The recent CL blog on bonus tracks on albums highlighted songs less known to the general public. An even greater rarity are the Duran demos / outtakes. Usually these are confined to us die-hards who seek out the obscure, desperate for a lost wonder, the One that would have Made The Difference. I am no stranger to this desperation and addiction, but it remains a marginal activity for most Duran-lovers.
There are, though, times when lesser-spotted Duran songs are directly in the face of a wider audience – at showtime. Most obscure are those songs tried out live ahead of a general release. Perhaps most famously this was Union Of The Snake at Villa Park, 1983. More commonly this relates to tracks from Pop Trash and Astronaut which were widely trailed ahead of the album release in live shows. But mixed in with these are songs that are not on any album.
So Cherry Lipstick presents to you the 4 That Never Made It – the songs played live and yet have never had an official release.
All statistics taken from the ever-great Setlist.fm site
1. My Family aka Family
Played 3 times in 1989, lastly on 28 June 1989.
This one’s familiar to many from the Liberty demos CD ‘Didn’t Anybody Tell You’ – the title of which comes from this track. It’s a funky thing in the Notorious-vein and most obviously influenced by Prince. At this point we play the That’s Definitely Better Than Read My Lips game – and you’d be right. It’s a solid track which sounds like the band are having fun and moving in a new grown up direction. But Mr Duran knows best and it was the rock-thing that got voted in instead.
2. PL YOU
Played 9 times on the spring ’95 US tour promoting Thank You. Last played 24 June 1995.
Duran played a short 13-venue ‘Radio Station Festival’ tour in ‘95. They played a short set of covers, originals and this one. [Weirdly they only played the lead single Perfect Day once, and Rebel Rebel 9 times and that wasn’t even on the album.]
PL YOU is a punky little number in the style of the re-vamped Hungry Like The Wolf and the afore-mentioned Rebel Rebel. Where My Family echoes Chic, this one is all Sex Pistols. For a more modern contextual example we should look to Blur. Duran here show themselves ahead of the Britpop curve and, quite-frankly, smash it. Britpop looked to the 60s and 70s for its UK inspiration. Duran ’95 proved that they were a match for all of that with their 70s covers and 80s reloads. But this punchiness was not shown on Thank You itself which drowned itself in ill-advised artists and suffocating production. Even their own Duran-cover was the wrong one in the wrong style. So PL YOU offers yet another variation of the road not travelled.
3. Money On Your Side
Played once, on 31 August 2000.
This is a strange one. I’d love to know if it’s correct. Money On Your Side is, of course, from the 1989-90 Liberty demos, and yet here it is played on the Pop Trash tour. It’s in a similar style to My Family, but not as good. It’s always hard from a demo to appreciate a track, but a police siren is never a good sound. Perhaps there are hints of an embryonic Sin Of The City in there somewhere. What the good people of House Of Blues, West Hollywood made of it is another matter. At least they got A View To A Kill after it.
4. Beautiful Colours
Played 40 times between 8 November 2003 and 19 August 2004.
This is a well-known and well-loved track. It’s been fully available as a demo and compares favourably to several tracks on Astronaut. It’s got simple, enjoyable lyrics which are not demanding, telling us how “we’re out of the same stuff” which suggests it was cut from the same cloth as What Happens Tomorrow (“it’ll be alright in the end”). Duran certainly gave this song a good go but felt that it wasn’t up to the standard they wanted – the album was released less than 2 months after it was last played live. Only 5 Astronaut tracks have been played live more often.
For the record, Virus was played 14 times, all in 2003 – but it made the Astronaut CD in Japan as a bonus track. So it doesn’t count!