White Label Friday: Duran Duran, “Hold Back the Rain”

Written by Music, Popdose, White Label

whitelabel.gifIf you know me, then you know that I loves me some Duran Duran. Even when they make an album as unlistenable as Liberty, Pop Trash or Red Carpet Massacre — you’d be wise to not get me started on how they let a 25-year-old “producer” positively manhandle them — I will be first in line when their next record drops. I will also be using this space in the near future to pimp my all-time favorite remix, which happens to be of a well-known ballad by the boys from Birmingham. But first, let’s go to the carnival.

When the band turned Rio in to the record company, Capitol knew they had a big hit on their hands. Still, they were not taking any chances; in an attempt to wash away any lingering stench of New Romanticism, the label hired David Kershenbaum to remix various Rio tracks, with the apparent goal of making the band both club darlings and “tough” enough for rock radio. The remix EP, titled Carnival, was not only a hit in the clubs but actually cracked the album charts, and subsequent versions of Rio included Kershenbaum’s remixes in place of the band’s original versions.

Finding those mixes on CD, however, is easier said than done.

You’ll have to hunt down the import CD single for “Rio” to find Kershenbaum’s mix of “My Own Way,” while his mix of “Lonely in Your Nightmare” has inexplicably never been issued on CD. And then there is his fantastic guitar-heavy seven-minute mix of “Hold Back the Rain.” It had gone missing for years, but was finally unearthed for the blink-and-you-missed-it Night Versions: The Essential Duran Duran CD in March 1998, only to be taken out of print six months later.

I didn’t blink.

So here you go, cassette-owning Rio fans. Here is Kershenbaum’s mix of “Hold Back the Rain” (download) in all its glory. According to Wikipedia, the song is about bassist John Taylor’s growing drug problems, though I don’t see a single lyric that would support that. I can see “Lonely in Your Nightmare” being about John and drugs, but not this. And besides, what a downer association that is to make with such a kick-ass song.