(L-R): Nick Rhodes, Simon LeBon, and Roger Taylor, 1985
|Genres||Art rock, synthpop|
|Associated acts||Duran Duran
The Power Station
|Past members||Simon Le Bon
Arcadia were a pop and art rock group formed in 1985 by Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor of Duran Duran, during a break in that band's schedule. The group, which was disbanded one year later in 1986, achieved great success mainly in the United States, in where their unique album So Red the Rose was certified Gold and Platinum. However, the band never toured. Drummer, Roger Taylor appeared in only a few band photographs and in none of the music videos, and stated he was only to be involved in the recording side of the project (he also had minor involvement in The Power Station, the other Duran Duran splinter group formed by Duran Duran members Andy and John Taylor alongside Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson of Chic mainly).
The name of the band was reportedly inspired by the Nicolas Poussin painting Et in Arcadia ego (also known as "The Arcadian Shepherds"). At the same time that So Red the Rose was in production, Asia were recording their third album, also tentatively titled "Arcadia". Prior to release, Asia renamed their project "Astra" to avoid confusion.
So Red the Rose (1985)
The group recorded just one album, the platinum-selling So Red the Rose. It peaked at Number 30 in the UK and Number 23 in the US, and featured the UK/US top 10 single "Election Day," as well as the top 40 hits "The Promise," and "Goodbye Is Forever", it also contains the single "The Flame" and the promo-singles "Missing", "El Diablo" and "Keep Me in the Dark".
Simon Le Bon described So Red the Rose as "the most pretentious album ever made," while Allmusic called it "the best album Duran Duran never made". Musicians who contributed to the album included guitarists David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and Carlos Alomar, pianist Herbie Hancock, Sting (who provided backing vocals on "The Promise"), Grace Jones (who provided the brief but dramatic spoken-word interlude on "Election Day"), bass player Mark Egan of the Pat Metheny Group (whose very distinctive fretless sound can be recognised in "The Promise", "El Diablo" and "Lady Ice") and David Van Tieghem, a percussionist from New York.
The band also realised music videos directed by Roger Christian, Marcelo Anciano, Russell Mulcahy and Dean Chamberlain, and recorded and released the single "Say the Word" for the Playing for Keeps movie soundtrack.
EMI re-released the album as a three disc box set 12 April 2010 in the UK and 20 April 2010 in the US. This remastered collected all permutations and remixes of tracks released by the band. The third disc comprised the video collection on DVD, but it does not include the video for "Say the Word". The remastered reissue of the album charted for a week in UK at No. 186 in October 2010.
Arcadia continued the Duran Duran tradition of a slick image, tasteful fashions and hair-dos. For the Arcadia incarnation of their ever-changing band aesthetic, Le Bon, Rhodes, and Roger Taylor donned an upmarket 'gothic' look of black tuxedos, vintage formal wear, and bow ties. The three also dyed their hair black, as seen when they performed (as Duran Duran, with Andy and John Taylor) at the 1985 Live Aid concert in Philadelphia. Although by the time the video for their single "The Flame" was made in early 1986 (in which, John Taylor made a cameo), Nick Rhodes had changed his hair colour to golden blond and Simon Le Bon returned to his regular highlighted hair style —this subsequent change of hairstyle anticipated the promotion of the forthcoming Duran Duran album, Notorious, released later that same year.
The group did a variety of promotional appearances on television, but never toured, and dissolved a year later in 1986 when Duran Duran re-formed with Le Bon, Rhodes, and bassist John Taylor to record their next album Notorious. During the tour to support Notorious, Duran Duran played the Arcadia single "Election Day", (emphasizing their live performance of the song at the Hollywood Rock Festival, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 8 January 1988) as well as "Some Like it Hot" from the Power Station record. Drummer Roger Taylor retired from the music business for 15 years after the release of the Arcadia album, but returned to rejoin the original Duran Duran line-up in 2001.
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications
|1985||So Red the Rose
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1985||"Election Day"||6||29||7||4||7||12||18||5||So Red the Rose|
|"Goodbye Is Forever"||33||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Say the Word"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Playing for Keeps (soundtrack)|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|1987||Arcadia||Picture Music International (MVP 9911382)|
|The Videos||Castle Communications (CMV 1054)|
|1985||"Election Day"||Roger Christian|
|"The Promise"||Marcelo Anciano|
|1986||"Goodbye Is Forever"|
|"The Flame"||Russell Mulcahy|
|"Say the Word"
(theme from Playing for Keeps)
|"Missing" (originally unreleased)||Dean Chamberlain|
- Arcadia Allmusic bio
- "Allmusic: Arcadia - (Biography)". Allmusic. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
- "ARCADIA So Red The Rose (1985 US Official RIAA certified Platinum LP award)". http://eil.com. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
- Hunt, Dennis (17 November 1985). "Le Bon Finds His Version Of Arcadia". Los Angeles Times (United States). Retrieved 2013-08-28.
- "Album Picks: Freezepop - ARTISTdirect News". Artistdirect.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- All Music
- "The Rightful Heir?". Q Magazine No. 48. September 1990. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
- "Chart Log UK – Weekly Updates Sales 2010". Zobbel.de. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- Arcadia (band) at AllMusic
- Steffen Hung (1985-12-13). "Swedish Charts Portal". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- Steffen Hung (1985-12-15). "New Zealand charts portal". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 27. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Arcadia (3) - Arcadia (VHS) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- "Arcadia (3) - The Videos (VHS) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- So Red The Rose Arcadia archive and fansite