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The Reflex
45 the reflex uk duran 2 poster sleeve duran duran band discography discogs.jpg
single by Duran Duran
B-side "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" (Live)
"New Religion" (Live)
Released 16 April 1984 (Worldwide)
21 April 1984 (US)
Recorded 1983
Format 7", 12", CD
Genre New wave, synthpop
Length 5:29 (Album Version)
4:25 (Single Version)
Label Capitol, EMI
Writer(s) Duran Duran
Producer(s) Duran Duran
Ian Little
Alex Sadkin
Duran Duran

"The Reflex" is the eleventh single by Duran Duran, and their most successful, reaching #1 in both the United Kingdom and the United States and #4 in Australia.

It was the third and last to be taken from their third album Seven and the Ragged Tiger, released internationally by Capitol-EMI in April 1984.

About the song[]

The song's lyrics are puzzling to most listeners. Lead vocalist Simon Le Bon said he has no clue what the song means.

The remixes for both the 7" and 12" singles were done by Nile Rodgers, of Chic fame. It was his first work with the band, and he would later go on to produce "The Wild Boys" single as well as the album Notorious (1986) and several tracks on Astronaut (2004).

Producer Ian Little recalls the sound Nick Rhodes came up with on his Roland Jupiter-8 keyboard: "...whenever I hear that steel-drum part it always brings a smile to my face because it's so out of tune. Steel drums always are, but it was exactly right in terms of rhythm and tone. So a wood-block sound was mixed in to make it even more percussive and, Bob's your uncle, it did the job.

Music video[]

The video for "The Reflex" was shot during The Sing Blue Silver Tour at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario on 5 March 1984. Director Russell Mulcahy filmed some of the closeup footage in the indoor arena that afternoon, and the rest was filmed live during that evening's concert.

"The Reflex" is primarily a concert video, accurately portraying Duran Duran's Sing Blue Silver tour performance style (perhaps with a little more hair spray and a little less sweat than usual). However, in keeping with the band's insistence that their videos "never be ordinary", the video screen above the stage displayed bits of naked models wearing collars and chains illuminated with black light, occasionally interrupted by computerized video white noise. At one point, a waterfall appears to pour out of the video screen above the stage to soak the audience. The computer graphics used to achieve this were cutting edge at the time, but rapid advancement in the field quickly made the effect look dated.

Mulcahy found it challenging to edit the video to match the jumpy fast-and-slow edits in the Nile Rodgers remix of the single. For the instrumental break in the middle of the song, he had to do some video "scratching" with Simon Le Bon's silhouette.

Keyboard enthusiasts have taken special note of the Fairlight CMI (the first digital sampling synthesiser) that Nick Rhodes operated with a light pen in this video, and throughout the tour.

B-sides, bonus tracks and remixes[]

The live B-side "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" is a cover of a Cockney Rebel song, recorded on 16 November 1982 at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, with lead Rebel Steve Harley joining the band onstage.

A second live B-side, "New Religion", was recorded on 7 February 1984 at The Forum in Los Angeles. This is not the same live version that appears on the Arena album.

Covers, samples, & media references[]

Cover versions have been recorded by Less than Jake and the duo of Kylie Minogue and Ben Lee. This version was released on The Songs of Duran Duran UnDone.

The song has also been featured in the soundtracks for the movies American Wedding (2003) and Corky Romano (2001), as well as an episode of the 2002 television series That '80's Show in which bassist John Taylor made a guest appearance.

The song was referenced by Dave Chappelle in one of his skits that aired on The Lost Episodes.

The song was featured in the 2440th episode of the British soap Coronation Street from 20th August 1984.

Chart positions[]

In its heavily remixed form, "The Reflex" was the band's second single to reach number one the UK singles chart, after "Is There Something I Should Know?" in 1983, and it would be their last #1 song there. It was preceded at number one by "Hello" by Lionel Richie and followed by "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!

The song was also the band's first single to hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 (for two weeks) on 23 June 1984. It was preceded at number one by "Time after Time" by Cyndi Lauper, and followed by "When Doves Cry" by Prince.

Track listing[]

"The Reflex" was the second Duran Duran single to feature a vanity catalogue number in the UK, DURAN 2.

7": EMI DURAN 2 (UK)

  1. "The Reflex" (7" Version) - 4:20
  2. "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" (Live) - 4:54

12": EMI 12 DURAN 2 (UK)

  1. "The Reflex" (Dance Mix) - 6:35
  2. "The Reflex" (7" Version) - 4:20
  3. "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" (Live) - 4:54

7": Capitol B-5345 (US)

  1. "The Reflex" (The Dance Mix - Edited) - 4:25
  2. "New Religion" (Live in L.A.) - 4:52

CD: Part of the "Singles Box Set 1981-1985"

  1. "The Reflex" (7" Version) - 4:20
  2. "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" (Live) - 4:54
  3. "The Reflex" (Dance Mix) - 6:35


  • The Dance Mix - Edited and 7" version are the same mixes.

Other appearances[]

Apart from the single, "The Reflex" has also appeared on:




Duran Duran are:

Also credited:


You've gone too far this time
But I'm dancing on the valentine
I tell you somebody's fooling around
With my chances on the danger line
I'll cross that bridge when I find it
Another day to make my stand
High time is no time for deciding
If I should find a helping hand


So why don't you use it?
Try not to bruise it
Buy time don't lose it
The reflex is an only child he's waiting in the park
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isn't that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark

I'm on a ride and I want to get off
But they won't slow down the roundabout
I sold the Renoir and the TV set
Don't want to be around when this gets out


Oh the reflex what a game he's hiding all the cards
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isn't that bizarre
Evey little thing the reflex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark

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 Past


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 " • " Laughing Boy

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