After the urgency of their debut, "Rio" was a little more polished yet still urgent. The album could easily have spawned six or seven singles. Amazing to think that the first single pulled from it was "My Own Way" which was rerecorded for its inclusion on "Rio" in a style quite different from the glitterball gallop of the single version which is a thrilling combination of Chic and latter period Roxy Music.
Thankfully, the original 7"single and night version of "My Own Way" have been restored to their rightful place on "Rio" as part of the second disc in the collection.
The sensual and muscular "Hungry Like The Wolf" was the song that set Duran Duran sailing into the stratosphere. The percolating, Jupiter 8 synth sequences, female moans, slap bass, Simmons drums, and Andy Taylor's chunky guitar riffs occupying the space between disco funk and rock power chords was a heady mix and an instant hit. It rocketed to #5 on the UK singles chart. It followed suit in the US where it peaked at #3.
What stands out most to me now, as it did back then, is that "Hungry Like Wolf", as well as its entire attendant album, sounds authentic and original. Stripped of its teen appeal of the time, it's an art rock album which stands head and shoulders high with some of the best work of the artists that inspired them like David Bowie, Japan and Roxy Music.
At one point, it was impossible to listen to "The Chauffeur" without recalling its brilliant video which was the height of Helmut Newton inspired, 80s, romantic, art house chic.
As previously mentioned, the US album mixes, which were handled by David Kershenbaum, have never appeared on CD. Those mixes, the concept of which was to garner more significant radio airplay across America, featured Simon's vocals pushed more prominently to the front, punched up drum sounds, very few overdubs, and and a sonic sheen that smoothed out the slightly raw edges of the original UK masters.
It has taken a very long time to get properly reissued albums from Duran Duran. Better late than never, I suppose. Thankfully, Nick Rhodes is now overseeing deluxified editions of their debut, self-titled longplayer, "Seven And The Ragged Tiger", "Notorious" and the woefully overlooked masterpiece that is "So Red The Rose" by the Le Bon/Rhodes/Taylor spin off project, Arcadia.