Notorious (Duran Duran album)

Notorious (Duran Duran album)
Studio album by Duran Duran
Released 18 November 1986 (1986-11-18)
27 September 2010 (2010-09-27) (Boxset)
Recorded 1985/1986
Genre Rock, funk rock, new wave, dance-rock[1]
Length 46:56
Label Capitol/EMI
Producer Duran Duran, Nile Rodgers
Duran Duran chronology
Big Thing
Singles from Notorious
  1. "Notorious"
    Released: 20 October 1986
  2. "Skin Trade"
    Released: February, 1987
  3. "Meet El Presidente"
    Released: April, 1987

Notorious is the fourth studio album by Duran Duran. Released in November 1986, it peaked at #16 in the UK and #12 in the US. The singles "Notorious" and "Skin Trade" demonstrated a Duran Duran reaching for funk, heavy on bass and brass. The gap between previous efforts and the new one, however (one year removed from "A View To A Kill" and the Arcadia/Power Station projects, two years from Arena, three from Seven and the Ragged Tiger), was hard to handle for the greater part of the fan base, since the album left the well-worn path of the successful euro-dance-pop of earlier days. Many fans felt that the album seemed to lack the sparkle of the band's peak era (roughly 1982 to 1985).

In 2010, EMI released a raft of material surrounding the Notorious reissue consisting of a three disc boxset, a digital only EP, and a digital only live album. The boxset also includes remixes, live tracks and the Working for the Skin Trade live video (for the first time on DVD).[citation needed]


Personnel difficulties

The making of Notorious during 1986 was a difficult time for Duran Duran. The band had planned for a much-needed break after the success of their 1984 world tour, but all of the band members had ended up working on one of two side projects—the hard-rock collective Power Station in early 1985, and the atmospheric Arcadia project in late '85/early '86. When it came time to record the new Duran Duran album, they found that drummer Roger Taylor was too exhausted to continue in the music business, while guitarist Andy Taylor had developed a taste for the spotlight, as well as for a harder, more guitar-heavy sound than the rest of Duran Duran was prepared to pursue.

During this period, the band also began to act as their own management, having dismissed brothers Paul and Michael Berrow who had shepherded them through their first five years. Arrangements for the forthcoming "Strange Behaviour" tour which kicked off in March 1987, as well as the tensions with Taylor, are recounted in the documentary Three To Get Ready.

The band gradually coaxed Andy Taylor back from Los Angeles to the UK in order to begin playing on the album, but personal and creative disputes continued and much of the communication was carried on by lawyers, until Taylor finally withdrew from the band. It is rumoured that Andy went so far as to try and stop the band from continuing with using the Duran Duran name; since that time the band ensured that the name is wholly owned by co-founding member Nick Rhodes.

During this time, Andy began jamming with members of Los Angeles pop band Missing Persons who were in the midst of breaking up. Missing Persons guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, noting that Taylor didn't intend to return to Duran Duran, offered his services to them instead. They hired him as a sessions and tour guitarist; he would later become a full member of the band in 1989.

The remaining three original band members, Rhodes, LeBon and John Taylor continued working on the new album with Cuccurullo and producer Nile Rodgers (himself a guitarist from his days in Chic) providing the remaining guitar work. Incidentally, with material from three guitarists, the band has since found it difficult to tell what guitarist ended up playing on what finished track. Sessions drummer Steve Ferrone took Roger Taylor's place behind the drum kit.

Side-project influences

In light of everything the band had experienced since the release of Seven and the Ragged Tiger, one[who?] might say that the development of Notorious' sound was an obvious direction, especially because the band's last two hit singles "The Wild Boys" and the James Bond theme "A View to a Kill" were much "heavier" in style but were nevertheless worldwide smash hits. "The Wild Boys" was also produced by Nile Rodgers, who had been a spectator during his long-time production partner Bernard Edwards' work on the brass-heavy Power Station album, as well.

Some[who?] would argue that with three years between the release of Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Notorious, it would be foolish not to try and progress the sound, given that the band now had the added experience garnered from their work with Arcadia and Power Station, and the many gifted musicians they had encountered (Edwards, Robert Palmer, David Gilmour, etc.).

For a large part of 1986, Arcadia was still very much on the radar for Le Bon and Rhodes as the final single from So Red The Rose, "The Flame" was released in July. The video featured a cameo by John Taylor coming out of a closet with a contract to sign. Fans have debated whether this was a thinly veiled dig at the situation with Andy Taylor at the time.

The final Arcadia release, "Say The Word", from the Playing for Keeps soundtrack was released in late September, a mere month before the release of the "Notorious" single.

In years to come, the band would refer to Notorious as their Alfred Hitchcock-inspired album. This is due to having a number of tracks titled after Hitchcock movies. In addition to the album and lead single named for the movie Notorious, there was also Vertigo and Rope, the original title for "Hold Me".

Andy's Participation

According to interviews, Andy was involved in a lot of sessions, and because of this, the guitar work on a few tracks is provided by Andy. Although no one[weasel words] remembers which songs feature Andy, there is a track on, in which Andy plays guitar and sings vocals for "A Matter of Feeling."

It is said[by whom?] that the relationship between Andy and the band had deteriorated to the point where he had to be threatened with legal action in order to get him back into the studio, but that the resulting sessions were so unpleasant for all involved that the band finally released him from any obligations to record.

According to an interview with Warren Cuccurullo back in 2004, Andy also played on "American Science" the first guitar solo being Taylor's, the second Cuccurullo's.

It was also rumoured[by whom?] that Andy played on the album's closing track "Proposition"


The album's first single "Notorious" did very well in the US peaking at #2 and on their homeground reaching #7. It was the first single to be released with a second, remix 12" single, led off by a remix by The Latin Rascals.

"Skin Trade" was a Bowie-flavoured track notable for Simon singing in a Prince-like falsetto, as well as featuring The Borneo Horns quite heavily, culminating in a very un-Duran Duran sound. John Taylor has since been quoted as saying that his disillusion with the charts began when "Skin Trade" peaked at #22.

"Skin Trade" had its sleeve banned in several countries, as it featured an airbrushed naked female buttock. In the UK and US, the single was released in a plain pinky red sleeve with the Notorious-era Duran wording along the top. In certain markets, like Canada and France, the bare buttock sleeve was used.

To commemorate the band's 1987 tour, several promo-only remixes were commissioned for "Skin Trade", including the "Parisian Mix" and the "S.O.S. Dub". These were initially released on a US-only promo 12" single with mixes of "Meet El Presidente" on the flip-side.

"Meet El Presidente", released to coincide with the tour in April 1987 reached #24 in the charts. It was their first single to be released on CD (catalogue number CD TOUR 1). The CD single featured all the tracks from the 12". In the US, the single was released under the title "The Presidential Suite".

To drum up further interest in the album, a collection of otherwise unavailable remixes was released on a double promo 12" pack called Master Mixes in the US and Hong Kong. Rumour has it the remixes were commissioned for a possible fourth single (either "Vertigo " or "American Science"), but this release was shelved as the singles for "Skin Trade" and "Meet El Presidente" didn't do so well in the charts.

All in all, this new funkier sound was not the Duran Duran the less committed fans wanted to hear, not to mention the critics which were anything but friendly to the band from the beginning.[citation needed]

Track listing

  • All Songs Written By John Taylor, Nick Rhodes & Simon LeBon (Copyright Control/Tritec Music, Ltd.)

1986 Original Album

No. Title Length
1. "Notorious"   4:18
2. "American Science"   4:43
3. "Skin Trade"   5:57
4. "A Matter of Feeling"   5:56
5. "Hold Me"   4:31
6. "Vertigo (Do the Demolition)"   4:44
7. "So Misled"   4:04
8. "Meet El Presidente"   4:19
9. "Winter Marches On"   3:25
10. "Proposition"   4:57

2010 Re-issue

No. Title Length
1. "Notorious"   4:18
2. "American Science"   4:42
3. "Skin Trade"   5:56
4. "A Matter of Feeling"   5:57
5. "Hold Me"   4:32
6. "Vertigo (Do the Demolition)"   4:43
7. "So Misled"   4:03
8. "Meet El Presidente"   4:20
9. "Winter Marches On"   3:25
10. "Proposition"   5:02
Single versions and B side
No. Title Length
11. "We Need You"   2:54
12. "Notorious (45 mix)"   4:01
13. "Skin Trade (radio cut)"   4:28
14. "Meet El Presidente (7″ remix)"   3:38
CD2: Mixes
No. Title Length
1. "Notorious (extended mix)"   5:18
2. "Meet El Presidente (Presidential Suite mix)"   7:15
3. "Skin Trade (Parisian mix)"   8:08
4. "American Science (Chemical reaction mix)"   7:45
5. "Vertigo (Do The Demolition) (Mantronix mix)"   6:34
6. "Skin Trade (Stretch mix)"   7:44
7. "Notoriousaurus Rex"   8:19
Duran Goes Dutch E.P.
No. Title Length
8. "Notorious (live)"   4:15
9. "Vertigo (Do The Demolition) (live)"   5:28
10. "New Religion (live)"   5:50
11. "American Science (live)"   5:00
12. "Hungry Like The Wolf (live)"   5:07
DVD: Working For The Skin Trade
No. Title Length
1. "Intro"    
2. "A View To A Kill"    
3. "Notorious"    
4. "New Religion"    
5. "Vertigo (Do the Demolition)"    
6. "The Chauffeur"    
7. "Save A Prayer"    
8. "Skin Trade"    
9. "Hungry Like The Wolf"    
10. "Wild Boys"    
11. "Credits"    
The Videos
No. Title Length
12. "Notorious"    
13. "Skin Trade"    
14. "Meet El Presidente"    
Top of the Pops
No. Title Length
15. "Notorious (6/11/86)"    

2010 Digital Only releases

Digital Only EP
No. Title Length
1. "Skin Trade (S.O.S dub)"   7:16
2. "Meet El Presidente (Meet El Beat)"   5:30
3. "American Science (Meltdown dub)"   7:33
4. "Vertigo (Do The Demolition) (B-boy mix)"   6:07

2010 download only live album: Live at The Beacon Theater, New York City, August 31st, 1987

  1. "Introduction/A View To A Kill"
  2. "Notorious"
  3. "American Science"
  4. "Union Of The Snake"
  5. "Vertigo (Do The Demolition)"
  6. "New Religion"
  7. "Meet El Presidente"
  8. "Election Day"
  9. "Some Like It Hot"
  10. "The Chauffeur"
  11. "Skin Trade"
  12. "Hold Me (incorporating Dance To The Music)"
  13. "Is There Something I Should Know"
  14. "Hungry Like The Wolf"


  1. "Notorious" (Oct 1986) #7 UK, #2 US
  2. "Skin Trade" (Feb 1987) #22 UK, #39 US
  3. "Meet El Presidente" (Apr 1987) #24 UK, #70 US


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars link

Duran Duran

Additional Musicians



  1. ^ "Notorious" on All Music Guide. Retrieved on August 13, 2009

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