The Chauffeur

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"The Chauffeur"
Song by Duran Duran from the album Rio
Released May 10, 1982
Recorded January–February 1982
at AIR Studios, London
Genre New wave, synthpop, art pop
Length 5:22
Label EMI/Capitol
Producer Colin Thurston
Rio track listing
"Save a Prayer"
(8)
"The Chauffeur"
(9)
N/A
"The Chauffeur"
Single by Duran Duran
A-side "Rio"
Released 1 November 1982 (UK)
March 1983 (US)
Recorded Bob Lamb Recording Studio, Kings Heath, Birmingham UK
Genre Acoustic, new wave
Length 3:48
Label EMI/Capitol
Producer(s) Bob Lamb
Duran Duran singles chronology
"Save a Prayer"
(1982)
"Rio"
(1982)
"Is There Something I Should Know?"
(1983)

"The Chauffeur" is a Duran Duran song from their second album Rio. The lyrics were first written by Simon Le Bon as a poem in 1978, two years before he joined the band. Two different versions of the song were originally recorded by Duran Duran, and the song has been covered by three mainstream artists. Two music videos of the song have been made at different times, by different directors. Unusually for the band, the song's title does not appear anywhere in the song's lyrics, but the refrain from the song has been used by Duran Duran as the title of both a tour video and a book.

The song[edit]

The origins of the lyrics for "The Chauffeur" have become part of the Duran Duran legend.[1] In May 1980, while the band were working for Paul and Michael Berrow, who at the time ran the Rum Runner night club in Birmingham, one of the Rum Runner bar maids recommended her ex-boyfriend to be their new lead singer. Simon Le Bon auditioned in May 1980, bringing with him a book of poetry and lyrics, including the lyrics to the song which would eventually become The Chauffeur.[2]

The word chauffeur does not appear in the lyric at any point, however the song is written from the point of view of someone who is driving another person, a woman, on a hot day.[3]

Some versions of the song feature words at the end of the track, spoken sotto voce by a man. This monologue is taken from a natural history recording - the man is speaking about insects in the grass.[4]

The song refrain "sing blue silver" was used as the title of the band's video covering its 1983-84 tour. A book of the same name was also produced to support the tour, showcasing still photography by official tour photographer Denis O'Regan.

The flute-like instrument heard toward the end of the song is an ocarina played by Simon Le Bon.

Music videos[edit]

The Chauffeur is one of two non-single tracks on Rio to have its own music video. None of the band appear in the video. It is a moody black-and-white piece inspired in part by Liliana Cavani's 1974 film, The Night Porter,[5] and the photography of Helmut Newton.[6][7] A woman in an erotic costume is driven in a Vanden Plas Princess limousine by a uniformed chauffeur. Elsewhere, another woman dresses herself carefully in lingerie and walks through the streets of London towards a rendezvous in an abandoned multi-storey car park. The chauffeur watches while a third woman (Perri Lister), a topless blonde in an open-bust corset, performs a sensuous dance to the accompaniment of the instrumental coda of the song — clearly an homage to Charlotte Rampling's topless "Dance of the Seven Veils" in The Night Porter.

The video featured on the 1983 video album entitled Duran Duran. It has also been included on the 1999 "Greatest VHS compilation and 2003 "Duran Duran: Greatest — The DVD" compilation.

Sleepthief created a video to accompany the release of The Chauffeur as a single,[8] featuring project member Kirsty Hawkshaw. In this video, which seems at first to have a lighter, dreamier tone than the original, a uniformed chauffeur at separate times drives two different women in evening clothes to an assignation with a man. The women encounter each other twice at the man's house, the first time to observe the assignation, the second time to encounter a murder. The chauffeur then drives the two women away.

Song versions[edit]

1."The Chauffeur" (5:22) - The standard version of the song. Probably Duran Duran's most known non-single song.
2."The Chauffeur (Blue Silver)" (3:48) - Early acoustic demo version of the song that got its only official releases as one of the b-sides on the "Rio" single and a b-side of the Come Undone CD Single in 1994. This version of the song is almost two minutes shorter than the final version.

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

CD[edit]

Capitol C2 0777 7 15981 2 8 (US: "Come Undone 2")

  1. "Come Undone (US Remix)" – 4:20
  2. "Falling Angel" – 3:54
  3. "To the Shore" [alternate version] – 4:03
  4. "The Chauffeur" ["Blue Silver" version] – 3:50
  1. "US Remix" actually "Churban Mix"

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

Appearances on other Duran Duran albums[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

  • Deftones - B-Sides & Rarities. This version was used in the film Resident Evil:Apocalypse and appears on the Resident Evil: Apocalypse-Original Soundtrack CD [9] and on The Duran Duran Tribute Album.[10]
  • Sleepthief - on the album The Dawnseeker [11] Sleepthief have recorded ten remixes of the song, which were released as an EPon iTunes in 2007.[12] Sleepthief also created a video to accompany the release of The Chauffeur as a single.
  • The LoveCrave - Italian gothic rock band The LoveCrave included a cover of The Chauffeur on their 2006 album The Angel and the Rain
  • Sneaker Pimps - British trip-hop band Sneaker Pimps recorded the cover of The Chauffeur for a various artist album Meli-Melo
  • Tre lux - recorded a cover of The Chauffuer that features on the album A Strange Gathering released in September 2006
  • Josh Gabriel Gabriel & Dresden recorded a cover under the release Josh Gabriel Pres. Winter Kills - Winter Kills. Released in June 2011.
  • The Hidden Cameras and Snowblink collaborated on a cover for the compilation album Arts & Crafts: X.[13]
  • Warpaint - recorded a cover of The Chauffeur which was released on June 17, 2014 on Modern Records
  • Brutto - recorded a cover of The Chauffeur which was released on September 12, 2014 on the album Underdog

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Simon Le Bon: You Ask The Questions". The Independent on Sunday (London: Independent News & Media (INM)). 25 May 2005. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  2. ^ "Simon Le Bon: You Ask The Questions". London: The Independent. 2005-05-25. Retrieved 2005-05-25. 
  3. ^ "The Chauffeur". Duran Duran Official Website. Duran Duran. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  4. ^ "Ask Katy". Official Duran Duran Website. Duran Duran. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  5. ^ McKay, Ian McKay (July 23, 2009). "Charles Mehling". Filmografia di Liliana Cavani. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  6. ^ "Airport Chauffeured Cars". Official Airport Chauffeured Cars website. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  7. ^ Cole, Sheri Kathleen (Spring 1999). "I am the eye, you are my victim: the pornographic ideology of music video". Enculturaton (Website hosted by George Mason University) 2 (2). 
  8. ^ "Official Music Video for "The Chauffeur" featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw from the album THE DAWNSEEKER". Sleepthief on MySpace. MySpace. March 1, 2007. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  9. ^ (Audio CD issued 30 Aug 2004, Roadrunner, B0002QPTGW)
  10. ^ "Duran Duran Tribute Album". B000005AYQ. Mojo. 
  11. ^ Elliott, Russell W (26 April 2006). "Sleepthief: The Dawnseeker". Musical Discoveries. Musical Discoveries. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  12. ^ Arjan, Arjan (August 11, 2007). "Sleepthief Covers Duran Duran's "The Chauffeur"". arjanwrites.com. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  13. ^ "The Hidden Cameras Release 7-Inch in Advance of 'Age' LP". Exclaim!, July 4, 2013.

External links[edit]