Save a Prayer

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"Save a Prayer"
Single by Duran Duran
from the album Rio
  • "Hold Back the Rain" (Remix)
  • "Save a Prayer" (From the Arena)
  • "Careless Memories" (From the Arena)
Released 9 August 1982
Recorded January–February 1982
at AIR Studios, London
  • 5:25 (Single version)
  • 5:32 (Album version)
  • 3:45 (US single edit)
Writer(s) Duran Duran
Producer(s) Colin Thurston
Duran Duran singles chronology
"Hungry Like the Wolf"
Save a Prayer

"Save a Prayer" is the sixth single by Duran Duran, released on 9 August 1982.

The song was the third single from the band's second album Rio. It became Duran Duran's biggest hit to date (at the time) in the UK Singles Chart, reaching #2, held out of the top spot by Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger". The track is opened by a somewhat eerie synthesizer riff which plays in the background throughout the song. Cover art for the single features a shadow being.

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

As well as being a commercial success, the song has received critical acclaim. 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.

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.[2][3]

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][3]

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.[3]

While perched on a branch over a lagoon and miming playing his guitar, an intoxicated Andy Taylor fell into the water. He accidentally imbibed 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 pinup 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."[4]

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.[3]

A live version of the song was released in 1984. That night, Simon Le Bon dedicated it to Marvin Gaye, who had been fatally shot the previous day. The video was taken from Duran Duran's Oakland, California concerts that were filmed for the Arena (An Absurd Notion).

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

Pictogram voting info.svg 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]

7": EMI. / EMI 5327 United Kingdom[edit]

  1. "Save a Prayer" – 5:25
  2. "Hold Back the Rain" (Remix) – 3:58

12": EMI. / 12 EMI 5327 United Kingdom[edit]

  1. "Save a Prayer" – 5:25
  2. "Hold Back the Rain" (12'' Remix) – 7:05

7": Capitol Records. / B 5438 United States[edit]

  1. "Save a Prayer" – 3:45 (a.k.a. "US Single version")
  2. "Save a Prayer" (From the Arena) – 3:35
  • Track 2 is an edited version taken from the album "Arena".

12": EMI Electrola. / 1C K 060 2005036 Europe[edit]

  1. "Save a Prayer" – 5:25
  2. "Save a Prayer" (From the Arena) – 6:11
  3. "Careless Memories" (From the Arena) – 4:06
  • Tracks 2 & 3 are taken from the album "Arena".

7": EMI. / EMI 1A 006-64953 The Netherlands[edit]

  1. "Save a Prayer" – 5:32
  2. "Hold Back the Rain" (Remix) – 3:56

CD: Part of "Singles Box Set 1981-1985" boxset[edit]

  1. "Save A Prayer" (7" Edit) – 5:25
  2. "Hold Back the Rain" (Remix) – 3:56
  3. "Hold Back the Rain" (12'' Remix) – 7:05

Live version[edit]

"Save a Prayer (US Single Version)"
Single by Duran Duran
B-side "Save a Prayer" (From the Arena) (Edited)
Released January 1985
Format 7"
Recorded AIR Studios, London 1982
Length 3:45 (US Single Version)
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Duran Duran
Producer(s) Duran Duran
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 live 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 (1982)[edit]

Chart Peak
UK Singles Chart 2
Irish Singles Chart 2
French Singles Chart 1
Australian Singles Chart 56
Billboard Hot 100 (1985) 16

Other appearances[edit]


Duran Duran:

Also credited:

Cover Versions[edit]


  • The song is sampled throughout on Cosmic Belt's single "Do It".[7]


  1. ^ Donald A. Guarisco. "Save a Prayer: Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Taylor, Andy (2008). Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran. London: Orion Publishing Group. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-7528-8338-0. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Taylor, John (2012). In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death & Duran Duran. London: Sphere. p. 178. ISBN 9780751549041. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Francis Preve. "Oscillators: Mixing and Blending". Beatport News. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 

External links[edit]