Save a Prayer

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"Save a Prayer"
Save A Prayer.jpg
Single by Duran Duran
from the album Rio
  • "Hold Back the Rain" (Remix)
  • "Save a Prayer" (From the Arena)
  • "Careless Memories (From the Arena)"
Released9 August 1982
RecordedJanuary–February 1982
StudioAIR Studios
(London, England)
Length5:32 (Album Version)
3:45 (US Single Version)
Producer(s)Colin Thurston
Duran Duran singles chronology
"Hungry Like the Wolf"
"Save a Prayer"
Music video
"Save a Prayer" on YouTube

"Save a Prayer" is the sixth single by the English new wave band Duran Duran, released on 9 August 1982. The song was the third single taken from their second album Rio (1982). It became Duran Duran's biggest hit (at the time) in the UK Singles Chart, reaching number two, held out of the top spot by Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger".

It was not originally issued as a single in the United States, although the music video was very popular on MTV. A special US single version was finally released in January 1985 and reached number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100.


The song is in D mixolydian aeolian. It opens with an arpeggiated delay treated-synthesizer riff which plays in the background throughout the song.

Critical reception[edit]

AllMusic journalist Donald A. Guarisco described the song in a retrospective review, as being "a lilting epic". He wrote: "The music maintains the stormily romantic quality of the lyric by combining meditative verses with an aching chorus that swells and ebbs in a way that perfectly captures the song's heartbreak."[1]

Music video[edit]

The video was filmed by director Russell Mulcahy among the jungles, beaches, and temples of Sri Lanka in April 1982. Scenes were filmed atop the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya, among the ruins of a Buddhist temple at Polonnaruwa and the island's southern coastline, with Simon Le Bon appearing in Speedos.

The shoot was a difficult but memorable experience for the band. Simon Le Bon and Roger and John Taylor went ahead to the location while Andy Taylor and Nick Rhodes were in London finishing mixes for the Rio album and B sides.[2] They had almost no time after that was done to change clothes before catching their flight, and Rhodes wore the same leather jacket and trousers he had been wearing against the London chill.[3][4]

When they arrived in Colombo, it was very hot, and Rhodes was uncomfortable in his clothing. Taylor reassured him they would be in their hotel soon and could relax. The driver who met them in a flatbed truck informed them it would be several hours' driving time to Kandy in the centre of the country, where the band were lodged. Along the way they were struck by the poverty they witnessed.[2][4]

During the filming of the scene where the band members were riding elephants, a female elephant made a strange sound. One of the crew had recorded it, and found it funny enough to play back. It turned out to be the elephant's mating call, which led the elephant carrying Roger Taylor to charge downhill and attempt to mount the female. "It was funny as hell, but quite hairy for a moment," says Rhodes.[4]

While perched on a branch over a lagoon and miming playing his guitar, an intoxicated Andy Taylor fell into the water. He accidentally swallowed some, and had to be hospitalized during the band's subsequent Australian tour due to a tropical virus he contracted at that time. The band members all initially refused to do the scene where an elephant sprays water from its trunk onto one of them due to its homoerotic overtones; they finally settled on John Taylor since he was the band's pin-up boy. He would be teased about it for years afterwards.[2] "I didn't care," he wrote in 2012. "I loved it. It is one of my most treasured memories."[5]

Andy Taylor recalls in his memoirs that the shooting at the temple was very tense, since the country was on the verge of civil war and the temple's monks were impatiently waiting for their leader to arrive and address a large political gathering. The band members wore bare feet in deference to the temple's religious importance, frequently scorching themselves on the bare rock they were standing on. During some takes, the band members yelled "Fuck you Russell!" instead of mouthing the lyrics. For one scene, Le Bon and Rhodes were dropped off from a helicopter that could not itself land on the monument.[4]

A live version of the song was released in 1985. On the live version Simon Le Bon dedicates the song to Marvin Gaye, who had been fatally shot the day before the concert was recorded in April 1984. The video was taken from Duran Duran's Oakland, California concerts that were filmed for the Arena (An Absurd Notion) video.

B-sides, bonus tracks and remixes[edit]

The UK release of "Save a Prayer" was backed with a remix of "Hold Back the Rain".

Complete list of versions[edit]

  1. "Save a Prayer" [Single Version] – 5:24
  2. "Save a Prayer" [Album Version] – 5:33
  3. "Save a Prayer" [Video Version] – 6:03
  4. "Save a Prayer" [Australian Promo Edit] – 4:10
  5. "Save a Prayer" [Brazilian Edit] – 4:04
  6. "Save a Prayer" [US Single version] – 3:44
  7. "Save a Prayer" [Special Edited version] – 3:55
  8. "Save a Prayer" [Japanese Single version] – 4:00

 Note: song differences

  • Single Version: at approximately 4:35 "Save a prayer 'til the morning after" is repeated 4 times until fade out.
  • Album Version: at approximately 4:35 "Save a prayer 'til the morning after" is repeated 6 times until fade out.
  • Video Version: at approximately 4:41 "Save a prayer 'til the morning after" is repeated 12 times until fade out.
  • The synthesizer riff in the Video Version is repeated 4 times during the intro, while the synthesizer riff on the album and single version gets repeated only twice.

Formats and track listing[edit]

Live version[edit]

"Save a Prayer (US Single Version)"
Single by Duran Duran
B-side"Save a Prayer" (From the Arena) (Edited)
ReleasedJanuary 1985
RecordedAIR Studios, London 1982
Songwriter(s)Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor, Nick Rhodes
Producer(s)Colin Thurston
Duran Duran singles chronology
"The Wild Boys"
"Save a Prayer (US Single Version)"
"A View to a Kill"

"Save a Prayer (Live)" is the fourth track from the album Arena. Capitol Records released an edited version as B-side of the single "Save a Prayer" (US Single Version) in the United States in January 1985. The single peaked at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending 16 March 1985.

The release was accompanied by a new live video, drawn from footage shot in 1984 for the concert film Arena.

Chart positions[edit]

Charts (1982-85) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[6] 56
French Airplay Chart 1
Brazilian Airplay Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart 2
UK Singles Chart 2
US Billboard Hot 100 16

Other appearances[edit]


Duran Duran:

Also credited:

Cover versions[edit]

Eagles of Death Metal version[edit]

"Save a Prayer"
Single by Eagles of Death Metal
from the album Zipper Down
ReleasedNovember 2015
FormatDigital download
LabelDowntown Records
Songwriter(s)Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor, Nick Rhodes
Producer(s)Joshua Homme
Eagles of Death Metal singles chronology
"Save a Prayer"

A cover version of the song appears on Eagles of Death Metal's 2015 album, Zipper Down.[7] Duran Duran and Eagles of Death Metal played the song together on TFI Friday.[8][9] Following the November 2015 Paris attacks, a Facebook campaign was launched to get the cover of "Save a Prayer" to number 1 on the UK Singles Chart.[10] Duran Duran have stated that they will donate all their royalties from the cover to charity.[11] Eagles of Death Metal's cover ultimately peaked at number 53 for the chart dated the week after the attack.[12]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2015) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[13] 5
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[14] 11
France (SNEP)[15] 23
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[16] 73
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[17] 18
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[18] 72
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[19] 53

Other versions[edit]

In 2014, singer-songwriter David Mead released a cover version of the song on the multi-artist compilation album Here Comes the Reign Again: The Second British Invasion.[20]


  • The song is sampled throughout on Cosmic Belt's single "Do It".[21]


  1. ^ Donald A. Guarisco. "Save a Prayer: Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Taylor, Andy (2008). Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran. London: Orion Publishing Group. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-7528-8338-0.
  3. ^ Taylor, Andy (2008). Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran. London: Orion Publishing Group. pp. 102–04. ISBN 978-0-7528-8338-0.
  4. ^ a b c d Marks, Craig; Tannenbaum, Rob (2011). I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. New York, NY: Dutton. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-525-95230-5.
  5. ^ Taylor, John (2012). In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death & Duran Duran. London: Sphere. p. 178. ISBN 9780751549041.
  6. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  7. ^ "Josh Homme and Jesse Hughes Detail Eagles of Death Metal LP ZIPPER DOWN, Share Bonkers Cover". Pitchfork.
  8. ^ "Eagles of Death Metal Performs 'Save a Prayer' With Duran Duran Days Before Paris Shootings: Watch - Billboard". Billboard.
  9. ^ [HD] Duran Duran w/ Eagle Of Death Metal - "Save A Prayer" 10/30/15 TFI Friday. YouTube. 1 November 2015.
  10. ^ Jack Shepherd (15 November 2015). "Eagles of Death Metal fans launch campaign to get band to number one following Paris attacks". The Independent.
  11. ^ "Duran Duran Will Donate All Proceeds From Eagles of Death Metal's 'Save A Prayer' Cover".
  12. ^ "UK Singles Chart, week of 20 November 2015". Official Charts Company. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  13. ^ " – EODM (Eagles of Death Metal) – Save a Prayer" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  14. ^ " – EODM (Eagles of Death Metal) – Save a Prayer" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  15. ^ " – EODM (Eagles of Death Metal) – Save a Prayer" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  16. ^ " – EODM (Eagles of Death Metal) – Save a Prayer" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  17. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  18. ^ " – EODM (Eagles of Death Metal) – Save a Prayer". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  19. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  20. ^ "Save A Prayer - Curry Cuts". Curry Cuts. 30 September 2014.
  21. ^ Francis Preve. "Oscillators: Mixing and Blending". Beatport News. Retrieved 4 February 2015.

External links[edit]