My Top 10 Albums: #5 – Duran Duran – Rio

This post is part of a ten-part series showcasing my top 10 albums. Certain obvious legends (Beatles, Queen, Rolling Stones, etc.) are not in the list, these are albums not everyone knows or picks.

Oh Rio, Rio… This is a near perfect album. Coupled with their VHS release “Duran Duran” which contained videos from their debut release and Rio, Duran Duran was unstoppable as a musical force in the early 80s. They helped set the standard for music video and advance an entire rich sonic landscape of music across the decade and beyond. Inspired by Roxy Music (another band I really love), Duran Duran took the genre to the top and Rio was the crown jewel at the top of the mountain.

They haven’t surpassed this set ever, not without lack of trying. It’s impossible, actually. Rio was the perfect storm of timing, image, video, sound, production and a continuity between the songs that makes for impeccable listening.

From the sweeping title track to the simple and dark tones of “The Chauffeur”, the entire set delivers hit after hit. I prefer the double time version of “My Own Way” (available on 12″ single or in various compilations and box sets – it was also the video version below). “New Religion” is a masterpiece, with interlaced lyrics, sliding together like a large wooden puzzle.

Duran Duran opened the door to more elaborate music videos and raised the bar for the art form in general. I wonder if Rio would have had the same impact without the videos. All four major singles follow, starting with my favorite “My Own Way”.

Track Listing – Original LP[edit]

No.TitleLength
1.Rio5:33
2.My Own Way4:51
3.“Lonely in Your Nightmare”3:50
4.Hungry Like the Wolf3:41
5.“Hold Back the Rain”3:59
Total length:21:14
No.TitleLength
6.“New Religion”5:31
7.“Last Chance on the Stairway”4:21
8.Save a Prayer5:33
9.“The Chauffeur”5:10
Total length:20:35

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