The Chauffeur

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"The Chauffeur"
Song by Duran Duran
from the album Rio
ReleasedMay 10, 1982
RecordedJanuary–February 1982
at AIR Studios, London
GenreNew wave, synthpop, art pop
Songwriter(s)Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor, James Bates
Producer(s)Colin Thurston
Music video
"The Chauffeur" on YouTube

"The Chauffeur" is the ninth and final song on Duran Duran's 1982 album Rio. The lyrics were first written by Simon Le Bon as a poem in 1978, two years before he joined the band. Two different versions of the song were originally recorded by Duran Duran, and the song has been covered by three mainstream artists. Two music videos of the song have been made at different times, by different directors. Unusually for the band, the song's title does not appear anywhere in the song's lyrics, but the refrain from the song has been used by Duran Duran as the title of both a tour video and a book.

The song[edit]

The origins of the lyrics for "The Chauffeur" have become part of the Duran Duran legend.[1] In May 1980, while the band were working for Paul and Michael Berrow, who at the time ran the Rum Runner night club in Birmingham, one of the Rum Runner barmaids recommended her ex-boyfriend to be their new lead singer. Simon Le Bon auditioned in May 1980, bringing with him a book of poetry and lyrics, including the lyrics to the song which would eventually become The Chauffeur.[2]

The word "chauffeur" does not appear in the lyrics at any point, however the song is written from the point of view of someone who is driving another person, a woman, on a hot day.[3]

Some versions of the song feature words at the end of the track, spoken sotto voce by a man. This monologue is taken from a natural history recording - the man is speaking about insects in the grass.[4]

The song refrain "sing blue silver" was used as the title of the band's video covering its 1983-84 tour. A book of the same name was also produced to support the tour, showcasing still photography by official tour photographer Denis O'Regan.

The flute-like instrument heard toward the end of the song is an ocarina played by Simon Le Bon. John Mulligan (often simply known as 'Mulligan') of the Birmingham new wave band Fashion supplied the synthesizer arpeggios in the song. John Taylor has stated that he was heavily influenced by Mulligan and Fashion, with Duran Duran opening for Fashion on a number of Fashion's early tour dates.

Music video[edit]

Directed by Ian Emes, a British animator and film director from Birmingham known for his work with Pink Floyd, The Chauffeur is one of two non-single tracks on Rio to have its own music video. None of the band appear in the video. It is a moody black-and-white piece inspired in part by Liliana Cavani's 1974 film, The Night Porter,[5] and the photography of Helmut Newton.[6][7] A woman in an erotic costume is driven in an Austin Princess limousine by a uniformed chauffeur. Elsewhere, another woman dresses herself carefully in lingerie and walks through the streets of London towards a rendezvous in an abandoned multi-storey car park. The chauffeur, (Perri Lister), then removes her chauffeur uniform to reveal a topless blonde in an open-bust corset and performs a sensuous dance to the accompaniment of the instrumental coda of the song — clearly a homage to Charlotte Rampling's topless "Dance of the Seven Veils" in The Night Porter.

The video has been featured on the 1983 video album entitled Duran Duran, as well as on the 1999 "Greatest VHS compilation, and on the 2003 "Duran Duran: Greatest — The DVD" compilation.

Song versions[edit]

1."The Chauffeur" (5:22) - The standard version of the song. Probably Duran Duran's most known non-single song.
2."The Chauffeur (Blue Silver)" (3:48) - Early acoustic demo version of the song that got its only official releases as one of the b-sides on the "Rio" single and a b-side of the Come Undone CD Single in 1994. This version of the song is almost two minutes shorter than the final version.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Duran Duran.

7": EMI EMI 5346 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Rio" – 4:40
  2. "The Chauffeur (Blue Silver)" – 3:48


Capitol C2 0777 7 15981 2 8 (US: "Come Undone 2")

  1. "Come Undone (US Remix)" – 4:20
  2. "Falling Angel" – 3:54
  3. "To the Shore" [alternate version] – 4:03
  4. "The Chauffeur" ["Blue Silver" version] – 3:50
  1. "US Remix" actually "Churban Mix"

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" [remix] – 4:34

Appearances on other Duran Duran albums[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

  • Deftones released their version on the album B-Sides & Rarities. This version was used in the film Resident Evil: Apocalypse and appears on the Resident Evil: Apocalypse – Original Soundtrack CD [8] and on the Duran Duran Tribute Album.[9]
  • Sleepthief released his version on the album The Dawnseeker.[10] Sleepthief have recorded ten remixes of the song, which were released as an EP on iTunes in 2007.[11] Sleepthief also created a video to accompany the release of "The Chauffeur" as a single.
  • Italian gothic rock band The LoveCrave included a cover of "The Chauffeur" on their 2006 album The Angel and the Rain.
  • British trip-hop band Sneaker Pimps recorded the cover of "The Chauffeur" for a various artist album Meli-Melo.
  • Tre lux recorded a cover of The Chauffuer that features on the album A Strange Gathering released in September 2006.
  • Gabriel & Dresden recorded a cover under the release Josh Gabriel Pres. Winter Kills - Winter Kills, released in June 2011.
  • The Hidden Cameras and Snowblink collaborated on a cover for the compilation album Arts & Crafts: X.[12]
  • Warpaint recorded a cover of "The Chauffeur" which was released on June 17, 2014 on Modern Records.
  • Brutto recorded a cover of "The Chauffeur" which was released on September 12, 2014 on the album Underdog.
  • Urbs included an instrumental cover of "The Chauffeur" on their 2006 album Toujours le Meme Film.
  • Australian alternative rock band Powderfinger covered the song, which was released on 1999's UnDone – The Songs of Duran Duran.
  • NØIR recorded a cover of "The Chauffeur" which was released on their 2016 EP The Burning Bridge.


  1. ^ "Simon Le Bon: You Ask The Questions". The Independent on Sunday. London: Independent News & Media (INM). 25 May 2005. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
  2. ^ "Simon Le Bon: You Ask The Questions". London: The Independent. 2005-05-25. Retrieved 2005-05-25.
  3. ^ "The Chauffeur". Duran Duran Official Website. Duran Duran. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
  4. ^ "Ask Katy". Official Duran Duran Website. Duran Duran. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
  5. ^ McKay, Ian McKay (July 23, 2009). "Charles Mehling". Filmografia di Liliana Cavani. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
  6. ^ "Airport Chauffeured Cars". Official Airport Chauffeured Cars website. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
  7. ^ Cole, Sheri Kathleen (Spring 1999). "I am the eye, you are my victim: the pornographic ideology of music video". Enculturaton. Website hosted by George Mason University. 2 (2). Archived from the original on 2009-09-26.
  8. ^ (Audio CD issued 30 Aug 2004, Roadrunner, B0002QPTGW)
  9. ^ "Duran Duran Tribute Album". B000005AYQ. Mojo.
  10. ^ Elliott, Russell W (26 April 2006). "Sleepthief: The Dawnseeker". Musical Discoveries. Musical Discoveries. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  11. ^ Arjan, Arjan (August 11, 2007). "Sleepthief Covers Duran Duran's "The Chauffeur"". Retrieved 2009-08-05.
  12. ^ "The Hidden Cameras Release 7-Inch in Advance of 'Age' LP". Exclaim!, July 4, 2013.

External links[edit]