Duran Duran's 10 greatest songs ever, ranked

16 April 2021, 17:33

Duran Duran
Duran Duran. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Duran Duran were arguably the biggest band of the 1980s, known for their infectious synthpop anthems that defined the MTV Generation.

We've picked their 10 very best tracks to make for the perfect Duran Duran beginner's playlist:

  1. The Wild Boys

    This was the only studio track on Duran Duran's live album Arena, and gave them another top 5 hit.

    The idea for the song came from video director Russell Mulcahy, who wanted to make a full-length film based on the surreal 1971 novel The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead by William S Burroughs.

    He suggested that the band might create a modern soundtrack for the film in the same way that Queen would later do the soundtrack for Mulcahy's 1986 film Highlander.

  2. A View To A Kill

    Written by Duran Duran with John Barry for Roger Moore's final outing as James Bond, this gave the group a number one single in the States.

    Duran Duran were chosen to do the song after bassist John Taylor, a lifelong Bond fan, approached producer Cubby Broccoli at a party, and drunkenly asked "When are you going to get someone decent to do one of your theme songs?"

  3. Girls on Film

    This song was originally written and demoed in 1979 by an early line-up of the band featuring singer Andy Wickett. Duran Duran then re-wrote and re-recorded the song in 1981.

    Co-writer Wickett said the song "was inspired by the dark side of the glitz and glamour".

    Its stylish and raunchy video was directed by Godley & Creme of 10cc, and was filmed just weeks before MTV was launched in the US, and before anyone knew what an impact the music channel would have.

  4. Planet Earth

    This was Duran Duran's debut single, and saw them at the forefront of the synthpop and New Romantic revolution.

    In fact, this song was the first to explicitly acknowledge the New Romantic fashion scene, with the line "Like some New Romantic looking for the TV sound".

  5. Is There Something I Should Know?

    This pop anthem was a non-album track, and it finally gave Duran Duran their first UK number one single, in 1983.

  6. Hungry Like the Wolf

    A top five hit in the UK, this track was written and recorded on a Saturday in the spring of 1982, and was built throughout the day as each band member arrived, and by the evening it was complete.

    John Taylor has stated that he (doesn't) "really know" what the lyrics mean, but that the song is probably about "meeting girls" and/or "wanting to have sex with someone".

  7. Rio

    Famous for its yacht-heavy music video, 'Rio' started as an idea by John Taylor about Rio de Janeiro – "the truly foreign, the exotic, a cornucopia of earthly delights, a party that would never stop".

    Simon Le Bon wrote the lyrics to the song, and chose not to write about the city but actually about a girl named Rio.

    The saxophone solo was performed by Andy Hamilton, who has also worked with George Michael and Elton John.

  8. The Reflex

    This gave Duran Duran their second, and surprisingly last, number one single in the UK.

    The band are said to have recorded it over a couple of bottles of wine, with Simon Le Bon admitting that he has no clue what it means.

  9. Ordinary World

    This song gave Duran Duran a much-needed boost of popularity in 1993, after their success had drifted by the end of the '80s.

    The power ballad is the last song of a trilogy written about the death of Simon Le Bon's friend David Miles in 1986. The first was 'Do You Believe In Shame', followed by 'Out of My Mind' and 'Ordinary World'.

  10. Save a Prayer

    Released in 1982, this mellow pop classic reached number two in the UK, their biggest hit at the time.

    Read more: The Story of... 'Save a Prayer'

    The song began with Andy Taylor and Nick Rhodes picking out chords together, before Simon Le Bon wrote the lyrics.

    The song is about a chance meeting between two people, that turns into a one-night stand. Le Bon described it as "realistic, and not romantic".