October 1984: Duran Duran Release THE WILD BOYS

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Russell Mulcahy had a vision. The movie and video director had purchased the rights to William S. Burroughs' 1971 book, The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead with plans of turning the story about an underground youth movement whose objective is the downfall of western civilization into a feature film. In Mulcahy's mind, Duran Duran was the ideal band to provide the soundtrack. Inspired by Mulcahey's passion for the project, singer Simon Le Bon began crafting lyrics for a title track.

With Duran Duran flying high at arguably the peak of the band's commercial powers, the outfit was set to follow the success of third studio album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983), with Duran Duran's first live record, Arena.

"I remember being asked could we come up one song that could go with this live album, which seemed at the time like a very tall order," bassist John Taylor said in a 2014 video interview. "I think because we were coming to the end of the Arena tour, and at least I was looking forward to a break. But 'The Wild Boys' project really couldn't have come at a better time, and it came to us fully fleshed out. It was conceptual, it was cool, and we kind of really lucked into it through Russell.

"We started working on the song with Nile (Rogers), in London, and we had that title," Taylor added. "I think by the time the song was finished, Russell's film had been put on hold, and he very generously decided to use all of the research, the costuming, and all of the crazy ideas...he threw it all into the video."

"Something had gone wrong with Russell's film project, which was titled 'Wild Boys,'" Le Bon shared in a separate video interview. "And so all those ideas that he'd had, and that whole feeling, the mood of it, the style of it. He was able to express all of that in the video."

"The Wild Boys" music video is a thing of legend, costing will over a million pounds to produce (a record at the time), creating a massive apocalyptic landscape over the entire wing of a UK sound stage. The harsh and aggressive single was released on October 26, 1984, and was another big hit for the band. "The Wild Boys" climbed all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, only blocked from the top spot by Hall & Oates' "Out of Touch," and Madonna's "Like a Virgin."