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Duran Duran’s ‘Thank You’ covers album, 25 years on. Is it really that bad?

The ill-fated covers album is 25 years old today


Duran Duran fans could really enjoy 1993 and 1994. We walked around with self-satisfied smiles as non-fans grudgingly said things like “fair play, ‘Ordinary World’ is a pretty good song”. Just to prove it wasn’t a one-off, ‘Come Undone’ was another significant hit (particularly in America). Yes! Duran Duran were successful again; no longer just an ‘eighties’ band. While it would probably be a stretch to say it was ‘cool’ to like DD at this point in time (as Suede, Blur were putting in the ground work for what would become the Britpop era), it wasn’t something shameful that you had to hide –  put it that way. Then in 1995 they released the covers album Thank You

First things first. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with recording a covers album, lots of artists do them, but the timing was bad. Duran Duran had just reminded the world that they could be fairly good, when they put their mind to it. Such was the lack of impact of 1990 flop album Liberty there wasn’t so much as a footprint left on the snowy landscape of pop to remind people it had happened. This would work in their favour. If you are going to ‘come back’ you need to have been away for a while and to the lay person it felt like at least four or five years since Duran Duran had released anything (not true of course).

Anyway, the band had enjoyed big hit singles, a proper hit album (The Wedding Album), one that actually hung around for a bit and climbed back into the top 10 when ‘Come Undone’ was released and while the campaign fizzled out earlier than expected (the third and final single ‘Too Much Information’ stalled at number 35), the general feeling was of a job well done. All they had to do was not lose momentum…

Let’s be honest, covers albums are generally a bit of a self-indulgence. For artists that don’t write their own material (TV soap stars, etc.) they make sense, but for an established act it rather shouts ‘the creative tank is empty’. “We have no songs, the label is demanding a new record, I’ve got an idea…” It really is the last thing Duran Duran should have been contemplating; they needed to get back into the studio and return with some more great songs, build on the good work and exploit the new younger fanbase that had come on board in 1992 and 1993.

The other problem with Thank You is that the plan wasn’t to sneak it out as an indulgence and quickly move on. No, there was going to be a big promotional campaign, singles, videos, a tour. If you are going to shine a spotlight that bright on something you better be sure it’s going to connect with your fans or at least garner some critical acclaim. Thank You ended up doing neither. In the space of a few short years, Duran Duran went from being acclaimed as under appreciated purveyors of classic pop tunes, to a bit of a joke. Such was the fallout with EMI, the label refused to release the next album in the UK (1997’s Medazzaland) making Thank You the final studio album after 14 years together.

But let’s put all of the above to one side and take a close listen to Thank You. Is it really that bad? Here’s SDE’s track-by-track guide:

White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)

The Melle Mel classic opens the album and it’s really not a great start. The production is horrible and apart from ‘I Wanna Take You Higher Again’ which ends this album, they can’t blame anyone else since the whole thing is self-produced. Warren Cuccurullo is a great guitarist, but left to his own devices he goes into LA rawk mode very easily, and that’s what he does here. The backing vocals are provided by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five who pointlessly shout things like “Come On! Say Rock!” during the chorus. Simon Le Bon is in ‘shouty’ vocal mode and it’s hard to find anything endearing about it at all. Truly awful, but somehow chosen as the second single and even more bemusing, it’s still a regular in DD’s set lists to this day.



I Wanna Take You Higher

Tony Thompson drums on this cover of the Sly & The Family Stone classic, which is one good thing about it, and there is quite a nice semi-funky breakdown around the 2.40 mark, but other than that it’s just rocky bombast once more and the sound, the style and the attitude is just so far from what Duran Duran are about, it’s ridiculous. The female spoken word bit just adds to the cringe-factor.


Perfect Day

This cover of the Lou Reed‘s Perfect Day was the first single and is one of the more palatable outings on Thank You. Le Bon’s vocals sound good and are well produced. It’s light and dreamy take on the song. Notably, original drummer Roger Taylor plays on this track which reached number 28 in the UK charts.


Watching The Detectives 

I’ve actually always really liked this version of Elvis Costello‘s Watching The Detectives. It’s quite a creative and well-produced arrangement, with its dubby leanings and crucially, it does sound like Duran Duran. Simon does a decent job of the vocal and the catchy guitar riff in the chorus is satisfying. There’s loads of nice touches, like the piano figure after “but he can’t be wounded ’cause he’s got no heart” line. The ending is great as well, when the harmonica comes in.



Lay Lady Lay

The beginning of this sounds just like ‘Come Undone’, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s a strange choice of Bob Dylan song to cover. I’ve never been a massive fan of the original version of ‘Lay Lady Lay’ so a somewhat innocuous cover by Duran doesn’t provide cause to revise that opinion. Paul McCartney‘s longtime drummer Abe Laborial Jr plays on this (and ‘I Wanna Take You Higher Again’).


911 Is A Joke

Yes, Duran Duran covering Public Enemy is a bit silly, but I actual like this. The acoustic guitar sounds good and what the hell, it introduces Public Enemy (and the message) to a wider audience. The mistake DD made was not putting the superior ‘Alternate Version’ of this track from the Perfect Day CD single on the album. It’s a much better.


Success

Terry Bozzio, Warren’s bandmate from Missing Persons, drums on this Iggy Pop cover. It’s raucous, the drums are very loud and it really does connect at all. Pointless, really.


Crystal Ship

With ‘Success’ out of the way, thankfully we’re back to something that sounds good. The timbre of Simon’s voice works excellently on this Doors cover and unlike elsewhere on this record the arrangement has some restraint and isn’t overblown.


Ball of Confusion

The restraint doesn’t last though and this version of The Temptations‘ ‘Ball of Confusion’ is another loud, annoying misstep. As a Duran Duran fan I really don’t want to listen to this, so who else is going to want to?



Thank You

The first song to be issued from these sessions, this Led Zeppelin cover appeared (in demo form) on the soundtrack to the forgotten 1994 film With Honors. Not bad.


Drive By

Amusingly the band include one of their own songs on the album. Drive By is actually Rio’s ‘The Chauffeur’ in disguise and is one long big extended build up and then a very satisfying conclusion. One of the highlights of Thank You which rather proves the whole covers thing hasn’t really worked.


I Wanna Take You Higher Again

One presumes there were internal arguments about which version of ‘I Wanna Take You Higher’ to include on Thank You – the ‘rocky one’ or the more synth-pop dance version? “Oh sod, it let’s put them both on there!” This version is a million times better than track two and the fact they couldn’t see this at the time illustrates the bad decision making that led to releasing this album in the first place! This is the only recording on the album co-produced with John Jones, who worked with the band on The Wedding Album.




Bonus tracks:

The Needle And The Damage Done

This was a bonus track on the ‘Perfect Day’ single. A rather sweet and accurate cover of the Neil Young‘s famous song from Harvest. Simon handles the vocal well and this is much better than many things on the album.


Diamond Dogs

On CD 2 of the Japanese edition. Quite an interesting version of the title track of David Bowie‘s 1974 album. Fairly experimental and they don’t rock out as much as they do on some of the other tracks. Again, curious that they ultimately omitted this from the final selection.


Summary

If you are being generous I’d say only about half of Thank You is any good. It’s saddled down by workmanlike arrangements, big clunky rock outings and Simon Le Bon at his most charmless, vocally. A classic case of the band sounding like their having fun, but what about the audience? Despite that, it has its moments. ‘Watching The Detectives’ is very good, as is the second (‘again’) version of ‘I Wanna Take You Higher’. Despite the sheer ludicrousness of the undertaking, ‘911 Is A Joke’ is much more fun to listen to than the Iggy or the Dylan cover and including ‘Drive By’ showed that Duran Duran could still poke fun at themselves, a little bit.

Nevertheless, despite a top twenty hit in the UK (‘White Lines’, remarkably) the album proved damaging. The band fragmented (John Taylor would soon leave), the band moved from the classic-pop AOR sound of ‘Ordinary World’ to the more abrasive art-pop found on Medazzaland (Electric Barbarella) the mainstream audience disappeared once more. Wilderness years beckoned and it would be the best part of another decade before the general public embraced Duran Duran once more with the reformation and the Astronaut album.

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Jerry

I didn’t like Duran Duran until I heard this album.

Chris

I thought this album was a horrible misstep and waste of the new found momentum gained after such a stellar statement that was The Wedding Album which for me was more a delivery of two classic singles than what most would consider a good album. The record as a whole is uneven with flashes of brilliance. People forget that Duran Duran’s tour in 93 topped Nirvana’s if you can imagine that. I think Warren is a better guitar player than anyone else that has filled the role in DD but…….his style just didn’t seem to fit my liking. I found something to like in every DD album but those he had significant input on seemed to have way too much of his influence and lost what made DD one of my favorite bands. I grew up in the 80’s and had to hide my appreciation for the band as my “tribe” would not permit it. It was my liking of The Clash, Joy Division and the Pistols that got me access to the tribe and I wasn’t about to ruin it over 5 pin up boys (who were fabulous musicians who recorded two of the finest new wave albums of the 80’s followed up by 3 which were pretty good).
I did manage to grow up and shed that tribal association, meet a woman who lived and breathed Duran Duran and through her, gained a proper appreciation of the band. They are, IMO one of the finest pop bands to have ever existed and despite a few slip ups have a body of work that any recording artist can be proud of.

This article gave me cause to go back and listen and I have to say it was much better than I remember. I’m not a fan of covers albums (cover a song here and there? Sure but an album? “Neon Lights” didn’t really help Simple Minds either) so I thought this was a mistake when I learned of it and even though it’s pretty decent, I think this contributed to the downward spiral of the 90’s that only a reunion and shedding of Warren could prevent. The production is not bad, like most I think Perfect Day and Watching the Detectives are fabulous and no real turds for me. I’d like to see a remastering of TWA though as it was pretty slammed as were most albums of that period. Actually liked Pop Trash quite a bit more than Medazzaland but rarely find myself going back to listen to much from the 90’s album wise. I did make a playlist of the era consisting of:

TMI
Ordinary World
Come Undone
Love Voodoo
None of the Above
Shelter
Sin of the City
Perfect Day
Watching the Detectives
Crystal Ship
Thank You
Big Bang Generation
Electric Barbarella
Out of My Mind
Midnight Sun
Someone Else Not Me
Lava Lamp
Playing With Uranium
Pop Trash Movie
Mars Meets Venus
Lady Xanax

DiscoDave2000

Covers albums can be so hit or miss. I do wish the Pretenders compiled all of their covers and put them out as a collection: Not A Second Time, I’m Not In Love, Thin Line Between Love & Hate, Angel of the Morning, Bold As Love, Stop Your Sobbing, Room Full of Mirrors, Human, Forever Young, Walk Like A Panther, I Go To Sleep and more on tribute albums, soundtracks and b-sides that I don’t own…

Ernie

Just to add a few things relevant:

1, I seem to remember a band interview at the time that said each Band member chose 3 songs for inclusion on the album. Not sure on further details.

2, Nick Rhodes did a Twitter fan chat last Friday & he specifically said there was no plans for a SDE of the “Wedding” album but there may be Vinyl at some point. Does anyone know, is it even up to the band? Do Warners own the rights now? Sometimes, the Record company decides to do something with the band not necessarily up for it anyway but the band decides to get on board so the label doesn’t do too much of a botch job. Maybe thats the best we can hope for here. To neglect this album in the manner is surely wrong on every level. There is a captive market for this product, I’m sure they could sell thousands of copies & make huge sums of money. The content is there & we all know what needs to go on it. They have a product people want & are willing to pay for!! What could go wrong?

Ernie

Thanks Paul. What a wasted opportunity this is,. With their 40th anniversary this year this would be the perfect time for this with all the publicity & fan love they will generate. In reality, more people would probably want this than a new album but it’s typical Duran Duran to take forever with everything AND f##k it up in the process.

mike

Nick in the latest Q&A said there were no plans for a SDE of The Wedding Album, tis a shame but thankfully there are 4 CDs of studio quality demos out there. I guess no plans for Liberty either if TWA isnt in the pipeline.

Mark

I recall at the time the band stating that the purpose of the album was to experiment with their sound and that the sound of the album was where they were going. The following album Medazzaland clearly has a similar sound to Thank You. Unfortunately one of the wheels came off the cart and ruined it.

Mark R

It’s an interesting album but lacks John Taylor’s presence. Some great songs, but the band were on a downward spiral. The dynamic had shifted and Le Bon wasn’t enjoying it at all.

Albert

Anyone remember Duran’s cover of Bowie’s ‘Fame’?
John and Andy also did the T-Rex classic ‘Get It On’ with Power Station. The less said about that, the better though.

Mikael

I bought the Careless Memories 12” just to get that.

Mat

Half the songs are decent, but at the time fans wanted new material. Not cover tracks lots of people had never heard of.

It also launched their obsession with mid tempo ballads as a lead single trying to create an Ordinary World success factor.
Perfect Day, Out of my mind, Somebody else not me and Falling Down. 4 spaced out albums. Not until Pressure off they regained the pop edge, but lost tons of fans in the mean time.

Andy B

There are some artists who don’t write their own material and so rely on interpreting other peoples songs. So every album they release is a covers album. Fine.

What frustrates me are those singers or bands who normally write their own material and often release excellent albums but for some reason decide to release a covers album. Some people might call it or brave I just see it as lazy. I can’t think of one such artist whose covers album is better than their own material. I’m looking at you Duran Duran, Simple Minds, etc

Phideaux Xavier

and weirdly, one of my favourite albums by Siouxsie and the Banshees is their covers album. I was peeved at the time, but in retrospect, it gets more spins than Tinderbox for me…

Matt

Speaking of cover album’s – I’ve always rather liked Siouxsie & the Banshees ‘through the looking glass’ album. A band that often had a fresh approach to their & others music. They also did my favourite version of ‘Dear Prudence’.

Stuart

If you don’t like one of your favourite bands issuing a covers album, then try being a Simple Minds fan, as they’ve done two (admittedly, one is a bonus disc)

As much as I loved what they did before and laterally, the Neon Lights album from 2001 is poor at best and genuinely doesn’t sound like the band in any of their guises. Fortunately they followed this up fairly quickly with the credible Cry album and Neon Lights was quickly forgotten. Also at this point, Simple Minds hadn’t had a big hit since 1994 (unlike DD with Ordinary World), so they didn’t really have any momentum to kill, therefore the follow up wiped the slate clean and they built from there again.

They also issued the ‘Searching for the Lost Boys’ album in 2009 as an addendum to the excellent Graffiti Soul album. This is much better than Neon Lights, albeit the production is a bit muddy; a far better choice of guitar based tracks which suit Simple Minds style better.

-SG-

On a slightly different note, it is good to see John Taylor survived Covid-19.

Wayne

Never been a fan of DD, and that album looks like a complete car crash.

Louis

I have never been a fan of DD. Just I liked few songs from their albums. However this album, on that year, liked me. Not all songs, but in general, I liked. Some covers, since my point of view, are good enough. I guess that this was already said a lot of times, but Bob Dylan songs covers likes me much more that the original classic ones.

Anyway, it’s weird that DD fans abandon them for just one album, and much more if it is a covers album. I think those years were difficult years for DD music style. It was the great Grunge era. There was no nostalgia fashion as we have now (since few years ago).

Joshua McNeal

DD fans didn’t abandon the band, casual listeners did. I’ve always followed, but if I don’t like the product I won’t buy it.

Paul

I agree with you Paul about the idea of a band like DD releasing a covers version, all that renewed interest after the superb Wedding Album, and then to follow it up with Thank You. White Lines was OK in my opinion, Perfect Day only so-so (back in the day, I bought all the DD singles religiously on all formats, and rem the 7″ came with a scratch’n’sniff sleeve), although I do believe Lou Reed said it was the best version of the song he’d ever heard. I also remember DD appeared on The Word in 1995 playing White Lines, and they did an Interview afterwards with Terry Christiensen – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MktzILNcoWA – they talk about Thank You for a min or so from around 7:45 and the fact there was a couple of songs they tried but didn’t work out, one Nick mentions is Jeepster by TRex …

Pete B

I can’t speak about the whole album as I’ve never listened to it. However, I can’t understand anyone who feels that White Lines is anything but dire compared to the original.
Back in the day, I had the pleasure of winning a pair of Sennheiser headphones in Q Magazine for their letter of the month. Simon Le Bon had been the Q&A artist in the previous issue and was asked “When did you last cry?” and he answered “When I heard what Madonna had done to American Pie”. I wrote in to say I sympathised with Simon as I’d last cried when I heard what Duran Duran had done to White Lines.

David Stanley

I second Dave B’s recommendation of Icehouse’s “The Berlin Tapes”. Standouts for me include “Being Boiled”, “Sister Europe” and “Loving the Alien”. Wonderful.

I’d also recommend Alison Moyet’s “Voice”.

Anthony Hesseltine

I think the version on “With Honors” is the same as on the main album. I have a different version from the Encomium Led Zeppelin tribute album, which is 2 minutes shorter and acoustic.

Not their finest moment, but I’ve never really been able to listen to their music in album formats, mainly compilations I make myself. This record sounds like some thing created solely for themselves and a desperate attempt to fill the contract. They should have employed the Sade method and waited seven years for the next release instead of this,

chris

I’d made a previous comment in this thread but neglected to dither on regarding the fact that it’s been 25 years since Thank You was released and yet no special expanded version has been released. What the heck is up with this band?? Granted that there may have been mixed feelings about this album, but still. The twenty-fifth anniversaries for Liberty and the Wedding album have come and gone and not a word from the band about a super deluxe edition for these albums. Yeah, yeah, I know, we’ve all heard about how they want to “look forward and not backwards” when it comes to their music catalogue, but that’s a bit of disservice to their fans and collectors.

AdamW

I’m sorry, but there is no timeline on which the versions on Thank You are better than the originals. These are all titanic tunes in their own right – DD were behind the 8-ball from the start with those choices. Transcending the originals, when the originals were this good, was going to be a very long shot, and none of these made it.

I tend to find that albums where many artists cover one (or more) artist(s) to go better than one artist covering a bunch of folks. EPs are also good ideas – I dig up Erasure’s Abba-Esque far more often than their Other People’s Songs, and Metallica’s $5.98 EP was a perfect, five-song winner.

Since it hasn’t been mentioned yet, I’ll give a shout-out to Tori Amos’ Strange Little Girls – great song choices, inventive arrangements.

Wayne Olsen

They just bit off more than they could chew and strayed too far away from their strengths. I think we’re very thankful they didn’t tackle Merle Haggard and Metallica.

Michael

Agreed..though DD taking in Merle Haggard or Metallica might have proved more interesting, for better or worse.

Trash

I’ve been a fan since Planet Earth was released and yet I’ve just realised that Thank You is the only Duran album that I don’t own. I thought I had bought it but I realised that I only have the singles in the Singles 1986 – 1995 box.

I think I thought it was a bit of a stinker at the time and listening to it now on iTunes I can see that my opinion hasn’t changed.
I agree with the person that said they should have attempted covers that were closer to their roots/influences. Also the covers dont seem to really add anything to the originals, they stick too closely to the originals and therefore can only ever come across as second-rate copies.

Compare and contrast with Japan’s cover of Marvin Gaye’s Ain’t that Peculiar. Recognisably the same song but a great rearrangement that turns the original on its head.

For full disclosure I always skip the track Femme Fatale on The Wedding Album so maybe Duran doing covers just isn’t my thing.

Trash

P.S. Their cover of ‘Fame’ in the early days was terrible too :-)

P.P.S. Just reached ‘Success’ on Thank you…. definitely a low point.

Dan T

I have been a huge fan of DD since the 80’s, the 90’s felt like there was no direction, it was all over the place. I stuck with the band and I always eager to see what they would put out next. TY was a misstep for me but I have to say that their versions of Perfect Day, watching the detectives and lay lady lay were far better than the originals… Crystal Ship was a success in my mind. The rest I skipped over as just noise. Still I eagerly awaited for the next album to drop.

Albert

I was always sorry that U2 never did a full covers album. Their takes on Dancing Barefoot, Unchained Melody, Satellite Of Love and All Along The Watchtower were interesting. And their version of Night and Day was magnificent.

I have to say that they murdered The Love Affair’s ‘Everlasting Love’ though.

Chris Squires

They have a very particular take on”Dancing Queen” as well.

Wayne Olsen

Oh man I loved their version!

chris

Funny, everlasting love is one of my favorite u2 covers… to each their own i guess. I will say their live covers have always been more raw and impressive to me. That said i generally think cover albums are usually a bad idea. Covers make great bsides, one off albums track and are usually a great suprise at a concert.That said, I dont mind some of the DD covers but i think if they pacakaged them differently they may have been better received

CJ Feeney

Agree that b sides or songwriter focussed albums are a good place. Esp for U2. I think Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) on the first “Very Special Christmas” album was a great cover at a time they were seen as particularly po-faced in the media.

Also “Jesus Christ” from the Woody Guthrie/Leadbelly tribute album “Folkways” worked really well alongside covers by Brian Wilson and Springsteen. Both those songs were from the Sun Studio sessions for Rattle and Hum.

Oliver T

I was a young kid when this record came out and my older brother had a copy. When I listened to it I didn’t know that they were other people’s songs, I’d never heard the originals. I liked the songs and even now having heard (and preferred) the originals I still have a soft spot for this album because these were the original versions for me.

Pete

Duran rock. This was for the fans. Not really a money maker

Jarmo Keranen

Just remember it that i bought Andy Taylor’s Dangerous (1990) cd sometime in 90’s, because Metal Hammer magazine praise it when it was released and someone sell it cheap. What a mistake i make. It contains lousy versions of songs by Thin Lizzy, Rod Stewart, Bad Company, Kinks, Montrose, Rolling Stones, Wilson Pickett, Mott The Hoople, J.J. Cale and AC/DC. It is anything but dangerous!

Cor Banpak

Its a great record. I like all the songs. They did a great Job.

Simon

Counterfeit EP by Martin Gore of Depeche Mode is a really good covers LP.

This is horrendous.

Dre

Ty is a decent album! PD, TY, WL, and lay lady lay as well as Crystal Ship all better than the original. What did everyone expect? It’s just covers that went Gold in the USA. Not bad..

Fame is also another great song by the Fab 5

https://youtu.be/W75BJauz8oo

John twins

Well. Simon isn’t a great singer. Nick isn’t the best keyboardist you can find. Warren is so eclective to play in a pop band. John is not the best bass player at the moment. But all together they made very very great songs, very great arrangements in their carrear. So thank you in something so stupid to do in 1995 that just a matter of money can justified this strange record. I love duran duran since 1981, maybe this was a lost step.

Josh

I was disappointed to say the least. I bought the Wedding Album in 1993, first non Andy/Roger album I had purchased. I was excited they were getting play and respect, then this garbage. DD fans listened to them for the fun, that is what they were originally about. Somehow that was lost. After Live-Aid I think deep down they were more and more concerned about the critics than their fans. I don’t like rap, I don’t care to hear my favorite band try it. So much other, better material out there.

I am a fair weather old school Duran Duran fan. I have worn out various versions of the early 80s albums. I never bought Notorious, partly because I was 14 in 1986, and I didn’t like the rift between Andy and the others. I did buy American Anthem soundtrack, and Thunder, also Powerstation and Arcadia. (I bought Almost all in 1988 when I had a job, I did borrow the albums from my older sister). In 1993 I was finally sold on them, I even liked the unplugged music, and then this crap. The next 2 albums I still haven’t even bothered to listen to all songs.

I fell out of my chair when they got the original 5 together, and I loved Astronaut, plus the other leaked Material, but then again, they decided to boot Andy again and did RCM with Timberlake and Timbaland and lost me again. AYNIN was ok, Paper Gods meh, they really worked best with Andy providing some antagonistic input.

Now, I think I just don’t care anymore about new stuff.

John

Shawn Colvin’s Cover Girl is a great covers album. Covering tracks by The Police, Tom Waits, Talking Heads and Bob Dylan among many others. Her cover of Steve Earle’s Someday is especially good.

-SG-

The story I’d heard was the project was conceived after Liberty when they were in an all time low, they presented the rough mixes of some of these songs and the concept was rejected with Led Zeppelin’s Thank You being the only song deemed releasable at the time. Facing a rejected covers album they regrouped and recorded the wedding album, some ideas from the sessions creeping into the wedding album, like Femme Fatale and the idea of the cool guitar intro to lay lady lay repurposed for come undone. After their refound commercual viability, there was demand for a quick followup and no new songs. The recordings were revisited tarted up and rerecorded and a few more done…. and presto a new album and tour for the newly awakened fanbase. The concept was old when it hit the shelves and was evident in that the tour for this record used different cover songs like Rebel Rebel and more 90’s reworkings of bigger hits. There were enough good songs here to have made a good ep and some b-sides but as a whole album a bit much. With Annie Lennox and Bryan Ferry doing similar cover albums at the time, it seemed the creative torch from the 80’s was being passed.

Phalkon

This was a weird album for me..I’m a younger DD fan (35 now), but once I got hooked, I soaked up as much as I could. I started making music in my late teens and still play in a band. When I read about this album, I saw all the artists they were covering and thought to myself “this was released a couple of years after Wedding Album??? This HAS to be awesome”.

I will admit, most of the album was a let down (especially compared to the (underrated) concept album Medazzaland a couple years later), but I did particularly enjoy “Watching The Detectives”, Lay Lady Lay”, and “The Crystal Ship” (I was also listening to The Doors quite a bit at this time, and did a cover myself at the time)..

For the most part, I will agree with this write up though. DD could’ve done so much more with the momentum from Wedding Album… instead John Taylor left and recorded Feelings R Good (and other lies…) which was a GREAT album with material that would’ve sounded amazing as Duran Duran.

David

This is paywalled as a “Premium” story, but maybe someone out there has access… via The Telegraph: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/artists/no-thank-reviled-covers-album-almost-sank-duran-duran/

David Wishart

Definitely not among my favorite DD albums. My lead up to it included enjoying live versions of White Lines at many shows. It rocked with Warren. Crystal Ship live was nice as an interstitial song. I never found much enthusiasm for Femme Fatale on The Wedding Album. Also enjoyed Thank You (the song) From the With Honors soundtrack, and felt it was a good choice to cover.

So, when the album came out, i was excited, but disappointed by it. White Lines lacked energy, Take Me Higher was not bad, just flat (and one version is plenty). Perfect Day is very nice. Lay Lady Lay made sense, and I thought 911 is a Joke was cheeky fun. The new version of Thank You was still good, and I liked the b-side Needle and the Damage done. Diamond Dogs is not bad.

But the song choices seemed too mainstream, and uninspiring. Why not Roxy, Kraftwerk, Eno or YMO? The best cover of Ball of Confusion is by Love & Rockets, so DD’s version didn’t impress. The rest of it was just dull.

That said, I liked their visual style for album , and appearance. Also liked live “punk” versions of Hungry Like the Wolf, and early hints at what was Tom one with Medazzaland.

Agree that an EP would have been better, and an earlier release. DD do make some strange decisions, but I expect they were led astray by situational dynamics and record company influences. Still…a stronger band might have kept it together.

Albert

Duran’s version of Make Me Smile was a belter (B Side of The Reflex). But White Lines was bloody awful. Shame they didn’t get Roger and Andy and do a studio version of Harley’s classic for Thank You.

My favourite covers from the 9os are Happy Mondays with He’s Gonna Step On You Again and Tokoloshe Man.

Jim

An awful album (Detectives and Perfect Day aside) that ushered in a truly awful decade to come. Thank goodness for Mark Ronson.

Larry Davis

I dunno…I kinda LIKE Thank You…don’t hate it at all…best DD album?? Among their better records?? No, not by a long shot…but I find it a fun exercise in covering unexpected songs that they like, no matter the genre…I like bands that do what THEY want, not what the fans want…once a band just pleases the fans first, they lose their footing and backbone…art first, commerce second, always…the best moments come when they do what they want & then, it connects with the fans & sells, but it has to be an art & band creation first…as for covers albums, there are a few good ones…two of my faves…one that is one band covering multiple artists is Def Leppard’s “Yeah!!” (in a way, many would think Duran’s covers choices would echo this)…and the other is the utterly brilliant “If I Were A Carpenter”…multiple 90s modern rock & powerpop bands covering the Carpenters (American Music Club, Shonen Knife, Sonic Youth, Redd Kross, Matthew Sweet, Babes In Toyland, Cracker, Grant Lee Buffalo, etc)…so good & holds up brilliantly…I LIKE the DD album, nowhere near as good as these two BUT it’s still better than the truly awful Led Zeppelin covers album “Encomium”…

Tessa

As a long time D2 fan, I gotta say you missed it with your review. The band did a great job with this cover album. Songs I never much cared for by the original artists, I loved on the D2 Thank You album. Lay Lady Lay is one of my faves! As is Perfect Day. Never cared for Lou Reed’s vocals, but Simon sure made it a hauntingly beautiful song. Even Reed said Le Bon sang it the way he wished he could have. White Lines! Put em up, y’all. Love it. These guys don’t know how capitalize on momentum, I agree, but they’ve got talent and have always been ahead of the times.

Chuck Jones

Extremely well said Tessa!!!
Duran Duran’s Thank You album was very experimental, quite different from their usual brilliance and it was lots of fun. I still enjoy listening to it very much. Their awesome take on Watching The Detectives is simply stunning, and it’s one of my all time Duran favorites!!!

Jarmo Keranen

When i look at the track list, i’m glad i have never heard this album. The band of second class playing songs of first class. To my ears Duran Duran has made only one song i could listen and it is Ordinary World!

Andy

What about Come Undone?

That was a great song…

Liam Bastick

It was September 1993. Some mates and I were dragged kicking and screaming to a Duran Duran concert by our respective better halves. My mates thought, where’s the bar whilst the ladies imagined re-living their teeny bopper years.

Then they played White Lines. And then a few other tracks (can’t remember what now) bordering on the heavy / thrash metal side. The girls were aghast. We were cheering and singing along.

We talked about this concert for months.

I remember Simon le Bon once telling a reporter that when they were bored, DD (disguised) would take part in competitions in Birmingham pubs as to who could imitate Duran Duran best. He said they never won! That night, I could see why.

Kauwgompie

There were 3 rather big issues with this album:

-A covers album is not AT ALL what the fans wanted. I always felt it was a bit of a FU to the fans who wanted DD hits and got a half-ass covers album

-Which brings us to the next issue with the album. The song choices and arrangements of the covers were just bad. Sorry, why is DD covering rap songs? Not only do fans NOT want that, it sounds ridiculous. I saw DD twice in concert the last 10 yrs. Both times they played White Lines. It’s delusional. And Lay Lady Lay, Success, I Want To Take You Higher and Ball of Confusion? Horrible songs choices.

-Lastly, fans wanted to hear the DD from Rio. Again, this album did not deliver that. Only ALL YOU NEED IS NOW finally delivered that typical DD sounds with those drum loops, catchy melodies and synth riffs.

I’m a huge DD fan for the record and agree there are some good songs on here, just like on Liberty but overall it was a huge missed opportunity and a fatal loss of momentum from the Wedding Album.

Thank You, was great album tribute and beautiful, maybe is not perfecto, but sure is good musical material.

Andre

TY rocks! Some songs better than the original!!
Thank you! Lay lady lay, White lines_great live track, and Crystal Ship all better than originals..worst cover 911 ..but I give Duran credit..no 2 albums are alike! They keep it fresh unlike U2 and the Cure. Looking forward new album!!!

This song too is better than the original!!!

https://youtu.be/W75BJauz8oo

Paul R.

I was never really interested in anything past the Wedding Album before but when you mentioned their own remake of “The Chauffer” called “Drive By”, I had to remember all the way back to their 1993 Tower Records Sunset Blvd show. I’d never understood the monologue at the beginning of the song until I’d heard “Drive By”. I guess it was a preview of what was to come on “Thank You”. The Tower show was something my brother had recorded off of 106.7 KROQ (when they weren’t owned by a horrible company) the night they performed and we listened to it for ages. Around the turn of the century, I had learned that it was floating around as a bootleg. Its easily found on YouTube now. I really wish they would officially release the full show on vinyl / DVD, instead of the short EP we got.

Fogarrach

To Chris squires,
Great Cover albums by a single artist. And they ARE cover albums.
1989 by Ryan Adams
Abbey road by George benson

David McCallum

Just A Little Lovin’ by Shelby Lynne and Pour une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone by Meshell Ndegeocello are both good cover albums. And half of Señor Coconut (Uwe H. Schmidt)’s discography too. :)

David McCallum

Oh, and Angélique Kidjo’s Remain in Light is stellar.

Dave H

Didn’t The Smithereens and Flaming Lips cover whole albums, a bit like remaking an old movie.

ALM

The Ryan Adams 1989 is better than the original in my opinion

Wesley

Watching the band constantly shoot themselves in the foot is part and parcel of being a long-term DD fan.

Thank You is pretty awful, no two ways about it. For me the main problem was the choice of songs. No Bowie, Roxy, Chic, Moroder, Kraftwerk, Eno… all would’ve have made more sense than Public Enemy, Neil Young and Led Zeppelin.

DD have always had an issue with self-perception; that is to say, what they think they are compared to what they actually are. In their minds they are a contemporary act with a wide range of influences spanning multiple genres. In reality they’re the product of glam, disco and post-punk, and are at their best when they apply these influences to their innate pop sensibility.

That’s why Astronaut is better than RCM and AYNIN is better than Paper Gods.

I’m actually quite nervous about the new album!

Renee

I wholeheartedly agree, Wesley.
Perhaps I am just a sucker for these kinds of this but I liked most of the songs, but yea, strange artists to cover except for The Doors, that didn’t surprise me.
I saw them here in Reykjavik last summer. Where they get all of that energy is amazing to me!

Stephen

Spot on Wesley

Dave B

I think you’re right, Wesley. Choice of songs is definitely part of the problem. Although Simple Minds chose what anyone familiar with their oeuvre would probably have reasonably imagined (prior to release, anyway) “genre/influence-appropriate” covers (in some cases – Bowie, Kraftwerk, Joy Division, Echo & The Bunnymen) mixed with some less expected artists that (coincidentally?) were also covered by Duran Duran on “Thank You” (The Doors, Neil Young, Lou Reed).

Doesn’t seem to have made much difference though, does it? Whatever the internal band reasoning, DD and SM both seem to have arrived at the same place anyway – total cockups!

I guess some artist are just very good at choosing, arranging and performing covers so that the songs sound as if they always totally belonged to/originated with them…and some aren’t. Linda Ronstadt is a prominent case in point, building much of her career on hit singles that were exquisitely chosen covers and making them her own, while Johnny Cash’s “American Recordings” are another prime example of the perfect marriage of artist and cover, many of these late-period works far surpassing the originals (see “Hurt” by NIN).

I’ve also posted a rave about Icehouse’s covers album “The Berlin Tapes” in this thread, which is yet another example of covers done right…it’s actually the best covers album I’ve heard on so many levels.

Dre

I think PG rocks and new album will be great! They have nothing to prove..far better than The Cure and Depeche. Both in RnR hall of Fame duran deserve to be there! 100 million records sold ain’t too shabby!!

Fogarrach

You nailed me. I was one of those non-fans who heard ordinary world and thought, rethought my views on Duran Duran.
To be fair, my prejudice against Duran Duran started after I watched them on a blue peter special. In one afternoon I should have come up with the concept of auto tune, I certainly experienced the need for it. (Sorry but true. And You probably know the show I refer to )
Plus they were Tories and made a thing of it. That didn’t help. These were times of unemployment and taking sides.
Mind you, I liked new moon on Monday right from the start. Does that count as an acceptable apology.

Mark R

They were Tories? Nope. Le Bon came from a family of Labour voters and the majority of the the other band members were working class. Just because they had a flash lifestyle, it doesn’t make them tories. They spent five years working their butts off and reaped the rewards. Wouldn’t you? That’s a lazy comment.

mike

I think I Wanna Take You Higher v1 and Ball of Confusion still rock harder than anything Duran ever did before and again. Higher just kicks ass with the piledriver drumming at the fore, Confusion apes Rage Against The Machine with classic Cuccurullo grinding. Perfect Day is really lovely and should have done better in the charts. Overall it’s an album of highs and lows and they really should drop White Lines live, way too overplayed.

Dave R

Andy Taylor, possibly? :-)

Wesley

John Taylor.

Michael

I don’t enjoy every song on this LP but overall I don’t agree with the general world consensus on how awful it is. I love Watching the Detectives. I think it is much more cohesive than Elvis Costello’s version and should have been a single and video. Perfect Day, Success, and Diamond Dogs are all custom made for the DD aesthetic and show them wearing their hearts on the Antony Price clad sleeves. 911 Is A Joke and White Lines are charming & goofy and while lacking the social intellectual bite of the originals are charming in a self-conscious white boy sort of way. I really like their version of Ball of Confusion, albeit not quite as much as the Love & Rockets version. I totally agree with the reviewer’s assessment The Needle & The Damage Done. And Drive By is harmless self referential fun. This is where they should have stopped for me. I Want To Take You Higher, I Want To Take You Higher Again, Crystal Ships, & Lay, Lady, Lay should have been left in or better yet burned in the can. And as for Thank You it should been only used as the LP title. Fame, Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me), and Femme Fetale all are worthy if we need to mine the past for good covers. Matter of fact with digital music that would be my version of Thank You, thank you very much.