Rio (song)

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DuranDuran Rio 12inch.jpg
12-inch vinyl single
Single by Duran Duran
from the album Rio
ReleasedAugust 1982 (Australia)
1 November 1982 (UK)
2 April 1983 (US)
RecordedJanuary–February 1982
at AIR Studios, London
  • 4:40 (Single Version)
  • 5:11 (Part 1)
  • 5:29 (Part 2)
  • 4:34 (US Single Version)
  • 3:57 (US Single Remix)
LabelEMI (UK)
Producer(s)Colin Thurston
Duran Duran singles chronology
"Save a Prayer"
"Is There Something I Should Know?"
Music video
"Rio" on YouTube

"Rio" is the seventh single by Duran Duran. It was first released as a single in Australia, in August 1982, followed by a UK release 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 October 1982 and became a Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart, peaking at #9 on 11 December 1982.[2]

"Rio" was released as the third single from the album in Australia, and debuted on the Kent Music Report top 100 singles chart dated 6 September 1982.[3]

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.[4] 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 as the band's 2nd US top 20 hit (peaking at #14).


The keyboard pattern for "Rio", well-known among Duran Duran fans and synthesizer enthusiasts, was produced by an arpeggiator—a tool which can play the individual notes in a chord in a chosen pattern. It was once rumoured 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.[5]

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.[6] 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 and was incorporated into Duran Duran live sets during Wickett's tenure.[7]

Originating from an idea by John Taylor about Rio de Janeiro – "the truly foreign, the exotic, a cornucopia of earthly delights, a party that would never stop" – Simon Le Bon wrote the lyrics to the song, but chose not to write about the place but about a girl named Rio.[8]

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

Music video[edit]

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. The yacht in the music video was the Eilean.[9][10] Short segments show band members trying to live out their assorted daydreams, only to be teased, tormented, and made fools of by body-painted vixen Reema Medawar (who married Costantino Ruspoli in 1990[11]).

The music video was shot over the course of three days in May 1982 on the island of Antigua.[12] 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. Some close ups were filmed later on the Solent due to a film processing error.

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 stock left to shoot this. He had to borrow a tourist's camera to shoot the part of John Taylor playing a saxophone on a mountaintop. When the video was featured on VH1's Pop-Up Video, it mentions that after the video was completed, Mulcahy, Simon Le Bon, 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."[13]

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.

Chart performance[edit]

B-sides, bonus tracks and remixes[edit]

There are 13 different official mixes of "Rio", many of which are edits of the album version or Kershenbaum remix with fades in various places.[19]

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)[20] released three new promo mixes of "Rio" in France.[21]

Complete list of versions[edit]

  1. "Rio" (Album Version) – 5:33
  2. "Rio" (Single Version) – 4:40
  3. "Rio" (Night Version) – 6:46
  4. "Rio" (Part 1) – 5:11
  5. "Rio" (Part 2) – 5:29
  6. "Rio" (Part 2) (Full 7'' Mix) – 5:02
  7. "Rio" (US Album Mix) – 5:24
  8. "Rio" (US Edit) – 4:44
  9. "Rio" (US Single Version) – 4:34
  10. "Rio" (US Single Mix) – 3:57
  11. "Rio" (UK promo Single Version) – 4:57
  12. "Rio" (Brazilian Edit) – 3:36
  13. "Rio" (Video Version) – 5:03

Additional information "Rio" versions[edit]

  • Rio "Single Version" was made available on CD, being part of a Japanese promo compilation released in 1988: I Don't Want Your...Special DJ Copy.
  • Rio "Night Version" is also known as "12 Inch Dance Version" or "Carnival Version".
  • Rio "Part 2 (Full 7'' Mix)" was originally released on the Japanese EP of "Carnival" in 1982. This version is also available on "a Japanese-only 2CD compilation of four previously released EP's: "Nite Romantics", "Carnival", "Tiger Tiger" & "Strange Behavior".
  • Rio "US Album Mix" appears on the promotional American 12" single for "Rio" and is also labelled as "Night Version" on an American split promo 12", being part of "Special Extended Selections".
  • Rio "US Edit" appears on the "Greatest" CD.
  • Rio "US Single Mix" was released on the US 7" reissue of Rio in 1983 and was remixed by David Kershenbaum.
  • Rio "UK Promo Single Version" was released as a "one-sided promo only" in 1982.
  • "Brazilian Edit" can be found on a Brazilian 4 track 7" EP.

Formats and track listing[edit]

7": EMI. / EMI 5346 United Kingdom[edit]

  1. "Rio" – 4:40
  2. "The Chauffeur (Blue Silver)" – 3:48
  • Track 1 is the "Single Version".
  • Track 2 is the "Early Version" and is a shorter acoustic version of the moody album track.

7": EMI. / EMI 5346 United Kingdom[edit]

  1. "Rio" – 5:11
  2. "The Chauffeur (Blue Silver)" – 3:48


Two different versions of this single were available in the UK, both with identical sleeves and labels.

12": EMI. / 12 EMI 5346 United Kingdom[edit]

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

7": Harvest. / B-5175 United States (1982)[edit]

  1. "Rio" (US Single version) – 4:34
  2. "Hold Back the Rain" (Album version) – 3:59

7": Capitol. / B-5215 United States (Reissue 1983)[edit]

  1. "Rio" (US Single remix) – 3:57
  2. "Hold Back the Rain" (US Album remix) – 6:32

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" (Carnival remix) – 4:34


Other appearances[edit]

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


Covers, samples, & media references[edit]

Cover versions of "Rio" have been recorded by Moby, 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, after he bemoaned how there were hundreds of songs about Jesus Christ, but only about 4 about him.

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" was also used for and against former 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.[22]

CSS collaborated with Simon Le Bon and John Taylor to record a cover of the song in 2016.[23]

The song also appears in several music video games:

Goldfinger version[edit]

Single by Goldfinger
from the album Duran Duran Tribute Album
ReleasedDecember 1997
GenreSka punk, punk rock
Songwriter(s)Duran Duran
Producer(s)Jay Rifkin and John Feldmann

In 1997 Goldfinger brought their version of Rio out, which first appeared on a tribute album of Duran Duran, then later on the albums Spokesman and The Best of Goldfinger.

Nicole Scherzinger version[edit]

Single by Nicole Scherzinger
ReleasedAugust 2008
LabelA&M, Interscope
Songwriter(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.[24] 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.[25]

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."[26]

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
Released3 June 2014
LabelModern Records
Songwriter(s)Duran Duran
Moby singles chronology
"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
"Almost Love"

The song was recreated by Moby for the compilation album Making Patterns Rhyme.[27]


  1. ^ People Weekly, Vol. 62. Time, Incorporated. 2004. "But the big-haired lineup that gave us such '80s synth-pop hits as "Girls on Film," "Hungry Like the Wolf" and "Rio" has reunited for Astronaut, which finds the group taking creative flight again."
  2. ^ a b "Official Charts > Duran Duran". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. p. 97. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  4. ^ Audio recordings of the station obtained by industry publication Radio & Records show in an archived column written by Adam Jacobson.
  5. ^ "Vintage Synth Explorer". Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 June 2006. Retrieved 15 June 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 October 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ John Taylor In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, and Duran Duran 2012, chapter 33
  9. ^ Long, Mark (29 May 2013). "Object of Desire: The Restored Yacht Eilean". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  10. ^ Ellwood, Mark (17 October 2017). "Duran Duran video yacht rescued by luxe watch CEO". New York Post. News Corp. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  11. ^ England and Wales General Register Office, Kensington and Chelsea, November 1990, vol. 30 p. 969
  12. ^ Nick Rhodes (9 November 2008). "Flashback: November 1982". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group.
  13. ^ Odell, Michael. "Duran Duran: In their own words Archived 2 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine". The Observer, 16 November 2003.
  14. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 29 June 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  15. ^ "Top 100 1983-05-21". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 29 June 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  17. ^ "Top 100 Year End Charts: 1983". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  18. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 463. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
  19. ^ "Duran Duran Rio". Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  20. ^ "Recall 22 Discography". Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  21. ^ "Duran Duran - Rio (Recall 22 Mixes) (CDr)". Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  22. ^ "Rogue Wave covers Duran Duran". Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  23. ^ "CSS cover Duran Duran for Rio Olympics". Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  24. ^ " - Hotmail, Outlook, Skype, Bing, Latest News, Photos & Videos". Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  25. ^ Nicole Scherzinger - "Rio" official video from CaressBrazilian on YouTube
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 April 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ Grow, Kory (27 May 2014). "Hear Moby's Dusky Take on Duran Duran's 'Rio'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 November 2016.

External links[edit]