Planet Earth (song)

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"Planet Earth"
Single by Duran Duran
from the album Duran Duran
B-side "Late Bar"
Released 2 February 1981
Format 7" vinyl single, 12" vinyl single
Recorded Red Bus Studios, London December 1980
Genre Synthpop, New Wave
Length 3:59
Label EMI, Capitol (EMI 5137)
Writer(s) Duran Duran
Producer(s) Colin Thurston
Duran Duran singles chronology
"Planet Earth"
(1981)
"Careless Memories"
(1981)
Duran Duran track listing
"Girls on Film"
(1)
"Planet Earth"
(2)
"Anyone Out There"
(3)
Arena track listing
"Union of the Snake"
(8)
"Planet Earth"
(9)
"Careless Memories"
(10)
Greatest track listing
"Hungry Like the Wolf
(7)
"Girls on Film"
(8)
"Planet Earth"
(9)

"Planet Earth" is the debut single by the English pop rock band Duran Duran, released on 2 February 1981.

It was an immediate hit in the band's native UK, reaching #12 on the UK Singles Chart on 21 February, and did even better in Australia, hitting #8 to become Duran Duran's first Top 10 hit anywhere in the world.

The song later appeared on the band's eponymous debut album Duran Duran, released in June, 1981.

About the song[edit]

"Planet Earth" begins with a slow synthesised sweep backed with electronic rhythm, but the real rhythm section of throbbing bass and crisp drums soon kick in. Muted guitar carries the up-and-down melodic hook of the song as the singer joins in.

The song was the first to explicitly acknowledge the fledgling New Romantic fashion movement, with the line "Like some New Romantic looking for the TV sound".

The original demo had an extra verse at the end, as can be heard in the Manchester Square Demo version, released in 2009:

"I came outside I saw the nightfall with the rain, Sheet lightning flashes in my brain, Whatever happened to the world we used to know? I've got you coming over fear now."

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was directed by future film director Russell Mulcahy, who would go on to direct a dozen more for the group.

Fairly primitive by the band's later standards, the video features the band (dressed in frilly, floppy New Romantic fashions) playing the song on a white stage tricked out with special effects to look like a platform made of ice or crystal. Interspersed with the performance are shots of the band members alongside the four elements. The video focused closely on the band's faces. The instrumental middle section features friends of the band from the Rum Runner nightclub dancing in their outlandish outfits. Various world facts cross the screen as the video plays, including: "The area of the surface of the earth is 196,937,600 miles"; "247860 people are born every day"; "The oldest known song is the Shaduf Chant"; and then it ends with a warning of "Doomsday." At the end of the video, singer Simon Le Bon leaps from the stage, caught in a freeze frame shot above an apparently bottomless abyss.

The video was recreated in the music video for The Dandy Warhols' "You Were the Last High" (which was produced by Nick Rhodes, the band's keyboardist).

B-sides, bonus tracks and remixes[edit]

For most countries, the B-side track for the "Planet Earth" 45 is a concert favorite called "Late Bar" which was one of the earliest songs Duran Duran had written together after their classic Le Bon/Rhodes/Taylor/Taylor/Taylor lineup had solidified.[citation needed] However, the B-side track for the North American release of "Planet Earth" is "To The Shore".

Beginning with "Planet Earth", Duran Duran began creating what they called "night versions" for each of their songs: extended versions that were featured on their 12-inch singles. Back in 1981, the technology to do extended remixes was still quite rudimentary, so the band chose instead to create a new arrangement of the song, loosely based on the version they were playing live at the time. This formed the basis for the "night version".

The "Night Version" of "Planet Earth" appeared in place of the original on some early US releases of the Duran Duran album.

In addition to the 12", the night version of "Planet Earth" was included on the EPs Nite Romantics and Carnival.

For the 1999 remix album Strange Behaviour, EMI inadvertently unearthed unreleased alternative mixes of both "Planet Earth" and "Hold Back The Rain".

Chart positions[edit]

Chart Peak
position
UK Singles Chart 12
Australian Singles Chart 8
Irish Singles Chart 14
Portugal Singles Chart 1


Cover versions[edit]

  • The song was covered by Italo dance duo Dav*Isa and released on single in 1995.
  • "Planet Earth" was covered by Hate Dept. on the 80's New Wave industrial cover album Newer Wave 2.0 in 1998.
  • The song was covered by UK pop punk band Cranial Screwtop and appears on the album Too Fast for Technology from 2006.
  • Cheryl Cole's song "Stand Up" references the "bop bop" part of "Planet Earth"'s chorus.[1]
  • The song was covered by William Shatner on his 2011 album "Seeking Major Tom"
  • The Song Was covered by The Wonder Stuff in 2012 as part of their "From the Midlands with Love" series, a tribute to musical acts from the English Midlands.

Track listing[edit]

Release information pertains to UK release only.

7": EMI EMI 5137[edit]

  1. "Planet Earth" – 3:59
  2. "Late Bar" – 2:54

12": EMI 12 EMI 5137[edit]

  1. "Planet Earth (Night Version)" – 6:20
  2. "Planet Earth" – 3:59
  3. "Late Bar" – 2:54

CD: Part of "Singles Box Set 1981-1985" boxset[edit]

  1. "Planet Earth" – 3:59
  2. "Late Bar" – 2:54
  3. "Planet Earth (Night Version)" – 6:20

Other appearances[edit]

Apart from the single, "Planet Earth" has also appeared on:

Albums:

Personnel[edit]

Duran Duran are:

Also credited:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reviewed by Simon Price (2009-10-25). "Album: Cheryl Cole, 3 Words, Polydor - Reviews - Music". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-06-15. 

External links[edit]