Once again, we have early ‘80s sensations Duran Duran with their second and perhaps most successful album of all, “Rio”. With three massive hits and a much stronger overall production and collection of songs, the band really took a major step forward with this second album. Thriving with their visual presentation and investment of time and energy in music videos, Duran Duran became one of the most successful and significant acts of this era, riding the wave of momentum from these first two albums.
The album opens with the title track, and once again, we have some really phenomenal bass work. In Duran Duran, that role is performed by John Taylor, and he lays down a great line that drives the pace of this entire song. With an upbeat tempo, strong vocals from Simon Le Bon, and a flashy video as the dapper band catamarans across the high seas, the New Wave movement was in top gear with this record. The next song, “My Own Way”, was actually the first single released from the album. It wasn’t nearly as successful as the next three released singles, but it is a strong track that has a similar quality.
Honestly, almost every one of these songs sound like they could have been the hit singles from the album. I particularly like “Hold Back the Rain”, “Last Chance on the Stairway”, and the last song, “The Chauffeur”. With all of that said, the other two major hits are both iconic tracks for the band. “Hungry Like The Wolf” added the carnal energy that followed this band everywhere, and “Save a Prayer” proved they could sing at almost any style, speed, and pace, and make great music.
When they first hit the scene, I was slow to embrace Duran Duran as I was not an early adopter of the New Wave sound. I remember performing in air guitar contests as Jimi Hendrix while the vastly younger crowd (aka one year younger) took on Duran Duran. Although it took me a few years, I really do genuinely love this band and their influence on the music of the 1980s, and although I would have denied it 100 percent at the time, I was no doubt envious of both their talent and their best-of-breed style and appearance.