Duran Duran Wiki
Save A Prayer
Single by Duran Duran
B-side "Hold Back the Rain" (Remix)
Released 9 August 1982
Recorded January-February 1982
AIR Studios, London
Format 7", 12"
Genre New wave, synthpop
Length 5:25 (Single Version
5:32 (Album Version)
3:45 (US Single Edit)
Label Capitol, EMI
Writer(s) Duran Duran
Producer Colin Thurston
Duran Duran Official Video

"Save A Prayer" is the sixth single by Duran Duran, released as the third single from the album Rio on 9 August 1982.

About the song[]

"Save A Prayer" begins with a somewhat eerie synthesizer riff, which plays in the background throughout the song. The song began with Andy Taylor and Nick Rhodes picking out chords together, and was then built around the sequencer track. The verses of the song are in D minor, while the chorus is in B minor. It opens with an arpeggiated delay-treated synthesizer riff (created on a Roland SH-2), which plays in the background throughout the song. (Source).

Simon Le Bon wrote the lyrics to the song while the band was on tour. The lyrics are about a chance meeting between two people that turns into a one-night stand. According to Le Bon, the song's chorus structure is based on Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind" and the lyrics as being contrary to the then-popular New Romantic movement by being "realistic, and not romantic" and "for seeing things as they really are." He sums up "Save A Prayer" as "It's definitely a freedom song but like a kinda nobody owns anybody kinda song." (Source).

Cover art for the single was designed by Assorted iMages, which features the shadow of John Taylor, which was a flipped image taken from a still frame of the first few seconds of the music video.

Donald A. Guarisco at All Music Guide[1] said:

Dance-friendly items like "Rio" and "Hungry Like The Wolf" gave Duran Duran their chart breakthrough in the U.S. but they were also capable of making lush ballads guaranteed to make their fan base swoon. One of the finest, perhaps the finest, was "Save a Prayer," a lilting epic from Rio that has a special place in the heart of every Duran Duran fanatic. The lyrics revolve around a chance meeting between two people that flares into a love affair but ends all too soon: "Some people call it a one night stand/But we can call it paradise/Don't say a prayer for me now/Save it 'til the morning after." The music maintains the stormily romantic quality of the lyric by combining meditative verses with an aching chorus that swells and ebbs in a way that perfectly captures the song's heartbreak. Duran Duran's recording places an emphasis on Nick Rhodes' swirling, minimalist synth lines and Simon Le Bon's pained vocals as the rhythm section holds down a steady but subdued beat, with Andy Taylor adding a few searing bursts of electric guitar during the chorus. The result was a stylish mood-piece that became a number two hit in the UK and earned plenty of airplay on MTV with a glossy video that featured the band jet-setting around the atmospheric locale of Sri Lanka.

Song Development[]

Although we do not know the exact dates for the writing and recording of this song, it is safe to assume it was written in early 1982. The song was never played live until after the band recorded the album, so this narrows down the likely period to Mid February, when the band got back from their writing sessions in France. Nick said in a 2022 BBC radio show with Gary Davis:

Save a Prayer was written in Birmingham, at the Rum Runner club. We were up in our rehearsal room, and I'd gone in early one day because I had a new piece of gear, a Roland Space Echo; and I wanted to figure out how it worked. So I played a little sequencer into my synth, just so that I had something that would go around and around and around. And I found a setting where I could actually get the delays completely in time; which sort of almost doubled the tempo of the notes that I had. I thought "that's actually quite interesting". And I could hear a melody in my head, so I started finding the notes. And that was the synthesised flute part.

And I was playing that on top of [the synth loop], and as I was sort of fiddling around, Andy Taylor arrived. And he said "oh, I like that - hold on a minute'. And he figured out the basic chords. And as the rest of the band came in, John and Roger locked into the groove of the song, and Simon immediately got a lyrics idea for it. And the song was written pretty swiftly, I think if not that day, probably within a couple of days. And then we demo'd the song, at Bob Lamb's Studio in Birmingham. And that actual version is VERY similar to the final version that was released. [2]

Simon has said the chorus for was inspired by 'If You Could Read My Mind' by Gordon Lightfoot.

Ask Katy trivia[]

"Hi John, Can you tell me if you are using a fretless bass when recording "Save A Prayer" or, if not, what effects are you using on you bass. Thanks, Ger"

  • "Hello Ger, If I remember correctly, it was an Electro Harmonix phase shifter. It sounds like a chorus pedal, which was de rigeur for every fretless bass sound at that time, and I use chorus today on that song .. but .. I’m pretty sure the effect I used in the studio was aforesaid phaser. And it wasn’t a fretless bass. John."

Music video[]

The video was filmed by director Russell Mulcahy among the jungles, beaches, and temples of Sri Lanka in April 1982. Scenes were filmed atop the rock fortress of Sigiriya, and among the ruins of a Buddhist temple at Polonnaruwa, and the island's southern coastline, with Simon Le Bon appearing in Speedos.

The shoot was a difficult but memorable experience for the band. Simon Le Bon and Roger and John Taylor went ahead to the location while Andy Taylor and Nick Rhodes were in London finishing mixes for the Rio album and B sides. They had almost no time after that was done to change clothes before catching their flight, and Rhodes wore the same leather jacket and trousers he had been wearing against the London cold weather. When they arrived in Colombo, it was 140 degrees Fahrenheit/ 60 degrees Celsius outside, and Rhodes was uncomfortable in his clothing. Taylor reassured him they would be in their hotel soon and could relax. The driver who met them in a flatbed lorry informed them it would be several hours' driving time to Kandy in the centre of the country, where the band were lodged. Along the way they were struck by the poverty they witnessed.

Simon said "Nobody knew who we were. I remember I wanted to get blonde highlights put into my hair, and the woman dyed it bright orange. That's when Russel suggested I wear a hat. I remember during one shoot, they had me walking down a market street wearing the hat, and a crowd had gathered behind the camera at the end of the street. As I walked down, the corner of the roof of a building knocked my hat off, showing my bright orange hair, and all of the crowd gasped!"

During the filming of the scene where the band members were riding elephants, a female elephant made a strange sound. One of the crew had recorded it, and found it funny enough to play back. It turned out to be the elephant's mating call, which led the elephant carrying Roger Taylor to charge downhill and attempt to mount the female. Simon said: "We were staying at Unawatuna, at a place called goal (Galle), new oriental hotel - we drive out to this river, a pool, a river grotto. We all sit on the back of these elephants and they put their trunks in the water and squirted us. Then one of the sound guys played this noise, of a female elephant. And at one point, the elephant Roger was sitting on went charging over the pool, climbed on top of this other elephant, and started to hump it, with roger sat on the back of it.". (source). Roger said: "It was pretty high up, and looking down was scary. I was shaken up after that". "It was It was funny as hell, but quite hairy for a moment," says Nick Rhodes.

While perched on a branch over a lagoon and miming playing his guitar, an intoxicated Andy Taylor fell into the water. He accidentally swallowed some, and had to be hospitalized during the band's subsequent Australian tour due to a tropical virus he contracted at that time, perhaps with dysentery. At 3 minutes, 40 seconds into the clip, you can see him perched on a branch looking a tad dazed, immediately before his unscheduled splash.The band members all initially refused to do the scene where an elephant sprays water from its trunk onto one of them due to its homoerotic overtones; they finally settled on John Taylor since he was the band's pin-up boy. He would be teased about it for years afterwards. Andy Taylor recalled in his 2012 biography Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran: "I suppose there's a lesson there somewhere: if you smoke dope and drink Jack Daniel's in the tropical heat, don't fall into a lagoon full of elephant's urine". "I didn't care," he wrote in his autobiography, "I loved it. It is one of my most treasured memories."

Andy Taylor recalls in his memoirs that the shooting at the temple was very tense, since the country was on the verge of civil war and the temple's monks were impatiently waiting for their leader to arrive and address a large political gathering. The band members wore bare feet in deference to the temple's religious importance, frequently scorching themselves on the bare rock they were standing on. During some takes, the band members yelled "Fuck you, Russell!" instead of mouthing the lyrics. As soon as Russell shouted "Cut!" they would start hopping up and down in pain. (Source). For one scene, Le Bon and Rhodes were dropped off from a helicopter on the rock at Sigiriya that could not itself land on the monument. The helicopter circled them for some time. Nick became very unhappy about being stranded on the exposed rock.

Both Andy and John can be seen miming playing acoustic guitars in the video. Nick can be seen playing some kind of panflute in the introduction. Andy played the guitar on the studio recording.

B-sides, bonus tracks and remixes[]

The UK release of "Save A Prayer" was backed with a remix of "Hold Back the Rain".

Complete list of mixes[]

  1. "Save A Prayer" - 5:34
  2. "Save A Prayer" (Single Version) - 5:24
  3. "Save A Prayer" (Video Version) - 6:03
  4. "Save A Prayer" (Australian Promo Edit) - 4:10
  5. "Save A Prayer" (Brazilian Edit) - 4:04
  6. "Save A Prayer" (US Single Version) - 3:44
  7. "Save A Prayer" (Special Edited Version) - 3:55
  8. "Save A Prayer" (Japanese Single Version) - 4:00
  9. "Save A Prayer" (Instrumental) - 5:26

Song Differences:[]

  • Single: at approximately 4:35 "Save a prayer 'til the morning after" is repeated 4 times until fade out.
  • Album: at approximately 4:35 "Save a prayer 'til the morning after" is repeated 6 times until fade out.
  • Video: at approximately 4:41 "Save a prayer 'til the morning after" is repeated 12 times until fade out.
  • The synthesizer riff in the Video Version is repeated 4 times during the intro, while the synthesizer riff on the album and single version gets repeated only twice.

Covers, samples, & media references[]

The song has been covered by Tony Hadley, Shut Up And Dance, Eve's Plum, Polyanna, Dune, Oliver Haze, 56K feat. Beejay, the Push Kings and Marcos Marin by Projeto Set Band..

In 2007, it was referenced in the lyrics of the song by Arctic Monkeys, "Teddy Picker" from their album Favourite Worst Nightmare: "I don't want your prayer, save it for the morning after".

Chart positions[]

"Save A Prayer" was released in the UK on 9 August 1982, and peaked at #2 on the UK Singles Chart on 11 September. This version was not released in the United States. It was not originally issued as a single in the United States, although the video was very popular on MTV. However, a special US single version was released in January 1985 and reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song became Duran Duran's biggest hit to date (at the time) in the UK Singles Chart, reaching #2, held out of the top spot by Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger".

Live version[]

"Save A Prayer" (Live) was released as a single from the live album Arena in the United States in February of 1985 (B-5438), backed with the original UK single version of "Save A Prayer". It peaked at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. on 2 February.

The release was accompanied by a new live video, drawn from footage shot in 1984 for the concert film Arena.

A live version of the song was released in 1985. On the live version Simon Le Bon dedicates the song to Marvin Gaye, who had been fatally shot the day before the concert was recorded in April 1984.

Track listing[]

7": EMI / EMI 5327 (UK)

  1. "Save A Prayer" (Single Version) - 5:25
  2. "Hold Back the Rain" (7" Remix) - 3:58

12": EMI / 12 EMI 5327 (UK)

  1. "Save A Prayer" (Single Version) - 5:25
  2. "Hold Back the Rain" (12" Remix) - 7:05

Other appearances[]


Box sets:




Duran Duran are:

Also credited:


You saw me standing by the wall,
Corner of a main street
And the lights are flashing on your window sill
All alone ain't much fun,
So you're looking for the thrill
And you know just what it takes and where to go

  Don't say a prayer for me now,
  Save it 'til the morning after
  No, don't say a prayer for me now,
  Save it 'til the morning after..

Feel the breeze deep on the inside,
Look you down into your well (doo doo do-do-do)
If you can, you'll see the world in all his fire (doo doo do-do-do)
Take a chance, like all dreamers can't find another way  (doo doo do-do-do)
You don't have to dream it all, just live a day (doo doo do-do-do)

  Don't say a prayer for me now,
  Save it 'til the morning after
  No, don't say a prayer for me now,
  Save it 'til the morning after..
  Save it 'til the morning after..
  Save it 'til the morning after.. er-err er-err (er-err)

Pretty looking road,
I try to hold the rising floods that fill my skin (doo doo do-do-do)
Don't ask me why - I'll keep my promise, melt the ice (doo doo do-do-do)
And you wanted to dance so I asked you to dance, 
But fear is in your soul (doo doo do-do-do)
Some people call it a one night stand,
But we can call it paradise (doo doo do-do-do)

Don't say a prayer for me now,
Save it 'til the morning after
No, don't say a prayer for me now,
Save it 'til the morning after...
Save it 'til the morning after...
Save it 'til the morning after...
Save it 'til the morning after...
Save it 'til the morning after! er-err er-err (er-err)
Do-do do-do-do
Do-do-doo, do-do-doo do du..

Save a prayer 'til the morning after.. 
Save a prayer 'til the morning after..
Save a prayer 'til the morning after..
Save a prayer 'til the morning after....!

See also[]


Simon Le BonNick RhodesJohn TaylorRoger Taylor
Andy TaylorWarren CuccurulloSterling Campbell

Duran DuranRioSeven and the Ragged TigerArenaNotoriousBig ThingLibertyDuran Duran (The Wedding Album)Thank YouMedazzalandPop TrashAstronautRed Carpet MassacreAll You Need Is NowPaper GodsFuture PastDanse Macabre


CarnivalDecade: Greatest HitsGreatestNight Versions: The Essential Duran DuranStrange BehaviourSingles Box Set 1981-1985Singles Box Set 1986-1995From Mediterranea With Love


"Planet Earth" • "Careless Memories" • "Girls on Film" • "My Own Way" • "Hungry Like the Wolf" • "Save a Prayer" • "Rio"• "Is There Something I Should Know?" • "Union of the Snake" • "New Moon on Monday" • "The Reflex" • "The Wild Boys" • "A View to a Kill" • "Notorious" • "Skin Trade" • "Meet El Presidente" • "I Don't Want Your Love" • "All She Wants Is" • "Do You Believe in Shame?" • "Burning the Ground" • "Violence of Summer (Love's Taking Over)" • "Serious" • "Ordinary World" • "Come Undone" • "Too Much Information" • "Perfect Day" • "White Lines" • "Out of My Mind" • "Electric Barbarella" • "Someone Else Not Me" • "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise" • "What Happens Tomorrow" • "Nice" • "Falling Down • "All You Need Is Now • "Girl Panic! • "Leave A Light On • "Pressure Off" • "Five Years" • "Invisible" • "More Joy" • "Anniversary" • "Tonight United" • "Give It All Up " • "Danse Macabre" • "Black Moonlight"

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