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Thank You: by the original artists

Cherry Lipstick's review of Thank You used as its starting point a consideration of the original songs of how well Duran managed to cover them. Now you can consider the originals for yourself, with commentary from the band, plus one bonus at the bottom.


White Lines

Simon: Me and John were sitting in a limo going to Los Angeles airport and we stopped off at a record shop and bought something called Rap Classics. When "White Lines" came on, we said, "Whoah, yeah." I never had a drug problem but I view the whole drug industry as evil. There's so much horror and suffering in it. Cocaine equals death, don't do it: that's the message in the song, and it has to be said again and again and again. (1995)

Nick: It's one of those important songs. It's a remarkable lyric, that rings even truer today than at the beginning of the 1980s. The message was probably truer for us as a band in the early 1980s. I think we needed to listen to it then, but not now. We've managed to sidestep that issue, (1995)

Nick: I stand by Thank You to this day. I’m really happy we did it. Of course, it’s easier to view from a distance and say, “Eh, that one could’ve been a bit better,” but there were a few things on there, like White Lines which, I think really holds up as an interesting take on that song. Perfect Day, I think was good on the album, too. (2015)

I Wanna Take You Higher

Nick: I wanted to do a Sly and the Family Stone song, because I've been a fan of them for years. They really were top of the pile for a while and then just totally frazzled out. You see footage of them doing "Take You Higher" at Woodstock and it was such an amazing vibe. We're as sensitive as anybody else about a great song. The last thing you want to do is go and murder it (1995)

Nick: I discovered 'Fresh' by Sly and Family Stone relatively late. I liked funk, and disco was an earlier discovery for me when I was in my late teens. But, around 1985, I found Sly And The Family Stone. I was about 23 at the time and – wow – was that a discovery, not knowing that that particular album was out there before then. I played it from morning until night before we were doing the Notorious album, which was very influenced by Fresh. For me, it is the greatest funk album (2013).

Perfect Day

Simon: That was something Nick and I had talked about for years. When I was recording it, I kept getting this image in my head of Lou Reed on the cover of the Transformer album and I couldn't help doing an imitation of Lou's vocal style, because I'd sat around and stared at that album cover from the ages of 14 to 17. So I had to invent a new picture in my head and a new story. I imagined I was singing it to my daughter Amber, and suddenly the song became mine. It's such a beautiful song, it doesn't have to be about heroin. (1995)

NR: It's very me, that song. It symbolises everything I grew up with in the Seventies. I bought Transformer when I was 12 and that album stuck with me. I play it now and it still sounds great. I love Lou's irony, and there's a lot of irony in our band. You could sell shares in it. (1995)

Lou Reed: The best cover by anyone of one of my songs (1995)

Watching The Detectives

Simon: It's one of my favourites on our album. It's so uncompromising. I was never really a fan of Elvis Costello, but I respect him. (1995)

Nick: We were looking for a punk song to cover because the punk thing, out of everything, had the most influence on us, mainly because it made us realise it was possible that you didn't have to be a musical virtuoso to get up on stage. That's what motivated us to say yes, even though we don't know how to play these instruments, we're going to do it. (1995)

John: Roger played on Watching the Detectives and Perfect Day. It was ... interesting. He actually learned a lot I think. He played on some other songs but they got wiped. I had to explain to him, "well, when you left the dynamics of the group changed enormously." Everybody became a drummer, everybody's a computer programmer and the way we approached writing changed when Roger left. The best aspect for me was what he did on the Perfect Day video. I watched him on the monitor filming a close-up. And I felt really sad. We just realized that it'd been 10 years since. I remember thinking, '10 years? what have I done in 10 years. What have YOU done is 10 years?'

Lay Lady Lay

Simon: I've always loved that song. It's the easiest Bob Dylan song to play on the guitar. I learnt it as a teenager. I used to make up my own words to it. (1995)

Nick: We were talking about doing an Alice Cooper song. And then I said to Simon, "Bob Dylan". He's not someone we're particular fans of, but he does have a broad catalogue. I always liked Bryan Ferry's version of "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall". I like "Lay Lady Lay". It's nice that it's such a simple song . . . He's a funny one, Bob Dylan.(1995)

911 Is A Joke

Simon: We keep getting asked why we chose this song and what do we know about the black urban experience? Well, I don't think you have to be standing in shit to know what it smells like. Our use of the song is quite a powerful statement. The artist Ren Magritte said that criticism is more powerful if it comes from within. That's why he always used to wear a suit. (1995)

Nick: This was John's choice, totally John's choice. When he first said it, I couldn't imagine how we were going to do it. But it was so incongruous that it worked. There's irony for you, us doing that song. But it's really just a simple protest song. It doesn't matter who sings it, quite frankly. We knew we were setting ourselves up for press harassment and aggravation but we like that. We're real martyrs. (1995)

Nick: I remember when I first heard Fear Of A Black Planet it was, again, one of those moments when you thought ‘this is something’. It was still at the relatively early stages of rap, but Chuck D was really onto something. The sound of the tracks – the rhythm units they were using with those tiny percussion sounds – was unlike anything I’d heard... We got an enormous amount of flak for covering 911 Is A Joke. Middle class white boys covering Public Enemy – what were they thinking? I can tell you the irony wasn’t lost on us. In fact, Flavor Flav loved our version, which was a huge thrill. (2013)

John Taylor: The press savaged us. I didn't listen to the album for five years after we made it. (2003)


Simon: It's a funny song, just taking the piss out of being a pop star. You can't take yourself too seriously. It's not a very useful job you're doing, not like baking bread or building houses. (1995)

Nick: We all wanted to do an Iggy song. If there's one performer that we can universally say we love in Duran Duran, it's Iggy. He's this song - making fun of the thing that everyone tries to achieve. (1995)

Crystal Ship

Simon: I've always had a special relationship with Jim Morrison. He's responsible for "Hungry Like the Wolf" - he was the Lizard King, the animal spirit god. That idea meant a lot to me and I tried to get it into my music. While we were standing there wearing Anthony Price suits and lip gloss, there was this writhing, scaly thing inside us. That image thing was just a decoy. You just had to package yourself in a way that people were prepared to accept. (1995)

Nick: Simon's choice. All rock singers are obsessed with Jim Morrison. Simon's no exception.(1995)

Ball of Confusion

Simon: We ripped the song to shreds and put it back together again. I'm not entirely happy with it. But it's got a brilliant line in it: "Great googamooga, can you hear me talking to ya?" That's God. (1995)

Nick: That was my choice. We had to do a Temptations song - could have done the whole catalogue, actually. I knew we could make this song entirely different. I wanted to make it very groovy, but industrially violent. (1995)

Thank You

Simon: I love this song. It's about spending your life with someone. It's innocent and straightforward, and Yasmin [Le Bon's wife] is in my head as I sing it. (1995)

Nick: It's amazing to me that we've ended up with a Led Zep song on the album. It's ironic because at school John and I were on one side of the fence and the Led Zeppelin fans were on the other. We were totally into glam rock. But I was blown away when I heard this song. I'm really pleased we did it. (1995)

John: I didn't really know the song so it was a new experience for me (1995)

Warren: No one really grooved like Led Zeppelin (1995)


the original of Cherry Lipstick's favourite Duran Cover 'Make Me Smile (Come UP And See Me)'


All Simon and Nick 1995 quotes from The Independent 9 April, 1995

White Lines

2015: Nick, September 28, 2016 Stereo Gum

I Wanna Take You Higher

Perfect Day

1995: John, Backstage Rider

1995: Lou Reed

911 is a Joke

2013: Nick, Quietus 15 April 2013

Thank You

1995: Warren, John, You Tube

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