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Duran Duran’s ‘Thank You’ covers album, 25 years on. Is it really that bad?

The ill-fated covers album is 25 years old today

Duran Duran fans could really enjoy 1993 and 1994. We walked around with self-satisfied smiles as non-fans grudgingly said things like “fair play, ‘Ordinary World’ is a pretty good song”. Just to prove it wasn’t a one-off, ‘Come Undone’ was another significant hit (particularly in America). Yes! Duran Duran were successful again; no longer just an ‘eighties’ band. While it would probably be a stretch to say it was ‘cool’ to like DD at this point in time (as Suede, Blur were putting in the ground work for what would become the Britpop era), it wasn’t something shameful that you had to hide –  put it that way. Then in 1995 they released the covers album Thank You

First things first. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with recording a covers album, lots of artists do them, but the timing was bad. Duran Duran had just reminded the world that they could be fairly good, when they put their mind to it. Such was the lack of impact of 1990 flop album Liberty there wasn’t so much as a footprint left on the snowy landscape of pop to remind people it had happened. This would work in their favour. If you are going to ‘come back’ you need to have been away for a while and to the lay person it felt like at least four or five years since Duran Duran had released anything (not true of course).

Anyway, the band had enjoyed big hit singles, a proper hit album (The Wedding Album), one that actually hung around for a bit and climbed back into the top 10 when ‘Come Undone’ was released and while the campaign fizzled out earlier than expected (the third and final single ‘Too Much Information’ stalled at number 35), the general feeling was of a job well done. All they had to do was not lose momentum…

Let’s be honest, covers albums are generally a bit of a self-indulgence. For artists that don’t write their own material (TV soap stars, etc.) they make sense, but for an established act it rather shouts ‘the creative tank is empty’. “We have no songs, the label is demanding a new record, I’ve got an idea…” It really is the last thing Duran Duran should have been contemplating; they needed to get back into the studio and return with some more great songs, build on the good work and exploit the new younger fanbase that had come on board in 1992 and 1993.

The other problem with Thank You is that the plan wasn’t to sneak it out as an indulgence and quickly move on. No, there was going to be a big promotional campaign, singles, videos, a tour. If you are going to shine a spotlight that bright on something you better be sure it’s going to connect with your fans or at least garner some critical acclaim. Thank You ended up doing neither. In the space of a few short years, Duran Duran went from being acclaimed as under appreciated purveyors of classic pop tunes, to a bit of a joke. Such was the fallout with EMI, the label refused to release the next album in the UK (1997’s Medazzaland) making Thank You the final studio album after 14 years together.

But let’s put all of the above to one side and take a close listen to Thank You. Is it really that bad? Here’s SDE’s track-by-track guide:

White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)

The Melle Mel classic opens the album and it’s really not a great start. The production is horrible and apart from ‘I Wanna Take You Higher Again’ which ends this album, they can’t blame anyone else since the whole thing is self-produced. Warren Cuccurullo is a great guitarist, but left to his own devices he goes into LA rawk mode very easily, and that’s what he does here. The backing vocals are provided by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five who pointlessly shout things like “Come On! Say Rock!” during the chorus. Simon Le Bon is in ‘shouty’ vocal mode and it’s hard to find anything endearing about it at all. Truly awful, but somehow chosen as the second single and even more bemusing, it’s still a regular in DD’s set lists to this day.


I Wanna Take You Higher

Tony Thompson drums on this cover of the Sly & The Family Stone classic, which is one good thing about it, and there is quite a nice semi-funky breakdown around the 2.40 mark, but other than that it’s just rocky bombast once more and the sound, the style and the attitude is just so far from what Duran Duran are about, it’s ridiculous. The female spoken word bit just adds to the cringe-factor.


Perfect Day

This cover of the Lou Reed‘s Perfect Day was the first single and is one of the more palatable outings on Thank You. Le Bon’s vocals sound good and are well produced. It’s light and dreamy take on the song. Notably, original drummer Roger Taylor plays on this track which reached number 28 in the UK charts.


Watching The Detectives 

I’ve actually always really liked this version of Elvis Costello‘s Watching The Detectives. It’s quite a creative and well-produced arrangement, with its dubby leanings and crucially, it does sound like Duran Duran. Simon does a decent job of the vocal and the catchy guitar riff in the chorus is satisfying. There’s loads of nice touches, like the piano figure after “but he can’t be wounded ’cause he’s got no heart” line. The ending is great as well, when the harmonica comes in.


Lay Lady Lay

The beginning of this sounds just like ‘Come Undone’, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s a strange choice of Bob Dylan song to cover. I’ve never been a massive fan of the original version of ‘Lay Lady Lay’ so a somewhat innocuous cover by Duran doesn’t provide cause to revise that opinion. Paul McCartney‘s longtime drummer Abe Laborial Jr plays on this (and ‘I Wanna Take You Higher Again’).


911 Is A Joke

Yes, Duran Duran covering Public Enemy is a bit silly, but I actual like this. The acoustic guitar sounds good and what the hell, it introduces Public Enemy (and the message) to a wider audience. The mistake DD made was not putting the superior ‘Alternate Version’ of this track from the Perfect Day CD single on the album. It’s a much better.


Success

Terry Bozzio, Warren’s bandmate from Missing Persons, drums on this Iggy Pop cover. It’s raucous, the drums are very loud and it really does connect at all. Pointless, really.


Crystal Ship

With ‘Success’ out of the way, thankfully we’re back to something that sounds good. The timbre of Simon’s voice works excellently on this Doors cover and unlike elsewhere on this record the arrangement has some restraint and isn’t overblown.


Ball of Confusion

The restraint doesn’t last though and this version of The Temptations‘ ‘Ball of Confusion’ is another loud, annoying misstep. As a Duran Duran fan I really don’t want to listen to this, so who else is going to want to?


Thank You

The first song to be issued from these sessions, this Led Zeppelin cover appeared (in demo form) on the soundtrack to the forgotten 1994 film With Honors. Not bad.


Drive By

Amusingly the band include one of their own songs on the album. Drive By is actually Rio’s ‘The Chauffeur’ in disguise and is one long big extended build up and then a very satisfying conclusion. One of the highlights of Thank You which rather proves the whole covers thing hasn’t really worked.


I Wanna Take You Higher Again

One presumes there were internal arguments about which version of ‘I Wanna Take You Higher’ to include on Thank You – the ‘rocky one’ or the more synth-pop dance version? “Oh sod, it let’s put them both on there!” This version is a million times better than track two and the fact they couldn’t see this at the time illustrates the bad decision making that led to releasing this album in the first place! This is the only recording on the album co-produced with John Jones, who worked with the band on The Wedding Album.


Bonus tracks:

The Needle And The Damage Done

This was a bonus track on the ‘Perfect Day’ single. A rather sweet and accurate cover of the Neil Young‘s famous song from Harvest. Simon handles the vocal well and this is much better than many things on the album.


Diamond Dogs

On CD 2 of the Japanese edition. Quite an interesting version of the title track of David Bowie‘s 1974 album. Fairly experimental and they don’t rock out as much as they do on some of the other tracks. Again, curious that they ultimately omitted this from the final selection.


Summary

If you are being generous I’d say only about half of Thank You is any good. It’s saddled down by workmanlike arrangements, big clunky rock outings and Simon Le Bon at his most charmless, vocally. A classic case of the band sounding like their having fun, but what about the audience? Despite that, it has its moments. ‘Watching The Detectives’ is very good, as is the second (‘again’) version of ‘I Wanna Take You Higher’. Despite the sheer ludicrousness of the undertaking, ‘911 Is A Joke’ is much more fun to listen to than the Iggy or the Dylan cover and including ‘Drive By’ showed that Duran Duran could still poke fun at themselves, a little bit.

Nevertheless, despite a top twenty hit in the UK (‘White Lines’, remarkably) the album proved damaging. The band fragmented (John Taylor would soon leave), the band moved from the classic-pop AOR sound of ‘Ordinary World’ to the more abrasive art-pop found on Medazzaland (Electric Barbarella) the mainstream audience disappeared once more. Wilderness years beckoned and it would be the best part of another decade before the general public embraced Duran Duran once more with the reformation and the Astronaut album.

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144 responses to Duran Duran’s ‘Thank You’ covers album, 25 years on. Is it really that bad?

  1. Chris says:

    I thought this album was a horrible misstep and waste of the new found momentum gained after such a stellar statement that was The Wedding Album which for me was more a delivery of two classic singles than what most would consider a good album. The record as a whole is uneven with flashes of brilliance. People forget that Duran Duran’s tour in 93 topped Nirvana’s if you can imagine that. I think Warren is a better guitar player than anyone else that has filled the role in DD but…….his style just didn’t seem to fit my liking. I found something to like in every DD album but those he had significant input on seemed to have way too much of his influence and lost what made DD one of my favorite bands. I grew up in the 80’s and had to hide my appreciation for the band as my “tribe” would not permit it. It was my liking of The Clash, Joy Division and the Pistols that got me access to the tribe and I wasn’t about to ruin it over 5 pin up boys (who were fabulous musicians who recorded two of the finest new wave albums of the 80’s followed up by 3 which were pretty good).
    I did manage to grow up and shed that tribal association, meet a woman who lived and breathed Duran Duran and through her, gained a proper appreciation of the band. They are, IMO one of the finest pop bands to have ever existed and despite a few slip ups have a body of work that any recording artist can be proud of.

    This article gave me cause to go back and listen and I have to say it was much better than I remember. I’m not a fan of covers albums (cover a song here and there? Sure but an album? “Neon Lights” didn’t really help Simple Minds either) so I thought this was a mistake when I learned of it and even though it’s pretty decent, I think this contributed to the downward spiral of the 90’s that only a reunion and shedding of Warren could prevent. The production is not bad, like most I think Perfect Day and Watching the Detectives are fabulous and no real turds for me. I’d like to see a remastering of TWA though as it was pretty slammed as were most albums of that period. Actually liked Pop Trash quite a bit more than Medazzaland but rarely find myself going back to listen to much from the 90’s album wise. I did make a playlist of the era consisting of:

    TMI
    Ordinary World
    Come Undone
    Love Voodoo
    None of the Above
    Shelter
    Sin of the City
    Perfect Day
    Watching the Detectives
    Crystal Ship
    Thank You
    Big Bang Generation
    Electric Barbarella
    Out of My Mind
    Midnight Sun
    Someone Else Not Me
    Lava Lamp
    Playing With Uranium
    Pop Trash Movie
    Mars Meets Venus
    Lady Xanax

  2. DiscoDave2000 says:

    Covers albums can be so hit or miss. I do wish the Pretenders compiled all of their covers and put them out as a collection: Not A Second Time, I’m Not In Love, Thin Line Between Love & Hate, Angel of the Morning, Bold As Love, Stop Your Sobbing, Room Full of Mirrors, Human, Forever Young, Walk Like A Panther, I Go To Sleep and more on tribute albums, soundtracks and b-sides that I don’t own…

  3. Ernie says:

    Just to add a few things relevant:

    1, I seem to remember a band interview at the time that said each Band member chose 3 songs for inclusion on the album. Not sure on further details.

    2, Nick Rhodes did a Twitter fan chat last Friday & he specifically said there was no plans for a SDE of the “Wedding” album but there may be Vinyl at some point. Does anyone know, is it even up to the band? Do Warners own the rights now? Sometimes, the Record company decides to do something with the band not necessarily up for it anyway but the band decides to get on board so the label doesn’t do too much of a botch job. Maybe thats the best we can hope for here. To neglect this album in the manner is surely wrong on every level. There is a captive market for this product, I’m sure they could sell thousands of copies & make huge sums of money. The content is there & we all know what needs to go on it. They have a product people want & are willing to pay for!! What could go wrong?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Warners own the rights but they either need band approval or they simply wouldn’t do it without their approval. They were working on a Wedding Album deluxe about six years ago, but it didn’t happen because there was apparently some disagreement between band and label on how to move forward with it.

      • Ernie says:

        Thanks Paul. What a wasted opportunity this is,. With their 40th anniversary this year this would be the perfect time for this with all the publicity & fan love they will generate. In reality, more people would probably want this than a new album but it’s typical Duran Duran to take forever with everything AND f##k it up in the process.

  4. mike says:

    Nick in the latest Q&A said there were no plans for a SDE of The Wedding Album, tis a shame but thankfully there are 4 CDs of studio quality demos out there. I guess no plans for Liberty either if TWA isnt in the pipeline.

  5. Mark says:

    I recall at the time the band stating that the purpose of the album was to experiment with their sound and that the sound of the album was where they were going. The following album Medazzaland clearly has a similar sound to Thank You. Unfortunately one of the wheels came off the cart and ruined it.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I think Medazzaland has a much more interesting sound to Thank You, personally.

      • Mark R says:

        It’s an interesting album but lacks John Taylor’s presence. Some great songs, but the band were on a downward spiral. The dynamic had shifted and Le Bon wasn’t enjoying it at all.

  6. Albert says:

    Anyone remember Duran’s cover of Bowie’s ‘Fame’?
    John and Andy also did the T-Rex classic ‘Get It On’ with Power Station. The less said about that, the better though.

  7. Mat says:

    Half the songs are decent, but at the time fans wanted new material. Not cover tracks lots of people had never heard of.

    It also launched their obsession with mid tempo ballads as a lead single trying to create an Ordinary World success factor.
    Perfect Day, Out of my mind, Somebody else not me and Falling Down. 4 spaced out albums. Not until Pressure off they regained the pop edge, but lost tons of fans in the mean time.

  8. Andy B says:

    There are some artists who don’t write their own material and so rely on interpreting other peoples songs. So every album they release is a covers album. Fine.

    What frustrates me are those singers or bands who normally write their own material and often release excellent albums but for some reason decide to release a covers album. Some people might call it or brave I just see it as lazy. I can’t think of one such artist whose covers album is better than their own material. I’m looking at you Duran Duran, Simple Minds, etc

    • Phideaux Xavier says:

      and weirdly, one of my favourite albums by Siouxsie and the Banshees is their covers album. I was peeved at the time, but in retrospect, it gets more spins than Tinderbox for me…

  9. Matt says:

    Speaking of cover album’s – I’ve always rather liked Siouxsie & the Banshees ‘through the looking glass’ album. A band that often had a fresh approach to their & others music. They also did my favourite version of ‘Dear Prudence’.

  10. Stuart says:

    If you don’t like one of your favourite bands issuing a covers album, then try being a Simple Minds fan, as they’ve done two (admittedly, one is a bonus disc)

    As much as I loved what they did before and laterally, the Neon Lights album from 2001 is poor at best and genuinely doesn’t sound like the band in any of their guises. Fortunately they followed this up fairly quickly with the credible Cry album and Neon Lights was quickly forgotten. Also at this point, Simple Minds hadn’t had a big hit since 1994 (unlike DD with Ordinary World), so they didn’t really have any momentum to kill, therefore the follow up wiped the slate clean and they built from there again.

    They also issued the ‘Searching for the Lost Boys’ album in 2009 as an addendum to the excellent Graffiti Soul album. This is much better than Neon Lights, albeit the production is a bit muddy; a far better choice of guitar based tracks which suit Simple Minds style better.

  11. -SG- says:

    On a slightly different note, it is good to see John Taylor survived Covid-19.

  12. Wayne says:

    Never been a fan of DD, and that album looks like a complete car crash.

  13. Louis says:

    I have never been a fan of DD. Just I liked few songs from their albums. However this album, on that year, liked me. Not all songs, but in general, I liked. Some covers, since my point of view, are good enough. I guess that this was already said a lot of times, but Bob Dylan songs covers likes me much more that the original classic ones.

    Anyway, it’s weird that DD fans abandon them for just one album, and much more if it is a covers album. I think those years were difficult years for DD music style. It was the great Grunge era. There was no nostalgia fashion as we have now (since few years ago).

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      DD fans didn’t abandon them. Their record label and mainstream music fans abandoned them.

    • Joshua McNeal says:

      DD fans didn’t abandon the band, casual listeners did. I’ve always followed, but if I don’t like the product I won’t buy it.

  14. Paul says:

    I agree with you Paul about the idea of a band like DD releasing a covers version, all that renewed interest after the superb Wedding Album, and then to follow it up with Thank You. White Lines was OK in my opinion, Perfect Day only so-so (back in the day, I bought all the DD singles religiously on all formats, and rem the 7″ came with a scratch’n’sniff sleeve), although I do believe Lou Reed said it was the best version of the song he’d ever heard. I also remember DD appeared on The Word in 1995 playing White Lines, and they did an Interview afterwards with Terry Christiensen – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MktzILNcoWA – they talk about Thank You for a min or so from around 7:45 and the fact there was a couple of songs they tried but didn’t work out, one Nick mentions is Jeepster by TRex …

  15. Pete B says:

    I can’t speak about the whole album as I’ve never listened to it. However, I can’t understand anyone who feels that White Lines is anything but dire compared to the original.
    Back in the day, I had the pleasure of winning a pair of Sennheiser headphones in Q Magazine for their letter of the month. Simon Le Bon had been the Q&A artist in the previous issue and was asked “When did you last cry?” and he answered “When I heard what Madonna had done to American Pie”. I wrote in to say I sympathised with Simon as I’d last cried when I heard what Duran Duran had done to White Lines.

  16. I second Dave B’s recommendation of Icehouse’s “The Berlin Tapes”. Standouts for me include “Being Boiled”, “Sister Europe” and “Loving the Alien”. Wonderful.

    I’d also recommend Alison Moyet’s “Voice”.

  17. Anthony Hesseltine says:

    I think the version on “With Honors” is the same as on the main album. I have a different version from the Encomium Led Zeppelin tribute album, which is 2 minutes shorter and acoustic.

    Not their finest moment, but I’ve never really been able to listen to their music in album formats, mainly compilations I make myself. This record sounds like some thing created solely for themselves and a desperate attempt to fill the contract. They should have employed the Sade method and waited seven years for the next release instead of this,

  18. chris says:

    I’d made a previous comment in this thread but neglected to dither on regarding the fact that it’s been 25 years since Thank You was released and yet no special expanded version has been released. What the heck is up with this band?? Granted that there may have been mixed feelings about this album, but still. The twenty-fifth anniversaries for Liberty and the Wedding album have come and gone and not a word from the band about a super deluxe edition for these albums. Yeah, yeah, I know, we’ve all heard about how they want to “look forward and not backwards” when it comes to their music catalogue, but that’s a bit of disservice to their fans and collectors.

  19. AdamW says:

    I’m sorry, but there is no timeline on which the versions on Thank You are better than the originals. These are all titanic tunes in their own right – DD were behind the 8-ball from the start with those choices. Transcending the originals, when the originals were this good, was going to be a very long shot, and none of these made it.

    I tend to find that albums where many artists cover one (or more) artist(s) to go better than one artist covering a bunch of folks. EPs are also good ideas – I dig up Erasure’s Abba-Esque far more often than their Other People’s Songs, and Metallica’s $5.98 EP was a perfect, five-song winner.

    Since it hasn’t been mentioned yet, I’ll give a shout-out to Tori Amos’ Strange Little Girls – great song choices, inventive arrangements.

  20. Wayne Olsen says:

    They just bit off more than they could chew and strayed too far away from their strengths. I think we’re very thankful they didn’t tackle Merle Haggard and Metallica.

    • Michael says:

      Agreed..though DD taking in Merle Haggard or Metallica might have proved more interesting, for better or worse.

  21. Trash says:

    I’ve been a fan since Planet Earth was released and yet I’ve just realised that Thank You is the only Duran album that I don’t own. I thought I had bought it but I realised that I only have the singles in the Singles 1986 – 1995 box.

    I think I thought it was a bit of a stinker at the time and listening to it now on iTunes I can see that my opinion hasn’t changed.
    I agree with the person that said they should have attempted covers that were closer to their roots/influences. Also the covers dont seem to really add anything to the originals, they stick too closely to the originals and therefore can only ever come across as second-rate copies.

    Compare and contrast with Japan’s cover of Marvin Gaye’s Ain’t that Peculiar. Recognisably the same song but a great rearrangement that turns the original on its head.

    For full disclosure I always skip the track Femme Fatale on The Wedding Album so maybe Duran doing covers just isn’t my thing.

    • Trash says:

      P.S. Their cover of ‘Fame’ in the early days was terrible too :-)

      P.P.S. Just reached ‘Success’ on Thank you…. definitely a low point.

  22. Dan T says:

    I have been a huge fan of DD since the 80’s, the 90’s felt like there was no direction, it was all over the place. I stuck with the band and I always eager to see what they would put out next. TY was a misstep for me but I have to say that their versions of Perfect Day, watching the detectives and lay lady lay were far better than the originals… Crystal Ship was a success in my mind. The rest I skipped over as just noise. Still I eagerly awaited for the next album to drop.

  23. Albert says:

    I was always sorry that U2 never did a full covers album. Their takes on Dancing Barefoot, Unchained Melody, Satellite Of Love and All Along The Watchtower were interesting. And their version of Night and Day was magnificent.

    I have to say that they murdered The Love Affair’s ‘Everlasting Love’ though.

    • Chris Squires says:

      They have a very particular take on”Dancing Queen” as well.

    • Wayne Olsen says:

      Oh man I loved their version!

    • chris says:

      Funny, everlasting love is one of my favorite u2 covers… to each their own i guess. I will say their live covers have always been more raw and impressive to me. That said i generally think cover albums are usually a bad idea. Covers make great bsides, one off albums track and are usually a great suprise at a concert.That said, I dont mind some of the DD covers but i think if they pacakaged them differently they may have been better received

      • CJ Feeney says:

        Agree that b sides or songwriter focussed albums are a good place. Esp for U2. I think Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) on the first “Very Special Christmas” album was a great cover at a time they were seen as particularly po-faced in the media.

        Also “Jesus Christ” from the Woody Guthrie/Leadbelly tribute album “Folkways” worked really well alongside covers by Brian Wilson and Springsteen. Both those songs were from the Sun Studio sessions for Rattle and Hum.

  24. Oliver T says:

    I was a young kid when this record came out and my older brother had a copy. When I listened to it I didn’t know that they were other people’s songs, I’d never heard the originals. I liked the songs and even now having heard (and preferred) the originals I still have a soft spot for this album because these were the original versions for me.

  25. Pete says:

    Duran rock. This was for the fans. Not really a money maker

  26. Jarmo Keranen says:

    Just remember it that i bought Andy Taylor’s Dangerous (1990) cd sometime in 90’s, because Metal Hammer magazine praise it when it was released and someone sell it cheap. What a mistake i make. It contains lousy versions of songs by Thin Lizzy, Rod Stewart, Bad Company, Kinks, Montrose, Rolling Stones, Wilson Pickett, Mott The Hoople, J.J. Cale and AC/DC. It is anything but dangerous!

  27. Cor Banpak says:

    Its a great record. I like all the songs. They did a great Job.

  28. Simon says:

    Counterfeit EP by Martin Gore of Depeche Mode is a really good covers LP.

    This is horrendous.

  29. Dre says:

    Ty is a decent album! PD, TY, WL, and lay lady lay as well as Crystal Ship all better than the original. What did everyone expect? It’s just covers that went Gold in the USA. Not bad..

    Fame is also another great song by the Fab 5

    https://youtu.be/W75BJauz8oo

  30. John twins says:

    Well. Simon isn’t a great singer. Nick isn’t the best keyboardist you can find. Warren is so eclective to play in a pop band. John is not the best bass player at the moment. But all together they made very very great songs, very great arrangements in their carrear. So thank you in something so stupid to do in 1995 that just a matter of money can justified this strange record. I love duran duran since 1981, maybe this was a lost step.

  31. Josh says:

    I was disappointed to say the least. I bought the Wedding Album in 1993, first non Andy/Roger album I had purchased. I was excited they were getting play and respect, then this garbage. DD fans listened to them for the fun, that is what they were originally about. Somehow that was lost. After Live-Aid I think deep down they were more and more concerned about the critics than their fans. I don’t like rap, I don’t care to hear my favorite band try it. So much other, better material out there.

    I am a fair weather old school Duran Duran fan. I have worn out various versions of the early 80s albums. I never bought Notorious, partly because I was 14 in 1986, and I didn’t like the rift between Andy and the others. I did buy American Anthem soundtrack, and Thunder, also Powerstation and Arcadia. (I bought Almost all in 1988 when I had a job, I did borrow the albums from my older sister). In 1993 I was finally sold on them, I even liked the unplugged music, and then this crap. The next 2 albums I still haven’t even bothered to listen to all songs.

    I fell out of my chair when they got the original 5 together, and I loved Astronaut, plus the other leaked Material, but then again, they decided to boot Andy again and did RCM with Timberlake and Timbaland and lost me again. AYNIN was ok, Paper Gods meh, they really worked best with Andy providing some antagonistic input.

    Now, I think I just don’t care anymore about new stuff.

  32. John says:

    Shawn Colvin’s Cover Girl is a great covers album. Covering tracks by The Police, Tom Waits, Talking Heads and Bob Dylan among many others. Her cover of Steve Earle’s Someday is especially good.

  33. -SG- says:

    The story I’d heard was the project was conceived after Liberty when they were in an all time low, they presented the rough mixes of some of these songs and the concept was rejected with Led Zeppelin’s Thank You being the only song deemed releasable at the time. Facing a rejected covers album they regrouped and recorded the wedding album, some ideas from the sessions creeping into the wedding album, like Femme Fatale and the idea of the cool guitar intro to lay lady lay repurposed for come undone. After their refound commercual viability, there was demand for a quick followup and no new songs. The recordings were revisited tarted up and rerecorded and a few more done…. and presto a new album and tour for the newly awakened fanbase. The concept was old when it hit the shelves and was evident in that the tour for this record used different cover songs like Rebel Rebel and more 90’s reworkings of bigger hits. There were enough good songs here to have made a good ep and some b-sides but as a whole album a bit much. With Annie Lennox and Bryan Ferry doing similar cover albums at the time, it seemed the creative torch from the 80’s was being passed.

  34. Phalkon says:

    This was a weird album for me..I’m a younger DD fan (35 now), but once I got hooked, I soaked up as much as I could. I started making music in my late teens and still play in a band. When I read about this album, I saw all the artists they were covering and thought to myself “this was released a couple of years after Wedding Album??? This HAS to be awesome”.

    I will admit, most of the album was a let down (especially compared to the (underrated) concept album Medazzaland a couple years later), but I did particularly enjoy “Watching The Detectives”, Lay Lady Lay”, and “The Crystal Ship” (I was also listening to The Doors quite a bit at this time, and did a cover myself at the time)..

    For the most part, I will agree with this write up though. DD could’ve done so much more with the momentum from Wedding Album… instead John Taylor left and recorded Feelings R Good (and other lies…) which was a GREAT album with material that would’ve sounded amazing as Duran Duran.

  35. David says:

    This is paywalled as a “Premium” story, but maybe someone out there has access… via The Telegraph: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/artists/no-thank-reviled-covers-album-almost-sank-duran-duran/

  36. David Wishart says:

    Definitely not among my favorite DD albums. My lead up to it included enjoying live versions of White Lines at many shows. It rocked with Warren. Crystal Ship live was nice as an interstitial song. I never found much enthusiasm for Femme Fatale on The Wedding Album. Also enjoyed Thank You (the song) From the With Honors soundtrack, and felt it was a good choice to cover.

    So, when the album came out, i was excited, but disappointed by it. White Lines lacked energy, Take Me Higher was not bad, just flat (and one version is plenty). Perfect Day is very nice. Lay Lady Lay made sense, and I thought 911 is a Joke was cheeky fun. The new version of Thank You was still good, and I liked the b-side Needle and the Damage done. Diamond Dogs is not bad.

    But the song choices seemed too mainstream, and uninspiring. Why not Roxy, Kraftwerk, Eno or YMO? The best cover of Ball of Confusion is by Love & Rockets, so DD’s version didn’t impress. The rest of it was just dull.

    That said, I liked their visual style for album , and appearance. Also liked live “punk” versions of Hungry Like the Wolf, and early hints at what was Tom one with Medazzaland.

    Agree that an EP would have been better, and an earlier release. DD do make some strange decisions, but I expect they were led astray by situational dynamics and record company influences. Still…a stronger band might have kept it together.

  37. Albert says:

    Duran’s version of Make Me Smile was a belter (B Side of The Reflex). But White Lines was bloody awful. Shame they didn’t get Roger and Andy and do a studio version of Harley’s classic for Thank You.

    My favourite covers from the 9os are Happy Mondays with He’s Gonna Step On You Again and Tokoloshe Man.

  38. Jim says:

    An awful album (Detectives and Perfect Day aside) that ushered in a truly awful decade to come. Thank goodness for Mark Ronson.

  39. Larry Davis says:

    I dunno…I kinda LIKE Thank You…don’t hate it at all…best DD album?? Among their better records?? No, not by a long shot…but I find it a fun exercise in covering unexpected songs that they like, no matter the genre…I like bands that do what THEY want, not what the fans want…once a band just pleases the fans first, they lose their footing and backbone…art first, commerce second, always…the best moments come when they do what they want & then, it connects with the fans & sells, but it has to be an art & band creation first…as for covers albums, there are a few good ones…two of my faves…one that is one band covering multiple artists is Def Leppard’s “Yeah!!” (in a way, many would think Duran’s covers choices would echo this)…and the other is the utterly brilliant “If I Were A Carpenter”…multiple 90s modern rock & powerpop bands covering the Carpenters (American Music Club, Shonen Knife, Sonic Youth, Redd Kross, Matthew Sweet, Babes In Toyland, Cracker, Grant Lee Buffalo, etc)…so good & holds up brilliantly…I LIKE the DD album, nowhere near as good as these two BUT it’s still better than the truly awful Led Zeppelin covers album “Encomium”…

  40. Tessa says:

    As a long time D2 fan, I gotta say you missed it with your review. The band did a great job with this cover album. Songs I never much cared for by the original artists, I loved on the D2 Thank You album. Lay Lady Lay is one of my faves! As is Perfect Day. Never cared for Lou Reed’s vocals, but Simon sure made it a hauntingly beautiful song. Even Reed said Le Bon sang it the way he wished he could have. White Lines! Put em up, y’all. Love it. These guys don’t know how capitalize on momentum, I agree, but they’ve got talent and have always been ahead of the times.

    • Chuck Jones says:

      Extremely well said Tessa!!!
      Duran Duran’s Thank You album was very experimental, quite different from their usual brilliance and it was lots of fun. I still enjoy listening to it very much. Their awesome take on Watching The Detectives is simply stunning, and it’s one of my all time Duran favorites!!!

  41. Jarmo Keranen says:

    When i look at the track list, i’m glad i have never heard this album. The band of second class playing songs of first class. To my ears Duran Duran has made only one song i could listen and it is Ordinary World!

  42. Liam Bastick says:

    It was September 1993. Some mates and I were dragged kicking and screaming to a Duran Duran concert by our respective better halves. My mates thought, where’s the bar whilst the ladies imagined re-living their teeny bopper years.

    Then they played White Lines. And then a few other tracks (can’t remember what now) bordering on the heavy / thrash metal side. The girls were aghast. We were cheering and singing along.

    We talked about this concert for months.

    I remember Simon le Bon once telling a reporter that when they were bored, DD (disguised) would take part in competitions in Birmingham pubs as to who could imitate Duran Duran best. He said they never won! That night, I could see why.

  43. Kauwgompie says:

    There were 3 rather big issues with this album:

    -A covers album is not AT ALL what the fans wanted. I always felt it was a bit of a FU to the fans who wanted DD hits and got a half-ass covers album

    -Which brings us to the next issue with the album. The song choices and arrangements of the covers were just bad. Sorry, why is DD covering rap songs? Not only do fans NOT want that, it sounds ridiculous. I saw DD twice in concert the last 10 yrs. Both times they played White Lines. It’s delusional. And Lay Lady Lay, Success, I Want To Take You Higher and Ball of Confusion? Horrible songs choices.

    -Lastly, fans wanted to hear the DD from Rio. Again, this album did not deliver that. Only ALL YOU NEED IS NOW finally delivered that typical DD sounds with those drum loops, catchy melodies and synth riffs.

    I’m a huge DD fan for the record and agree there are some good songs on here, just like on Liberty but overall it was a huge missed opportunity and a fatal loss of momentum from the Wedding Album.

    • Thank You, was great album tribute and beautiful, maybe is not perfecto, but sure is good musical material.

    • Andre says:

      TY rocks! Some songs better than the original!!
      Thank you! Lay lady lay, White lines_great live track, and Crystal Ship all better than originals..worst cover 911 ..but I give Duran credit..no 2 albums are alike! They keep it fresh unlike U2 and the Cure. Looking forward new album!!!

      This song too is better than the original!!!

      https://youtu.be/W75BJauz8oo

  44. Paul R. says:

    I was never really interested in anything past the Wedding Album before but when you mentioned their own remake of “The Chauffer” called “Drive By”, I had to remember all the way back to their 1993 Tower Records Sunset Blvd show. I’d never understood the monologue at the beginning of the song until I’d heard “Drive By”. I guess it was a preview of what was to come on “Thank You”. The Tower show was something my brother had recorded off of 106.7 KROQ (when they weren’t owned by a horrible company) the night they performed and we listened to it for ages. Around the turn of the century, I had learned that it was floating around as a bootleg. Its easily found on YouTube now. I really wish they would officially release the full show on vinyl / DVD, instead of the short EP we got.

  45. Fogarrach says:

    To Chris squires,
    Great Cover albums by a single artist. And they ARE cover albums.
    1989 by Ryan Adams
    Abbey road by George benson

  46. Wesley says:

    Watching the band constantly shoot themselves in the foot is part and parcel of being a long-term DD fan.

    Thank You is pretty awful, no two ways about it. For me the main problem was the choice of songs. No Bowie, Roxy, Chic, Moroder, Kraftwerk, Eno… all would’ve have made more sense than Public Enemy, Neil Young and Led Zeppelin.

    DD have always had an issue with self-perception; that is to say, what they think they are compared to what they actually are. In their minds they are a contemporary act with a wide range of influences spanning multiple genres. In reality they’re the product of glam, disco and post-punk, and are at their best when they apply these influences to their innate pop sensibility.

    That’s why Astronaut is better than RCM and AYNIN is better than Paper Gods.

    I’m actually quite nervous about the new album!

    • Renee says:

      I wholeheartedly agree, Wesley.
      Perhaps I am just a sucker for these kinds of this but I liked most of the songs, but yea, strange artists to cover except for The Doors, that didn’t surprise me.
      I saw them here in Reykjavik last summer. Where they get all of that energy is amazing to me!

    • Stephen says:

      Spot on Wesley

    • Dave B says:

      I think you’re right, Wesley. Choice of songs is definitely part of the problem. Although Simple Minds chose what anyone familiar with their oeuvre would probably have reasonably imagined (prior to release, anyway) “genre/influence-appropriate” covers (in some cases – Bowie, Kraftwerk, Joy Division, Echo & The Bunnymen) mixed with some less expected artists that (coincidentally?) were also covered by Duran Duran on “Thank You” (The Doors, Neil Young, Lou Reed).

      Doesn’t seem to have made much difference though, does it? Whatever the internal band reasoning, DD and SM both seem to have arrived at the same place anyway – total cockups!

      I guess some artist are just very good at choosing, arranging and performing covers so that the songs sound as if they always totally belonged to/originated with them…and some aren’t. Linda Ronstadt is a prominent case in point, building much of her career on hit singles that were exquisitely chosen covers and making them her own, while Johnny Cash’s “American Recordings” are another prime example of the perfect marriage of artist and cover, many of these late-period works far surpassing the originals (see “Hurt” by NIN).

      I’ve also posted a rave about Icehouse’s covers album “The Berlin Tapes” in this thread, which is yet another example of covers done right…it’s actually the best covers album I’ve heard on so many levels.

    • Dre says:

      I think PG rocks and new album will be great! They have nothing to prove..far better than The Cure and Depeche. Both in RnR hall of Fame duran deserve to be there! 100 million records sold ain’t too shabby!!

  47. Fogarrach says:

    You nailed me. I was one of those non-fans who heard ordinary world and thought, rethought my views on Duran Duran.
    To be fair, my prejudice against Duran Duran started after I watched them on a blue peter special. In one afternoon I should have come up with the concept of auto tune, I certainly experienced the need for it. (Sorry but true. And You probably know the show I refer to )
    Plus they were Tories and made a thing of it. That didn’t help. These were times of unemployment and taking sides.
    Mind you, I liked new moon on Monday right from the start. Does that count as an acceptable apology.

    • Mark R says:

      They were Tories? Nope. Le Bon came from a family of Labour voters and the majority of the the other band members were working class. Just because they had a flash lifestyle, it doesn’t make them tories. They spent five years working their butts off and reaped the rewards. Wouldn’t you? That’s a lazy comment.

  48. mike says:

    I think I Wanna Take You Higher v1 and Ball of Confusion still rock harder than anything Duran ever did before and again. Higher just kicks ass with the piledriver drumming at the fore, Confusion apes Rage Against The Machine with classic Cuccurullo grinding. Perfect Day is really lovely and should have done better in the charts. Overall it’s an album of highs and lows and they really should drop White Lines live, way too overplayed.

  49. Michael says:

    I don’t enjoy every song on this LP but overall I don’t agree with the general world consensus on how awful it is. I love Watching the Detectives. I think it is much more cohesive than Elvis Costello’s version and should have been a single and video. Perfect Day, Success, and Diamond Dogs are all custom made for the DD aesthetic and show them wearing their hearts on the Antony Price clad sleeves. 911 Is A Joke and White Lines are charming & goofy and while lacking the social intellectual bite of the originals are charming in a self-conscious white boy sort of way. I really like their version of Ball of Confusion, albeit not quite as much as the Love & Rockets version. I totally agree with the reviewer’s assessment The Needle & The Damage Done. And Drive By is harmless self referential fun. This is where they should have stopped for me. I Want To Take You Higher, I Want To Take You Higher Again, Crystal Ships, & Lay, Lady, Lay should have been left in or better yet burned in the can. And as for Thank You it should been only used as the LP title. Fame, Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me), and Femme Fetale all are worthy if we need to mine the past for good covers. Matter of fact with digital music that would be my version of Thank You, thank you very much.

  50. Chris Squires says:

    It would seem that most people, having read the remarks below, are not keen on covers albums in general, let alone this particular album.
    I can’t think of a covers album that I enjoy when it is one single artist doing the covers. However I can think of several multi-artist covers albums that are quite good. Usually based around a single unifying artist these, for me anyway, work better.
    I’m Your Fan – The songs of Leonard Cohen is a belter and I’ve been listening to that for over 25 years. I also like “Common Thread” which is an Eagles cover album by 1970s through 1990s country music stars.
    Don’t know why this format appeals to me more, maybe it’s the variety of artists rather than just one artist.
    Of course then you have albums like No Parlez, which to all intents and purposes is a covers album, like Thank You containing one self penned track. I know which one I would prefer to listen to.
    Best DD album, in my mind, was always Big Thing. It should have paved the way for bigger and better instead of weirder and worse.

    • Iain mac says:

      Jennifer Warnes album of Cohen song s Famous Blue Raincoat is a n excellent covers album, including some guest vocals from LC himself, well worth seeking out

    • Dave B says:

      If you’re in need of a bit of faith-restoration in the much-maligned covers album, try this…in an ocean of dross, it stands proudly as an example of how it can be done properly…it’s quite simply unbelievably good. As a massive music-tragic and owner of in excess of one thousand CDs, it’s far and away the best covers album I have ever heard…not that surprising if you know the history of this band, really, because they actually started out as a covers band, doing T Rex, Roxy, Iggy & Bowie.

      “The Berlin Tapes” by Icehouse.

      That’s right. You heard right! I was just as surprised when I first heard it.

      Now, I’m not the biggest fan of this band. I think their first two albums are great, particularly “Primitive Man”, with its pioneering use of the Fairlight, which moved the band (really just Iva Davies at this point) beyond their debut’s T Rex influences and into a genuinely cutting-edge (at the time) sonic palette. The songs are all incredibly strong (particularly the perennial “Great Southern Land”) – enough to really impress David Bowie who invited the band to support him on tour at the time. Apparently he was quite a fan.

      But sadly Icehouse, with each progressive release into the 1980’s, went the way of so many other bands at this time and started chasing the bucks and the Top 40 charts with diminishing creative returns. They ultimately became MOR pop and, like OMD and Simple Minds, etc, etc, moved away from experimenting into new sonic territories and eventually lost most that was once great about them. They joined the heard, blanded-out and lost their audience and their momentum. Watching band after band fall prey to this malaise at this time in the 80’s sucked big time! Icehouse lost their way and lost me…

      Until “Berlin” that is…when I unexpectedly returned to the fold.

      So why is it so good?

      1. Paul mentioned motivation. I agree that many bands probably create cover albums for all the wrong reasons and he outlines some of those. Not the case here. Iva Davies was working with the Sydney Dance Company on their contemporary ballet “Berlin” (to be performed at the Sydney Opera House with Icehouse live on stage). The blend of multi-disciplinary talents became a match made in heaven and was subsequently widely applauded as a critical and commercial success.

      2. Nothing on this album has not been transformed. Iva Davies made these songs his own, rather than falling into the trap of note-perfect, bland, unnecessary covers. He reinterprets and reinvents, but never makes the mistake of letting the original’s strengths disappear, only emboldening them.

      Vocally, this album is freaking amazing. As is song choice. Especially Velvet Underground’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties”. Listen to this first and I suspect you’ll be sufficiently impressed to keep going, but this track is the entry drug. It is one of the only times I have heard a cover crap on (the already classic) original. Truly phenomenal and goose-bump inducing!

      Some of the highlights…

      “Loving The Alien”. Bowie’s highlight from his generally creatively-bankrupt period done beautifully.

      “Let There Be Love”. Simple Minds post-purple-patch hit. Icehouse brought a pre-massive-fame Simple Minds to support them on an early tour of Australia around the time of SM’s “Love Song” in the early 80’s. Iva and the band became great friends and SM later returned the touring favour (Icehouse now in support of SM). Jim Kerr is a big fan of the band and loved the cover.

      “Love Like Blood”. Classic Killing Joke track.

      “Heaven”. Lovely reinterpretation of a Talking Heads favourite.

      There’s covers of Ultravox, PIL, John Lennon…something for everyone! ;)

      If you love this covers album, pick up “Primitive Man”; a great example of Iva Davies genius.

      Enjoy!

      Cheers. End of rant!

  51. AdamW says:

    I bought the single before the album, and I thought their “Needle” was terrific. And then I bought the album, and the problem with it is, it doesn’t sound serious. It seems like they’re in on the joke and it ruins the illusion.

    Plus they could have chosen much more interesting songs to cover. Don’t cover The Doors, cover Roxy Music! Don’t cover Bob Dylan, cover Leonard Cohen! Don’t cover Public Enemy… EVER!

  52. Andy B says:

    As you said Paul, bands only release covers albums as stop gaps or when they’re short on inspiration. I like much of Duran Duran’s output but I just can’t listen to this. Once was enough 25 years ago when my brother bought it.

    • Mikael says:

      Not always true, case in point; Peter Gabriel’s Scratch My Back, which is fantastic.
      Or Bowie’s and Ferry’s cover albums from the 70s, Pin-Ups and These Foolish Things/Another Time are all great.

      Two great tips so far, Angelique Kidjo’s Remain In Light and Icehouse’s Berlin, will check those out tomorrow, sounds superinteresting.

      • Andy B says:

        Not a fan of Peter Gabriel’s Scratch My Back either. He should be releasing new material rather than covers, if anything. I’ve never heard Bowie’s Pin-Ups, just the odd track. I’ve got no great urge to hear it.

        As for Ferry, back in the seventies he mainly released albums of covers parallel to his Roxy Music career. They’re ok but I’ve always preferred the albums that contain his own songs.

        I just don’t see any covers albums as essential.

  53. Stuart S says:

    I honestly can’t remember the last time I played this CD. So long in fact, I hadn’t even remembered that some of the titles listed were even on it!

    Bought CD2 of Perfect Day back then, probably for the Steve Harley cover.

  54. Shaun says:

    I think the intention was to get it out quickly and even have it on sale during the ’93-’94 tour, but DD are incapable of doing anything quickly it seems. We were told to “watch this space” about three years ago regarding Medazzaland getting a vinyl release.

  55. Sandy says:

    Possibly the worst album they made but a few good covers on it. Been a fan since 1980 and looking forward to next album in 2020 and hopefully a tour. My 2 young daughters would love to see them live.

  56. David Cornyn says:

    I suspect your are in full lockdown fever given you even attempted this, Paul! I suggest a reappraisal of the great Fountains of Wayne, given the sad news lately, is more worth your while!

  57. Mark Porter says:

    There’s some ‘misses’ on this album but 911, Needle, Perfect Day, Detectives and White Lines are terrific!

  58. WILLIAM ENGLAND£ says:

    I rather enjoyed it at the time… it’s just a bit of fun and ought to be accepted as that – no more, no less, but it was never going to stand up in the future when everybody is re-assessing artists legacies – coming after ‘the Wedding Album’.
    Oh, and a 500 unit vinyl pressing in a gatefold sleeve and a fold out poster was quite nicely done and unlike some other vinyl albums at the time, eg Pulp’s Different Class which looked as if it were pressed in Jamaica in the early seventies, wasn’t shoddily pressed either.
    Parlophone’s PR department referred to this as “a vanity pressing”.
    £200 these days… i’m not at all surprised.
    Oh, and 911 Is A Joke, is their “worst song ever”.

  59. Leemer says:

    Paul, you have been far too generous.

  60. Seikotsi says:

    Thank you, Crystal Ship, Drive By and 911 a joke are great. Well, 911 can be described more as fun than as ‘great’. They still had to write their best song at that time. lady Xanax from Pop Trash.

  61. martin farnworth says:

    One for the die hards perhaps. As a casual fan of the band and not that much of their later output i would never listen in its entirety. I guess covers albums for the most part are easily avoided. I’m struggling to think of one I own apart from Bowie’s Pinups- which I forget about. I remember the release of this album being delayed. Not so much momentum lost but bludgeoned to death.

  62. Mark R says:

    With the exception on 911 is a joke, I’ve always really liked the album. It was on my Walkman for most of the summer of 95. White Lines has aged horribly however and I wish they’d drop it from their set list.
    Highlights of the album are Watching The Detectives, Lay Lady Lay and Perfect Day. I Want To Take You Higher sounds like they were having fun and Crystal Ship was good. The problem with this album is that it took too long to make (it was scheduled for Summer 94, as was the MTV Unplugged album, which never materialised). As a result it was over produced and seen as a proper release. They should have banged it out as an EP instead. Saying that, Watching The Detectives is stellar in my opinion.

  63. Shawn C. says:

    I’ll weight in and say, “Yes, it really was that bad.” Personally, I think most covers albums are pretty terrible. Even artists I love don’t typically turn in much to write home about on a covers album and some are just plain dreadful. For example, I’m one of the biggest Toto fans around, but Through the Looking Glass is terrible. I love Grant Lee Philips and his former band Grant Lee Buffalo, but Nineteeneighties is a bad album.

    I’m curious -what do others think are some horrible covers albums?

    • davebrad4d says:

      For me, it has to Erasure – Other People’s Songs
      I love erasure, and Vince Clarke has written of the best pop songs ever, I was so disappointed with this album. Little did I know they could get worse with Snow Globe!

      • Shawn C. says:

        Agreed, Other People’s Songs is bad. Although, for some reason, I love their version of Make Me Smile – it’s very fun. Solsbury Hill is also ok.

  64. AndreasL says:

    i think the big issue is Simon simply doesn’t have a great voice. Sure it works on original material but its just not versatile and strong enough to pull off such an ambitious variety of styles (let alone rapping). George Micheal he ain’t . . .
    Other discussions around Duran line-up. To me the ultimate Duran included Warren. Take away his guitar licks/playing from tracks like Come Undone, Ordinary World, None of the Above . . . the whole ‘wedding album’ is largely built around his fresh/unique licks, let alone his contribution to the excellent ‘Big Thing’ album. Certainly revived Duran’s music and took the band to a stage they needed to be to survive both within themselves and as a commercial entity.
    Astronaut is very average, and apart from ‘All You Need is Now’ (cheers Mark), its best very average (I’m being very polite here) since his departure.

  65. Michael says:

    I agree with your full assessment here Paul, though I never really got into the Costello cover. But even the good songs like Crystal Ship or Perfect Day do little more than add a little pop polish to the originals….
    The whole mix is a mess though. There is no concept. The songs go just as poorly together as they would if you threw random tracks onto a mix tape. At least if they had some concept to bring it together, some sort of theme. Mostly they sound like a no name wedding band with a great singer here. Maybe that is the secret theme after the Wedding album. DD as a wedding band.

  66. Steven Roberts says:

    Anyone wanting to hear just how GOOD a ‘covers’ album can be could do a lot worse than to check out ‘Famous Blue Raincoat – The Songs of Leonard Cohen’ by Jennifer Warnes.

    Great songs, arrangements, production and vocals – and the great man himself duets with Ms Warnes on ‘Joan of Arc’.

    Sublime!

  67. MC Miker G says:

    From a band who were always a teensy bit over-indulgent, this was a massive over-indulgence at just the wrong time in their career. (But I daresay they, or the main actors at least, were fairly blase about the continuation of their music careers by this stage…)

  68. Derek says:

    Huge fan of Duran since 1982, but have marvelled at their ability to shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly, this being the most frustrating of the lot.

    It’s a terrible album, and cost them the momentum from TWA. They even destroyed one of their own songs on it!!

    They could have done an EP, and it would have worked – White Lines, Perfect Day, Crystal Ship, Lay lady lady and Needle and the damage done.

    I remember seeing them play White Lines with Grandmaster Flash at Wembley in 1994 and it blew the roof off the place ( a show they apparently filmed but is lost in the vaults).

    Unfortunately by the time the album came out, the wheels were falling off, they’d already been working on Medazzaland ( it was name checked in an early 95 interview) for a while, John was barely in the band and they did a weird US tour to support Thank You at Capitol Records request.

    Worst was to come of course with John leaving, Simon’s writers block, over produced mush of Medazzaland and the correctly named Pop Trash- anyone remember Lava Lamp?

    We’ve had much better since Astronaut, and All you need is now is a late career classic

  69. Ernie says:

    I absolutely love it! They were creative & tried things that weren’t expected of them so at least they’re brave! What did people want from a normal covers album? DD covering ballads all sat on stools performing , a la certain groups bought by Asda Mums? I think the problem came from the time it took & mixing issues. Ken Scott would give a mix to Simon, he would want changes, then to Nick & he would want different changes etc etc. Still, I really enjoy it, I love the production! Perhaps to continue the momentum of success they should have done a MTV unplugged album of that show which was very popular at the time. I have that show & various others of that time & they sounded brilliant with those different arrangements. Give me this over that turd of an album, “Poptrash” That was when they really ran out of ideas.

  70. Charles says:

    I’ve always felt some bands are so unique in both style and delivery that it makes them both impossible to cover and impossible for them to cover others properly. DD falls into this category for me. This is meant as a compliment to them as much as it might help explain why this album didn’t really work.

    • Danny says:

      Yes I’ll second this. The only cover of Duran Duran’s I’ve really liked was “Come up and see me”. They have been far stronger when they stopped trying to be other people and just got on with Duran Duran. That is for me the major flaw with Red Carpet Maasacre as well.

    • Don in Tampa Bay says:

      That is a great assessment. I was always proud of them for coming up with their own material and was definitely a bit disappointed when they did this. I am a die-hard fan though so I got the album and still listen to it. Just listened last week in fact.

  71. Stephen K says:

    If you want to immensely improve this album, rearrange the tracks in chronological order of when the original artists recorded the song. It’ll flow better. There are a few missteps on the album, and they are missteps on the order of falling down a manhole or walking off a cliff. The rest is pleasant enough. And yes, the additional tracks that were on the singles were far better than some things that were included on the album.

    I get that Lou Reed and Velvet Underground were highly influential for “the Duran Duran generation”, but you don’t get a special medal for being the 1,000th band to cover “Perfect Day” or “Femme Fatale”.

    The non-album tracks from The Wedding Album were all really great, certainly better than some of the “experimental” pieces on there (“Shotgun”), and I think there were enough of them for half an album? Too bad Thank You was the follow-up.

    While listening to Liberty is always an exercise in curiosity instead of devotion, my opinion would be much more favorable toward it had “The Violence of Summer” received some decent remixes instead of the 5 or 6 nearly identical and fairly horrible mixes it received.

  72. chris says:

    Yeah, they probably should have just issued an EP instead of a full album, but there you go. Some questionable song choices? Definitely. Interesting to note that quite a few years ago a promo tape of this album surfaced and it contains their cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” which is pretty good. You can have a listen here on youtube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OezAGlgmjw

  73. MarkD says:

    Cover albums are always hit and miss and this is mainly a miss.
    Compare to Elizabeth McQueen and the Firebrands – Happy What We’re Doing which shows how to achieve an excellent covers album.

  74. negative1 says:

    Yes, it reallly is that bad, and probably worse.

    However, I’m still going to buy a copy to have,
    but never play it. Just to be part of a collection.

    later
    -1

  75. Danny says:

    Funnily enough I listened to Thank You a couple of days ago. I count myself as a big fan of Duran Duran (and not just of their classic material) but I still really struggle with this album. Just after it I listened to Red Carpet Massacre and I had a similar reaction. Both have diamonds in the muck, but you really have to work to find them. Is Thank You the worst album I’ve ever heard? No. Will I choose to listen to it again for pleasure any time soon? Erm, also no.

  76. Gisabun says:

    I’m probably one of the least biased here – because I never liked the band.
    So I’d have to say the cover ranks up there as one of the worst album covers.
    What did it take the graphics designer to do this? 5 minutes?

  77. Thorsten says:

    I never really liked this album!
    For me the good songs are:
    White Lines
    Perfect Day
    I Wanna Take You Higher
    I Wanna Take You Higher Again
    Thank You
    Ball of Confusion

    But let‘s face it, they made too many bad/strange
    decisions since 1987. It all started with the release
    of the Skin Trade Single!

    • EW99 says:

      Wow! Funny you should say that… I’m not a Duran fan *at all* but Skin Trade is the only single of theirs I’ve every bought and I still really like it.

    • Don in Tampa Bay says:

      Are you kidding? Skin Trade was interesting especially the version with the longer horn climax. Everyone thought that song was Prince

  78. Thomas says:

    Lay Lady Lay is absolut brillant as original and as a cover from duran duran the best Song on thank you

  79. Dave R says:

    Missing Persons….now there was a band! That full length debut, ‘Spring Session M’, is one if my all time favourite albums. Too bad Terry Bozzio thought he could be a producer when they went in to do the follow up ‘Rhyme & Reason’. It just didn’t have the same edge to it that Ken Scott achieved with the first album.
    Still, they were a terrific live band, as anyone who saw them at their sole UK show at the Lyceum in London would agree. And they were absolutely on fire when they appeared on ‘The Tube’.
    Dale Bozzio….the original Lady Gaga….

    • Murray Robbins says:

      Dave R does not lie….

      I agree about the production comments. Ken Scott was top drawer throughout his career. R&R as Dave says has less audio impact although there is some fantastic material. The third LP Color in your Life is a little weaker but has it’s moments. The original Mental Hopscotch EP is worth finding as well. I don’t know who produced engineered that. Need to check Discogs.

      I was lucky enough to be at both The Lyceum and The Tube recording. Stunning performances. I also saw a free concert at Six Flags (N.J.) on a U.S. trip to see some Zappa shows in 1984. Equally great and Terry had an awesome custom drum kit. Still got the t-shirts but can’t get into them sadly!

      A really great live band with stellar musical chops……,,Lil’ Skinny Terry Ted Bozzio (that cute little drummer), Cuccurullo and O’Hearn all premium graduates of the Zappa university.

      Sadly, later on Dale Bozzio was less professional in looking after her cat menagerie! Never did read the trial transcript. Perhaps she was feeding them out of that fish bowl brassiere?

  80. MIKE SHIRK says:

    yes, it sucks as an album. duran duran hasn’t really made a great album since Big thing. that’s not to say i wouldn’t buy a reissue on vinyl.

    • Leo says:

      You missed out on All You Need is Now?

      Their best since Rio.

      I always liked Thank You. Only 911 is a joke is a miss.

      • Michael says:

        AYNIN is very good but still well below Big Thing for me. I do think it is their best since the 90s easily.

    • Mike D says:

      All you need is now is a great album thanks to getting with the right producer. Mark Ronson brought back their classic sound in a fresh way.

  81. Dirk says:

    I always liked the album, especially “Perfect Day”. A real good cover version.

  82. Joh Berry says:

    Yes.

  83. Val Kaludov says:

    Yes, the album is shit but actually I loved “White Lines” back in the day. It was way better than stuff like Livin’ Joy or Whigfield and all the trashy dance artists which were number 1 in the charts at the time. And DD’s version of “Perfect Day” is slightly better than the charity single released in 1997 with hundred artists singing a line or two :)

  84. gwynogue says:

    DD have a history of odd decisions – Simon thought a straight up concert film would be boring, so they gave us that horrendous ‘Arena’ instead…

  85. Michael McA says:

    Thank You was the first DD album I didn’t buy and now – still – their only album I don’t own. I did buy White Lines however – I think it’s a great version.

    Astronaut was only successful because it reunited the original 5. Medazzaland and Pop Trash – IMO – were far more interesting – as was Red Carpet Massacre.

    A great band – so often far more inventive than they’re credited for – I’ve never understood the snootiness aimed at them – and I always thought Warren Cuccurullo contributed massively to this inventiveness. But for me the star of the band has always been Nick Rhodes. His synths are a joy – I still play the first album regularly.

    Looking forward to the new album (hopefully) out this year.

  86. Steph says:

    Lou Reed said their cover of “Perfect Day” was “the best cover ever done of one of my songs”.
    They did cover “Femme fatale” too, didn’t they?

  87. Steph says:

    Lou Reed said their cover of “Perfect Day” was “the best cover ever done of one of my songs”.
    Didn’t they cover “Femme Fatale” too?

    • Don in Tampa Bay says:

      Yes Femme Fatale was on Wedding. Was another Reed cover that was really well done… Maybe they should have done a covers album of Reed and Velvet

  88. John McCann says:

    Its got Bobby on the cover so it must be fantastic,

  89. Johnathan says:

    I‘ve still got the “Perfect Day” promo CD in my collection, and the jewel case is stickered with this glowing endorsement from no less than Lou Reed himself: “I gave it one listen and realized that this was the best cover version ever completed of one of my songs.” It’s always been the standout on this otherwise underwhelming release. I also picked up the 12” promo of “White Lines” at the time (I believe it’s a double-pack), for reasons I don’t understand today.

  90. Paul says:

    For the problem was that DD were too slow to get it out. A lot of it had already been recorded (they put Femme Fatale on TWA last minute) and it should have been pushed out sooner whilst the TWA tour was ongoing to keep momentum. Then the tour was delayed due to Simon’s vocal injury and they took too long to finish the album. It needed to be out within 18 months of TWA but they blew it in a big way, resorting to a crappy tour of the USA (where they always go to make money) and oblivion.
    It’s a 50/50 record for me. White Lines is fun, Detectives, Lay Lady Lady and Crystal Ship have decent vocals and I agree they Take you Higher Again is ok. The rest is just a mess. I can’t abide 911 is a joke.
    An EP, 5 tracks perhaps, might have been a better bet?
    Of course by this point JT was in the USA and a lot of recording and writing was going on without him.

  91. David says:

    At least they can say Kasabian copied their video idea!!

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