Duran Duran: Notorious and Big Thing

duranduranDuran Duran
Notorious and Big Thing
(Capital)

Since they formed in the late 1970s in Birmingham, England, Duran Duran has been a fixture in pop rock music. Sure they’ve had line-up changes and a few lackluster albums, but overall Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, and Roger Taylor still remain highly influential. As of late, thanks to Capitol/EMI Records, the band has had a revival with the label rereleasing limited remastered special editions of their back catalog.

It all started earlier this year with their first three releases – Duran Duran, Rio, and Seven and the Ragged Tiger – and now Capitol/EMI has continued the series with their latest releases – Notorious and Big Thing.

Original released in November 1986, Notorious wass the fourth album by Duran Duran. Behind the singles “Notorious” and “Skin Trade,” the album hit No. 12 on the American charts. Starying from their Euro-dance-popsound that made them superstars, the band – implemented elements of jazz/funk horns and big bass lines which wasn’t originally well received, but seems to hold up quite well on this deluxe edition.

During the time of recording Notorious Duran Duran went through major line up change with drummer Roger Taylor left the band due to the physical and mental strain of their non stop tour schedule. The biggest blow came when guitarist Andy Taylor wanted to persue a guitar-heavy sound in a solo career after obtaining celebrity status in Power Station.

Bringing session players to fill the void left by departing members, Duran Duran followed up Notorious with 1988s Big Thing, which fell a bit in the charts only cresting at No. 24.

With their sound evolving, the band tried to keep up with the musical trends of the day – which included an influx of dance-pop grooves. Being a new wave synth-pop band, Duran Duran had their work cut out for them when recording Big Thing. The end result was a couple of minor hit singles with “I Don’t Want Your Love,”and“All She Wants Is.”

Despite what the critics would call house music – after all they did bring in several DJs to add alternate mixes – Duran Duran still added their signature lush arrangements and Le Bon’s classic vocals.

With the expanded limited special editions of the band’s fourth and fifth albums, Notorious and Big Thing, fans will see the true progression of Duran Duran. These two albums may have not received the credit they deserved at the time they were released because the music-buying public wasn’t as diverse as it is today. These aren’t “classic” duran Duran albums, but they do stand the test of time and actually fit better now than when first released. Plus the packaging is fantastic with the remastered versions, remixes, live tracks, videos and a digital download offering for a free extra disc of live material.

So pull out the acid-wash pleated jeans, pup the collar on the Izod and strap on the Swatch watch, it’s time to get notorious.