June 1984: Duran Duran Hit #1 on the Hot 100 with THE REFLEX

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

It was the year 1984 when Duran Duran conquered America. The band's third studio album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, had come out in November 1983, and was a Stateside hit. The supporting Sing Blue Silver tour landed in North America in late January 1984, followed shortly by the "Fab Five" gracing the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. The first two singles from Seven and the Ragged Tiger rocked the US charts; "Union of the Snake" slithered all the way to #3 on the Hot 100, with follow-up track, "New Moon on Monday," peaking at #10.

On April 16, 1984, Duran Duran released "The Reflex" as the third single from Seven and the Ragged Tiger the world. Both the 7-inch and 12-inch single versions of the song were remixed by Nile Rodgers of Chic. It was a fruitful union, as the song rocketed up the charts to become Duran Duran's first #1 song in America over the week of June 23, 1984. "The Reflex" held the crown for two weeks straight, finally topped by Prince's "When Doves Cry" on July 7, 1984.

"I've got quite a strong feeling about this song," singer Simon Le Bon said in 2015. "It was one of those songs that grew all out of proportion when it came out. I think one of the very crucial things about is that it has that amazing Nile Rodgers production. This was the first thing we did with Nile Rodgers, by the way. We sent him the record, and it wasn't anything like it sounds when you're going to play it. He added all of the sampling stuff...It was quite innovative."

Still, Le Bon has his reservations: "It's a kind of a childish song, and there have been times when I've felt a little bit tired of it. That's also to do with the fact that people always ask me what the song is about, and I never tell people what songs are about."

"It's a really interesting lyric, actually," chimed in bassist John Taylor. "You wouldn't hear a lyric like that today. The early '80s were great for profoundly weird, paranoid pop lyrics."