Rio (song)

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Single by Duran Duran
from the album Rio
B-side "The Chauffeur (Blue Silver)" (UK)
"Hold Back the Rain" (US)
Released 1 November 1982 (UK)
2 April 1983 (US)
Format 7", 12"
Recorded January–February 1982
at AIR Studios, London
Length 5:38 (Album / International 7")
4:34 (US 7" Edit)
5:15 (A View To A Kill single)
Writer(s) Duran Duran
Producer(s) Colin Thurston
Duran Duran singles chronology
"Save a Prayer"
"Is There Something I Should Know?"

"Rio" is the seventh single by Duran Duran, released on 1 November 1982.

The song was the fourth, final, and title single lifted from the band's album of the same name, and was edited for its release. It was issued worldwide in January 1983 and became an immediate Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart, peaking at #9 on 11 December 1982.

The song did not attract much notice in the United States upon its initial global release, but received very early airplay at highly influential KROQ in Los Angeles as early as 2 August 1982.[1] After the band's breakthrough hit "Hungry Like the Wolf" stormed MTV and scaled the American charts in December 1982, radio programmers paid closer attention to the catchy melody and insistent, intricate bass line of "Rio", and Capitol Records reissued the single in March 1983 to great success.

It is one of the band's most recognizable songs, mostly due to its famous music video, which is widely regarded as symbolic of 1980s glamour and excess.

About the song[edit]

The musical hook for "Rio", well-known among Duran Duran fans and synthesizer enthusiasts, was produced by an arpeggiator—a software tool which can play the individual notes in a chord in a chosen pattern. It was once rumored that the synthesiser used to achieve this was a Roland Jupiter-8. However, it has been said by Nick Rhodes to actually be a Roland Jupiter-4 using the random mode on the arpeggiator with a Cmaj7 chord.[2]

Rhodes created the unusual sound at the beginning of the song by throwing several small metal rods onto the strings of a grand piano in the studio. The recorded sound was then reversed to create the intro.[3] The laughter on the track was that of Rhodes' girlfriend at the time.

The song's verse was musically inspired by their earlier song "See Me, Repeat Me" and the chorus was taken from "Stevie's Radio Station", a song written by TV Eye which featured singer Andy Wickett who went on to be one of Duran Duran's early singers. The song was a favourite of Nick and John's and was incorporated into Duran Duran live sets during Wickett's tenure.[4]

The Tenor saxophone solo was performed by Andy Hamilton, who has also worked with Wham! and Elton John amongst others.

Music video[edit]

Music Video: Duran Duran - Rio (2003 Digital Remaster) on YouTube

Director Russell Mulcahy filmed the vivid music video for "Rio", which featured iconic images of the band in Antony Price suits, singing and playing around on a yacht speeding over the crystal blue Caribbean Sea. Short segments show band members trying to live out their assorted daydreams, only to be teased, tormented, and made fools of by a body-painted vixen Reema Ruspoli.

The music video was shot over the course of three days in May 1982 on the island of Antigua. The yacht scenes were filmed on the bay at English Harbour, the beach scenes at Miller's Beach, and the segment featuring the raft at Shirley Heights. Director Mulcahy originally planned a scene where the band members got chased off the island by people wielding guns, but didn't have enough film footage left to shoot this. He had to borrow a tourist's camera to shoot the part of Nick Rhodes playing a saxophone on a raft. When the video was featured on VH1's Pop-up Video, it mentions that after the video was completed, Mulcahy, Simon LeBon, and John Taylor went for a swim and were inches away from sharks when the yacht captain yelled for them to get out of the water. Nick Rhodes was reportedly seasick during the filming, and has often said "I hate boats unless they're tied up and you're having cocktails on them."[5]

While in Antigua, the band also filmed a video for the album track "Night Boat", which appeared with "Rio" and nine other videos on the Duran Duran video album released in 1983.

B-sides, bonus tracks and remixes[edit]

There are thirteen different, official mixes of "Rio", many of which are edits of the album version or Kershenbaum remix with fades in various places.[6]

The B-side of the November 1982 original United Kingdom single was "The Chauffeur (Blue Silver)", an acoustic version of the moody album track. The B-side of the April 1983 reissue in the United States was an upbeat remix of "Hold Back The Rain". The B-side of the 12" single included a remix of "My Own Way".

In 1998 Recall 22 (Dan Bewick and Matt Frost)[7] released three new promo mixes of "Rio" in France.[8]

Covers, samples, & media references[edit]

Cover versions of "Rio" have been recorded by Goldfinger, Bodyjar, Cranial Screwtop, Nip Drivers and Nicole Scherzinger.

Nirvana performed the song "Rio" during the Hollywood Rock show in Brazil, on 16 January 1993, and Barenaked Ladies played "Rio" live in Calgary on 1 April 2004, among other occasions. The song was also played acoustically on the 2007 Ships and Dips Cruise.

Green Day played it live briefly on their 21st Century Breakdown World Tour.

The music video for the Fountains of Wayne song "Mexican Wine" is partially based on the video for "Rio."

Parts of the song were sung by Santa Claus on "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics" South Park episode.

It has been referenced in the lyrics of the 2005 UK #1 hit by Arctic Monkeys, "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor": "Your name isn't Rio, but I don't care for sand". The Killers also referenced the song in "On Top".

In 2008, for their video "Never Too Late", Hedley released a shot-for-shot remake of the video.

"Rio" is also used for and against the England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, as a chant sung 'His name is Rio, Rio, Rio Ferdinand'.

Darren Criss as Blaine Anderson and Matt Bomer as Cooper Anderson covered this song as a mash-up with another Duran Duran song, "Hungry Like the Wolf" in the third season of Glee. Also, during the iTunes trailer for the film Alpha and Omega, both songs can be heard (except the song, "Hungry Like The Wolf," is the instrumental part at the beginning of the song).

California indie rock band Rogue Wave performed a version of the song in July 2013 for The A.V. Club '​s A.V. Undercover: Summer Break series.[9]

The song also appears in several music video games:

Chart positions[edit]

Weekly singles charts[edit]

Chart (1982-83) Peak
UK 9
US Billboard Hot 100 14
Canada 3
Ireland 9
Australia 60

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Duran Duran.

7": EMI EMI 5346 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Rio" – 4:40
  2. "The Chauffeur (Blue Silver)" – 3:48

12": EMI 12 EMI 5346 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Rio (Part 2)" – 5:29
  2. "Rio (Part 1)" – 5:11
  3. "My Own Way" [remix] – 4:34

7": Harvest B-5175 (US)[edit]

  1. "Rio (Edited Version)" – 4:34
  2. "Hold Back the Rain" [original LP version] – 3:59

7": Capitol B-5215 (US - March 1983 reissue)[edit]

  1. "Rio" [remix] – 3:57
  2. "Hold Back the Rain" [US album remix] – 6:57

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

  1. "Rio (Part 1)" – 5:11
  2. "The Chauffeur (Blue Silver)" – 3:48
  3. "Rio (Part 2)" – 5:29
  4. "My Own Way" [remix] – 4:34


Other appearances[edit]

Apart from the single, "Rio" has also appeared on:


Nicole Scherzinger version[edit]

Single by Nicole Scherzinger
from the album Her Name Is Nicole
Released August 2008
Format CD single
Recorded 2007-2008
Genre R&B, pop
Length 3:39
Label A&M, Interscope
Writer(s) Duran Duran
Producer(s) Ron Fair, JR Rotem, Ben H. Allen
Nicole Scherzinger singles chronology
"Nobody Can Change Me"

Nicole Scherzinger (lead vocalist for the Pussycat Dolls) recorded a remixed cover of "Rio" as a promotion for Caress Brazilian body wash from Unilever.[10] The song was released to radio on 28 July 2008 and as a CD single in August 2008. The music video shows Scherzinger performing in a pink dress in front of a crowd, with flowers appearing all around her as she sings on stage.[11]

Of the cover, Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon said "When we were first approached about Nicole doing a version of 'Rio' for this campaign, we thought it was the perfect fit. She's exotic and beautiful and embodies everything that inspired the original version. Because it's one of our signature songs very few people have covered it over the years, so it has been great for us to hear a new interpretation."[12]

Track listing[edit]

2-track CD single[edit]

  1. "Rio (Caress Brazilian Mix)"
  2. "Rio (Caress Brazilian Mix)" (Instrumental)

CD single maxi jewelcase[edit]

  1. "Rio" (Caress Brazilian Mix)
  2. "Rio" (Caress Brazilian Mix) (Instrumental)
  3. "Rio" (dance Remix)
  4. "Rio" (Video)
  5. The making of the "Rio" (Caress Brazilian Mix)" video

Moby version[edit]

Single by Moby
from the album Making Patterns Rhyme
Released 3 June 2014
Format Music download
Genre Electronic
Length 5:34
Label Modern Records
Writer(s) Duran Duran
Producer(s) Moby
Moby singles chronology
Lucky Date)
Only Thing
Julie Mintz)"

"Rio" is a single of Moby. The song is recreated by him for one compilation album: Making Patterns Rhyme.[13]


External links[edit]