Cleopatra Records take us back to the beginnings of Duran Duran with the release of the ‘Girls on Film’ demo EP, which features rare recordings but no Simon Le Bon.
The ‘Girls on Film 1979 Demo’ EP (available now via Cleopatra Records) features rare, previously unreleased debut recordings – including the original version of ‘Girls On Film’ and other songs that the band took to various labels before they signed to EMI, who released their eponymous debut album in 1981. ‘Girls on Film’ was released in July that year, becoming a Top 10 breakthrough in the UK Singles Chart and peaking at Number 5.
These demos by the 80s icons feature the group’s early frontman Andy Wickett (a.k.a. Fane), alongside Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor and were recorded at Bob Lamb’s studio (home of the band UB40) in Moseley, Birmingham.
Andy Taylor has noted in his autobiography that Andy Wickett played a major part in the writing of ‘Girls on Film’, although the inspiration for the lyrics was not the raunchy images of models as portrayed in the video for the song but on the lives of the stars of old black and white movies. “It is important for people to understand the true origins of the song ‘Girls on Film’ and to hear the edgy sound that Duran Duran had in the beginning,” says Wickett. “This song was inspired by the dark side of the glitz and glamour, where these perfect idols suffered tragedy and addiction. The film ‘Sunset Boulevard’ was also a big influence with its tale of a fading movie star.”
For any fans attached to Simon Le Bon’s vocals – myself included – Wickett’s style is similar and that, along with the now familiar shimmering synths and punchy riffs, is the highlight of these tracks that clearly demonstrate the evolution of the band. It’s not hard to imagine how ‘See Me Repeat Me’ became ‘Rio’.
Duran Duran fans will adore this insight into their beloved band’s early work, but anyone fond of 80s new wave will find something of interest in this little piece of pop history.