Union of the Snake
|"Union of the Snake"|
|Single by Duran Duran|
|from the album Seven and the Ragged Tiger|
|Released||17 October 1983|
|Recorded||Sydney, Australia, 1983|
|Genre||New wave, synthpop|
|Duran Duran singles chronology|
"Union of the Snake" was the lead single from the band's third album Seven and the Ragged Tiger and preceded its release by one month. It became one of Duran Duran's most popular career singles, hitting #1 in Cash Box and peaking at #3 on both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at the end of 1983.
About the song
After a song-writing session near Cannes in France, much of the band's third album was recorded at George Martin's Air Studios on the Caribbean island of Montserrat with producer Alex Sadkin, then mixed at 301 Studios in Sydney. Mixing for "Union of the Snake" was done right up to the last minute before the tapes had to be turned over to EMI for pressing.
Lyricist Simon Le Bon (notoriously reticent about explaining his oblique lyrics) hinted in the Duran Duran lyric book The Book of Words that the borderline might be one between the conscious and subconscious minds. In later interviews, he proclaimed that it was a reference to Tantric sex.
The video for "Union of the Snake" was conceived by Russell Mulcahy, who directed many of the heavy rotation videos for songs from Duran Duran's previous album Rio. However, as Mulcahy was busy preparing to direct the concert film Arena and the documentary film Sing Blue Silver during the band's world tour, the video for "Union" was actually directed by Simon Milne (who also filmed videos for Kajagoogoo and Missing Persons). There was a bit of controversy surrounding the video as it was released to MTV a whole week before the single was released on radio. Radio stations were anxious at the time because they were concerned that channels like MTV might supplant them in the promotion of singles.
The clip, filmed in part in sandhills near Cronulla, features the band being tracked through the Australian desert by a half-man, half-snake creature. They eventually take a lift beneath the sands into what appears to be an underground cathedral, where the snake creature and other bizarre characters interact with vocalist Le Bon. The band's other members make only brief appearances in the video.
The use of expensive sets, costumes and makeup foreshadowed the over-the-top nature of videos to come, including a 17-minute epic video for "New Moon on Monday", the massively expensive video for "The Wild Boys", and the extravagant concept/live film Arena.
B-sides, bonus tracks and remixes
The B-side to "Union of the Snake" was the atmospheric piece "Secret Oktober". Twenty-four hours before the master tapes of the single were to be delivered to EMI for distribution, singer Simon Le Bon and keyboardist Nick Rhodes wrote and mixed the B-side "Secret Oktober" in an all-night recording session.
Also included on the 12" was an extended remix of the single, titled "Union of the Snake (Monkey Mix)".
|UK Singles Chart||3|
|US Billboard Hot 100||3|
|US Cash Box 100||1|
|Canadian Singles Chart||2|
|Australian Singles Chart||4|
|Irish Singles Chart||5|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||8|
|Swedish Singles Chart||16|
|US Billboard Hot 100||43|
7": EMI / EMI 5429 (UK)
- "Union of the Snake" – 4:24
- "Secret Oktober" – 2:47
7": Capitol / Capitol B-5290 (US)
- "Union of the Snake" – 4:20
- "Secret Oktober" – 2:44
12": EMI / EMI 5429 (UK)
- "Union of the Snake (Monkey Mix)" – 6:27
- "Union of the Snake (7 Inch Version)" – 4:24
- "Secret Oktober" – 2:47
- Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983)
- Arena (1984)
- Decade (1989)
- Night Versions: The Essential Duran Duran (US only, 1998)
- Greatest (1998)
- Strange Behaviour (1999)
- "Live from London (Duran Duran)"
Duran Duran are:
- Simon Le Bon – vocals
- Nick Rhodes – keyboards
- John Taylor – bass guitar
- Roger Taylor – drums
- Andy Taylor – guitar
- Alex Sadkin – producer
- Ian Little – producer
- Andy Hamilton – Soprano & Tenor Saxophone
- Michelle Cobbs – backing vocals
- B.J. Nelson – backing vocals
- Raphael Dejesus – percussion
- Mark Kennedy – percussion
- Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.