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The Wild Boys
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single by Duran Duran
B-side "(I'm Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement" (Live 1984)
Released 26 October 1984 (UK)
3 November 1984 (US)
Recorded July 1984
Maison Rouge Studios, London
Format 7", 12"
Genre New wave, dance-rock
Length 4:14 (Single Version)
8:00 (Extended Mix)
Label Capitol, EMI
Writer(s) Duran Duran
Producer(s) Duran Duran
Nile Rodgers
Duran Duran

"The Wild Boys" is the twelfth single by Duran Duran, released from the album Arena by Capitol-EMI in October 1984.

About the song[]

The song was recorded at the end of July 1984 at Maison Rouge studios in London, and is the only studio track on the live album Arena.

It reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart, the American Billboard Hot 100, and the Canadian CHUM Chart, and reached #1 on the German charts. It was the band's biggest charting single in Australia, reaching #3.

The idea for the song came from longtime Duran Duran video director Russell Mulcahy, who wanted to make a full-length feature film based on the surreal and sexual 1971 novel The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead by William S. Burroughs. He suggested that the band might create a modern soundtrack for the film in the same way that Queen would later provide a rock soundtrack for Mulcahy's 1986 movie Highlander. Singer Simon Le Bon began writing some lyrics based on Mulcahy's quick synopsis of the book, and the band created a harsh-sounding instrumental backdrop for them.

The single was issued with six separate collectible covers in the UK - one featuring each individual band member and one of the band collectively.

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

Duran Duran weren't afraid to occasionally add a hard rocking edge to their danceable sound. The ultimate example of this tendency was "Wild Boys," a bombastic 1984 hit that welded wailing guitars to some startlingly explosive electronic effects. The lyrics of the song are steeped in warlike imagery ("reckless and so hungered, on the razor's edge you trail/because there's murder by the roadside") as they paint a portrait of brave young men who refuse to bow to the pressures of a "sore afraid new world." The music backs these sentiments up with a sense of steely grandeur, building from ominous verses into a soaring chorus that tempers its rousing feel with plenty of dark shadings. Duran Duran's recording of "Wild Boys" found the group teaming with dance music legend Nile Rodgers to create a song that balanced dance and rock elements in equal measure: Andy Taylor's fiery, snarling guitar riffs and dense synthesizer textures set a gritty, rocking tone but the deep, throbbing backdrop of drum machines and electronic percussion adds a danceable edge. The end result was surprisingly dark and edgy, sounding more like goth rock outfit the Sisters of Mercy than previous Duran Duran hits.

"The Wild Boys" was named Best British Video at the 1985 BRIT Awards.

Music video[]

The video for "The Wild Boys" was directed by Russell Mulcahy. The cost totalled over one million dollars, a staggering sum for music videos at the time, as his design filled one entire end of the "007 Stage" at Pinewood Studios with a metal pyramid and a windmill over a deep enclosed pool, and called for a lifelike robotic face, dozens of elaborate costumes, prosthetics, and makeup effects, and then-cutting-edge computer graphics. The choreography of dance routines, including intricate stunts and fire effects added to the cost, was undertaken by Arlene Phillips. Mulcahy intended for the video to be a teaser for his full-length Burroughs film, demonstrating his vision to the movie studios he was wooing, but that project never came to fruition.

The video featured all of the band members imprisoned and in peril, wearing uncharacteristically rough and ragged outfits similar to the pieced-together clothing of the film Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. John Taylor was strapped to the roof of a Mercedes-Benz car suffering a psycho-torture with pics of his childhood and early past, Nick Rhodes was caged with a pile of computer equipment, Roger Taylor was put in a hot-air balloon that was dangling from the ceiling, leaving him high off the ground, and Andy Taylor was bound (guitar and all) to a ship's figurehead. Singer Simon Le Bon, strapped to the spinning windmill which dunked his head beneath the water with each revolution, supposedly found himself in real difficulty when the windmill stopped with his head underwater. He was given a tube to breathe through and the issue was promptly fixed, but the British tabloids had a field day exaggerating Le Bon's "near death experience". Le Bon himself has dismissed this story in more than one interview as an "urban myth", claiming nothing of the sort happened.


The video contains some references towards the bands feelings at that time, who were close to breaking up. They famously toured the globe for three years unbroken without a day off - which is represented by Simon chained to the wheel, worried that he might lose his voice. Touring on aeroplanes, aloft on a balloon of success is represented by Roger. Being bundled into cars, and chained to tour schedules was represented by John. Being chained to computers and constantly editing songs is represented by Nick. Andy sees himself as the figurehead of the band, chained to the melodies, being battered by waves of fans.

According to Simon, the lyric "You've got sirens for a welcome" refers to police escorts, which greeted them as they landed. "Blood stain for your pain" is about the constant blisters on Andy and Johns fingers. "Telephone been ringing" is about the constant pressure of phone calls, "While you're dancing in the rain" probably refers to a concert at which it was raining. "Lovers war with arrows over secrets they could tell" is probably about the bickering that was going on internally at that time.

B-sides, bonus tracks and remixes[]

The B-side, "(I'm Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement" (Live 1984), was recorded at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Canada on 5 March 1984. This is the same concert where the video for "The Reflex" was filmed.

To promote the release of the compilation album Greatest in 1998, EMI commissioned a number of remixes, including two mixes of "The Wild Boys" that were released only on promotional discs:

Covers, samples, & media references[]

Cover versions of "The Wild Boys" have been recorded by Robyn Loau/Ronin System, the German bands Atrocity and Touch Down, and the Danish metal band Mnemic.

A sample of the phrase "Boys" (along with the "Girls" from "Girls on Film") was used as part of the "Girls! Boys!" chorus on the band's 1989 megamix single "Burning the Ground".

The song has long been used as entrance music by mixed martial arts fighter "Mirko Filipović".

Chart positions[]

"The Wild Boys" peaked at #2 on the UK Singles Chart, the American Billboard Hot 100, and the Canadian CHUM Chart, and reached #1 on the German charts.

Track listing[]

7": EMI DURAN 3 (UK)

  1. "The Wild Boys" (45) - 4:16
  2. "(I'm Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement" (Live 1984) - 4:08
  • Also released in sleeves featuring individual band members (DURANC3)

12": EMI 12 DURAN 3 (UK)

  1. "The Wild Boys" (Wilder Than The Wild Boys - Extended Mix) - 8:00
  2. "The Wild Boys" (45) - 4:16
  3. "(I'm Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement" (Live 1984) - 4:08

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

  1. "The Wild Boys" (45) - 4:16
  2. "(I'm Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement" (Live 1984) - 4:08
  3. "The Wild Boys" (Wilder Than The Wild Boys - Extended Mix) - 8:00

Other appearances[]

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



Duran Duran are:

Also credited:


The wild boys are calling on their way back from the fire
In August moon's surrender to a dust cloud on the rise
Wild boys fallen far from glory
Reckless and so hungered
On the razor's edge you trail
Because there's murder by the roadside in a sore afraid new world

They tried to break us
Looks like they'll try again

Wild boys never lose it
Wild boys never chose this way
Wild boys never close your eyes
Wild boys always...... shine

You've got sirens for a welcome, there's bloodstain for your pain
And your telephone's been ringing while you're dancing in the rain
Wild boys wonder where is glory
Where is all you angels?
Now the figureheads have fell
And lovers war with arrows over secrets they could tell

They tried to tame you
Looks like they'll try again

Wild boys never lose it
Wild boys never chose this way
Wild boys never close your eyes
Wild boys always...... shine

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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