) - Duran Duran and Richard Myhill
Carnival Remix, and Album
(Ooh hoo) I saw you at the air race yesterday, April showers get out of my way. Fear of flying no not me. I'm never bothered what you say Someone's kid just lives for today It ain't your problem anyway 'Cos I've got my own way I can find my own way 'Cos I've got my own way Hay yay yay yay yay ya-hay (chrous) (Number 1) Public figure, what a pain Just puts another rattle in your brain Take another green but it's not the same. So now you're on the sand lane everyday Dancing with the bulls in any old way Running like a fox to keep up with me. (chorus) (chorus) ...(from Night Version) (Wow!, Thank God I'm going to Rio!) I'm on 45 45, between 6th and Broadway... (and Broadway, and Broadway...) Takin' 7UP, between 6th and Broadway, 7up, between 6th and Broadway, 7UP! (chorus) (chorus) Yeh Yeh Yeh Yeh Yeh Yeh Yeh Yeah, leave that jack runnin' Hmmm make it fizzy. Yeh, just how I like it Another blow, don't talk, uhmm hmm. Yeah 7up D'house, blow on, wind up that window Shove down blade into the world, so rule let down Hmm, gotta, put our red streak around this town ....(from album contd.) Hey you! Whatcha countin' (Nothin' man) You want it. Let's go. Let's do it. Let's go!
D'house, blow on, lined every window Gotcha' in there You want it. Let's do, let's do it. Here we go!
The surface meaning of this song is to bring a fun and relaxed atmosphere, a groove, into peoples likes. It encourages the listener to 'let their hair down'; to shrug off those self conscious limitations and inhibitions, and to party.
The second layer meaning relates to the band's attitudes at that time. Wearing the flamboyant bohemian clothing, the hair, the makeup; the band where the latest icons of the New Romantic scene. Teens around there world were experimenting with their looks, their appearance, their gender. The band were moving through an androgynous phase; appealing to both Men and Women due to their gorgeous good looks, and gender neutral attitude towards fashion. The song is perhaps saying 'It's okay to be you'. Everybody has 'their own way', which they should be proud to shout about from the rooftops. The band hoped their slick, cool image combined with a non political agenda, would feel supportive to people struggling to identify themselves, and perhaps it might encourage people to celebrate themselves, and their lives, instead.
The third layer meaning is the song is about cocaine, in the same way as Drug (It's a state of mind) and White Lines (Don't do it). Duran Duran had just returned from their first American tour, where they had been introduced to cocaine by the record company in New York, in order to keep the band fresh for the tour. When they came back, they had one week to record a single and a video before the next stage of the tour, and were very enthusiastic to transfer that new vibe, that new energy, into a song. Apart from referencing the slang word 'blow', and the 'scorin dope' section at the end, Simon compares it to something fizzy, like the '7Up' brand of sugary sparking beverage. The 'Air Race' is perhaps the 'Air Play' charts for radio. Flying is a reference for getting 'high'. 'Brain Rattle' means nervousness. The band had smoked cannabis ('green') before to cope with the nerves, but now they follow the white lines (the 'sand lane') everyday, snoring up the ground like a bull, running like foxes.
The core meaning is unknown. The seed probably came from Nick wanting to put out a single between the albums, to keep their image/presence/songs 'high' in the pop charts. So the core is more about trying to drive that energy into their work and become successful. It's a 'please like us' song, perhaps designed around a throw away line by Nick about his fashion sense.
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