Duran Duran – Save a Prayer

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Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

Save a Prayer was the sixth single released by Duran Duran, making its way to the airwaves on August 9, 1982. At the time, it was the most successful Duran Duran single in the band’s brief history. Backed by an eerie synth riff that is also insanely memorable, it also serves as my favorite Duran Duran song. It appears on the band’s 2nd album, Rio. Simon Le Bon’s vocals lend a weight to the proceedings that make the listener feel a sense of spiritual yearning, though the song is mostly about a 1 night stand. For me, this is where the band began to transcend their association with the New Romantic movement of the early 80’s. Lyrically, it captures the yin and yang of wanting to let go without any worries and facing the realization that “no strings” usually is an imaginary theory. “And you wanted to dance so I asked you to dance / But fear is in your soul / Some people call it a one night stand / But we can call it paradise / Don’t say a prayer for me now / Save it ’til the morning after”. The video helped solidify Duran Duran even further with the MTV crowd. It was filmed in Sri Lanka in April 1982 and lends itself to the song’s mystique. The song hit #2 on the UK charts and was not released as an official single in the US until early 1985, when it reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. Notably, Eagles of Death Metal covered the song in 2015 on their album Zipper Down and performed the song live with Duran Duran in the fall of 2015. Ultimately, the song serves as the best entry point into the vast discography of Duran Duran.

Queen – Another One Bites the Dust

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Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

Some childhood memories will stay with us forever – some fade away, gone with the passage of time. One memory that will always stay with me is that of my Dad playing Queen records on his dusty record player. As a kid, I had no idea that Queen had been around for a while or that their early 80’s records marked a departure from their 70’s signature hard rock sound. All I knew is that Another One Bites the Dust was one of the best songs I’d ever heard to that point and I could listen to it over and over. Actually, that still rings true 30 years later. Released in 1980, it found Queen embracing slight disco elements. An absolute killer bass line, it was directly inspired by the song Good Times by disco icons Chic. Queen bassist John Deacon wrote the song and collaborated with the other band members to get the song to the completed track that we know today. In the early 80’s Christian evangelists accused the song of having backward messages that promoted the use of marijuana, which the band has steadfastly denied. Michael Jackson (yes THAT Michael Jackson) suggested that Queen release the tune as a single, which proved to be sound advice – the song was a #1 smash success and the band’s highest selling single, at 7 million copies. Freddie Mercury’s vocal performance is one for the ages, while most of the instrumentation on the studio track was actually provided by John Deacon (though Brian May and Roger Taylor did assist). One of my favorite opening couplets in recorded history, it is hard not to sing along “Oh! Let’s go! / Steve walks warily down the street / With the brim pulled way down low / Ain’t no sound but the sound of his feet / Machine guns ready to go”