Planet Earth (Duran Duran song)

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"Planet Earth"
Duran planet earth.jpg
Single by Duran Duran
from the album Duran Duran
B-side"Late Bar"
Released2 February 1981
RecordedRed Bus Studios, London December 1980
  • 3:59 (Single Version)
  • 6:20 (Night Version)
Songwriter(s)Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor, James Bates
Producer(s)Colin Thurston
Duran Duran singles chronology
"Planet Earth"
"Careless Memories"
Music video
"Planet Earth" on YouTube

"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 mid-tempo synthesised sweep backed with sequenced electronic rhythm, but the real rhythm section of throbbing bass and crisp drums soon kick in. Muted guitar carries the up-and-down throbbing 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 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, including Steve Strange, dancing in their full New Romantic regalia. In an apocalyptic science-fiction style, various world facts slide cross the bottom of the screen as the video plays, including: "the area of the surface of the earth is 196,937,600 miles"; "247,860 people are born every day"; "the oldest known song is the Shadoof 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".

The alternative mix of "Planet Earth" which is called "Night Mix" also appears on the special edition of Duran Duran's first album, released in 2010.

Formats and track listing[edit]

7": EMI. / EMI 5137 United Kingdom[edit]

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

12": EMI. / 12 EMI 5137 United Kingdom[edit]

  1. "Planet Earth (Night Version)" – 6:18
  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)" – 6:18

CD: Part of Duran Duran 2010 Special Edition (CD2)[edit]

  1. "Planet Earth (Night Mix)" – 7:00
  • Released in 2010
  • This rare alternative version can also be found on the Strange Behaviour remix album, released in 1999.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart Peak
UK Singles Chart 12
Australia (Kent Music Report)[1] 8
French Singles Chart[2] 70
French Airplay Chart[3] 1
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.[4]
  • The song was covered by William Shatner on his 2011 album Seeking Major Tom.
  • In 2011, Psychobilly band The Quakes covered the song on the compilation Rockabilly & Psychobilly Madness.
  • 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.

Other appearances[edit]

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




  1. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  2. ^ "Infodisc : Tout les Titres par D". Archived from the original on 19 May 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  3. ^ "The World's Music Charts (Song artist 100 - Duran Duran)". Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  4. ^ Simon Price (2009-10-25). "Album: Cheryl Cole, 3 Words, Polydor - Reviews - Music". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-06-15.

External links[edit]