Have you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.
“The Chauffeur” by Duran Duran
There are plenty of bands and artists out there who, for some reason or another, just don’t seem to get the love, credit, or ink they deserve, whether it’s because of some kind of manufactured or real infamy, too small (or too large) a body of work, cultural and popular perceptions about what said band or artist represents, or just general lack of lasting power. In the case of Duran Duran, it’s as if the band so fully embodies a particular moment in time (the 1980’s), that it becomes hard to hear or place the band outside of that setting or context. And sure, the glossy new wave melodies paired with exotic sounds all swirled together in synthy, warm neons paint a perfect picture of that decade’s excess and polish, one that the band has never really been able to shake, or escape, or have been allowed to veer too far away from, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t write and record some truly magnificent, transcendent material. So we have “The Chauffeur” from 1982’s Rio.
A slow and building synthesizer line begins to hum, and then Simon Le Bon starts to croon, and then piece by piece the rest of the band join the melee, a sleek and sexy slice of pop perfection. The song evokes images of cars, servitude, longing, and touches of regret in a spooky melody that throbs and sways before culminating in a world music infused breakdown of synth beats and pan flute. You can practically feel the air teeming, the sweat running down your skin, the moisture condensing on windows, the tension mounting as our narrator bites his lower lip. This is a haunting track that just pulses sex…and somehow I missed out on it until I was well into my twenties.
I loved Duran Duran when I was little, during their heyday, but was really only familiar with their bigger singles and hits, and never owned any of their albums. Sometime after college, I was driving around Austin, listening to a flashback lunch program on an alternative rock radio station, and they played “The Chauffeur,” and I was mesmerized. At the time, I missed the deejay’s announcement as to what the name of the song was, but it was unmistakably Duran Duran. I became obsessed. I spent the next several days scouring the band’s entire discography, intent on finding the song, on completing my quest for some sonic nirvana. Nothing else mattered. Only Duran Duran.
Eventually I found it, and I have not been able to stop listening since.
“Sing Blue Silver!”
- You may also want to check out the excellent covers of “The Chauffeur” from The Deftones and Warpaint.
From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.