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The Reflex

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"The Reflex"
Dance mix version artwork
Single by Duran Duran
from the album Seven and the Ragged Tiger
Released16 April 1984 (1984-04-16)[1][2]
  • 5:29 (album version)
  • 4:25 (single version)
Duran Duran singles chronology
"New Moon on Monday"
"The Reflex"
"The Wild Boys"
Alternate cover
US 7" sleeve
Music video
"The Reflex" on YouTube

"The Reflex" is the eleventh single by English new wave band Duran Duran, released in 1984. The song was heavily remixed for single release and was the third and last to be taken from their third studio album Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983). The single became the band's first to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and their second to top the UK Singles Chart.

Song history[edit]

"The Reflex" became the band's most successful single, topping the UK chart on 5 May 1984. It was their second UK No. 1, after 1983's "Is There Something I Should Know?", and would prove to be their last. The single entered the charts in America on 21 April 1984 at No. 46, became Duran Duran's first of two singles to hit No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 (2 weeks) on 23 June 1984, and was a huge hit internationally. (Their only other single to hit No. 1 in the US was the title song to the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill.) It was also the first of two songs that kept "Dancing in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen out of the top spot (the other one being Prince's "When Doves Cry"). The band wanted it to be the lead single from Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983), but their label did not like the warbling singing during the "why don't you use it" segments, thinking this would hinder its success as a stand-alone single track.[citation needed]

The remixes for both the 7" and 12" singles were created by Nile Rodgers, of Chic fame. It was his first work with the band, and he would go on to produce "The Wild Boys" single as well as the album Notorious (1986) and several tracks on Astronaut (2004).

Producer Ian Little recalled the sound Nick Rhodes came up with on his Roland Jupiter-8 keyboard: "...whenever I hear that steel-drum part it always brings a smile to my face because it's so out of tune. Steel drums always are, but it was exactly right in terms of rhythm and tone. So a wood-block sound was mixed in to make it even more percussive and, successfully, it did the job."[7]

The song was interpreted as being about ejaculation, and when asked about it by WWDC's Elliot in the Morning in 2000, Le Bon confirmed it by joking about the scene in the music video showing a wave of water splashing in a woman's face.

Critical reception[edit]

Cash Box said, "Spotlighting the slick vocals of Simon Le Bon and the tight Euro-pop rhythms set to a funk beat, 'The Reflex' will certainly cause a stir for current fans and it will probably reach a new, more dance oriented crowd."[8]

Music video[edit]

Main photography of the music video for "The Reflex" took place during the Seven and the Ragged Tiger tour at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 5 March 1984. Director Russell Mulcahy filmed some of the close-up footage in the indoor arena that afternoon, and the band's performance was filmed live during that evening's concert.[9]

"The Reflex" is primarily a concert video, accurately portraying Duran Duran's performance style during the Sing Blue Silver tour. However, in keeping with the band's insistence that their music videos "never be ordinary", the video screen above the stage displayed bits of naked models wearing collars and chains illuminated with black light, occasionally interrupted by computerized video white noise. At one point, a computer graphics–generated waterfall appears to pour out of the video screen above the stage to soak the audience.

Keyboard enthusiasts have taken note of the Fairlight CMI (the first digital sampling synthesiser) that Rhodes operated with a light pen in this video, and throughout the tour.[citation needed]

Some symbolic scenes from the official video were taken and later mixed with the alternate version shown in the band's concert film Arena (An Absurd Notion) (1985), in the final segment when the band, the crowd and the fans undertake the final and crucial battle against the evil Dr. Durand Durand.

B-sides, bonus tracks and remixes[edit]

In addition to the 4:26 single remix, the 12" also included an extended remix of "The Reflex". The live B-side "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" is a cover version of a Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel song, recorded 16 November 1982 at Hammersmith Odeon in London, England, with lead Rebel Steve Harley joining the band onstage.

A second live B-side released on the US single, "New Religion", was recorded 7 February 1984 at the Forum in Los Angeles, California. This is not the same live version that appears on the album Arena (1984).

Formats and track listings[edit]

7": EMI / Duran 2 United Kingdom

  1. "The Reflex" – 4:20
  2. "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" (live) – 4:54 (recorded live at Hammersmith Odeon, London, 16 November 1982)

12": EMI / 12 Duran 2 United Kingdom

  1. "The Reflex" (dance mix) – 6:35
  2. "The Reflex" [7" version] – 4:20
  3. "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" (live) – 4:54 (recorded live at Hammersmith Odeon, London, 16 November 1982)

7": Capitol / B-5345 United States

  1. "The Reflex" (the dance mix—edited) – 4:25
  2. "New Religion" (live in L.A.) – 4:52 (recorded live at the Forum, Los Angeles, 7 February 1984)
  • The "dance mix—edited" version is the same version as the regular 7".

12": Capitol / V-8587 United States

  1. "The Reflex" (dance mix) – 6:35
  2. "The Reflex" (the dance mix—edited) – 4:25

CD: Part of Singles Box Set 1981–1985

  1. "The Reflex" – 4:20
  2. "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" (live) – 4:54 (recorded live at Hammersmith Odeon, London, 16 November 1982)
  3. "The Reflex" (dance mix) – 6:35


As of October 2021, "The Reflex" was the fourth-most streamed Duran Duran song in the UK.[39]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[40] Platinum 100,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[41] Gold 75,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[42] Silver 250,000^
United States (RIAA)[43] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Cover versions[edit]

Cover versions have been recorded by Less Than Jake[44] and the duo of Kylie Minogue and Ben Lee.[45]

Media references[edit]

A chain of 1980s-themed nightclubs in the UK is named after the song.[46] The Birmingham branch is located directly opposite the former site of the Rum Runner, Duran Duran's early home base.[47] American stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle sings an excerpt from the song during a "Stereotype Pixies" sketch from Chappelle's Show.[48]

The song is featured in the sixth episode of the sixth season of Better Call Saul, "Axe and Grind".[49] It is also on the soundtrack of the 2008 video game Saints Row 2, on the fictional radio station 107.77 The Mix FM.[50]

The song is used in American Wedding as Stifler and Bear dance-off in a night club.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Duran Duran official site".
  2. ^ a b "Duran Duran – The Reflex" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  3. ^ Breihan, Tom (14 October 2020). "The Number Ones: Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill"". Stereogum. Retrieved 10 October 2022. ...[Duran Duran] finally got to #1 with the big and overstated dance-pop track "The Reflex".
  4. ^ Erlewin, Stephen (27 October 2023). Essential Duran Duran: Their 30 greatest songs, ranked. The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 26 May 2024. Retrieved 25 May 2024.
  5. ^ Breihan, Tom (15 November 2022). "Prince - "When Doves Cry". The Number Ones: Twenty Chart-Topping Hits That Reveal the History of Pop Music. New York: Hachette Book Group. p. 166.
  6. ^ Molanphy, Chris (31 July 2021). "What a Fool Believes Edition". Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia (Podcast). Slate. Retrieved 23 February 2024.
  7. ^ Buskin, Richard (July 2004). "Classic Tracks: Duran Duran 'The Reflex'". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  8. ^ "Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. 21 April 1984. p. 11. Retrieved 23 July 2022 – via WorldRadioHistory.
  9. ^ "1984". The Duran Duran Timeline. Archived from the original on 9 December 2003.
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ "Duran Duran – The Reflex" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6755." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  13. ^ Lwin, Nanda (1999). Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide. Music Data Canada. ISBN 1-896594-13-1.
  14. ^ "UK, Eurochart, Billboard & Cashbox No.1 Hits". MusicSeek.info. Archived from the original on 14 June 2006.
  15. ^ "Top-Hebdo – 6 octobre 1984". top-france.fr. Retrieved 3 March 2024.
  16. ^ "Duran Duran – The Reflex" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  17. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – The Reflex". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  18. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e dischi (in Italian). Retrieved 6 April 2024. Select "Singoli" in the "Tipo" field, type "Duran Duran" in the "Artista" field and press "cerca".
  19. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 23, 1984" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  20. ^ "Duran Duran – The Reflex" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  21. ^ "Duran Duran – The Reflex". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  22. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  23. ^ "Duran Duran – The Reflex". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  24. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  25. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 – Week of June 30, 1984". Billboard. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  26. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending JUNE 16, 1984". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 30 September 2012.
  27. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Duran Duran – The Reflex" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  28. ^ "Kent Music Report No 548 – 31 December 1984 > National Top 100 Singles for 1984". Kent Music Report. Retrieved 23 January 2023 – via Imgur.com.
  29. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  30. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1984" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  31. ^ "Top 100 Singles of 1984". RPM. Vol. 41, no. 17. Library and Archives Canada. 5 January 1985. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  32. ^ "TOP – 1984". Top-france.fr (in French). Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  33. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1984" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  34. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1984" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  35. ^ "Top 100 Singles" (PDF). Music Week. London, England: Morgan-Grampian plc. 26 January 1985. p. 37. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  36. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1984". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  37. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1984". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 30 September 2012.
  38. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts: 1984". Offiziellecharts.de (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Archived from the original on 9 May 2015.
  39. ^ Griffiths, George (26 October 2021). "Duran Duran's Official Top 20 most-streamed songs revealed". Official Charts. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  40. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Duran Duran – The Reflex". Music Canada.
  41. ^ "Dutch single certifications – Duran Duran – The Reflex" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 17 April 2019. Enter The Reflex in the "Artiest of titel" box. Select 1984 in the drop-down menu saying "Alle jaargangen".
  42. ^ "British single certifications – Duran Duran – The Reflex". British Phonographic Industry.
  43. ^ "American single certifications – Duran Duran – The Reflex". Recording Industry Association of America.
  44. ^ "Various Artists – The Duran Duran Tribute Album". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  45. ^ "Ben Lee and Kylie Minogue Team Up for Duran Duran Cover". MTV. 15 April 1999. Archived from the original on 5 May 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  46. ^ "Reflex, the 80s Bar for Uptown Girls... and Boys". Reflex. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008.
  47. ^ "Reflex in Broad Street". Reflex. Archived from the original on 17 March 2010.
  48. ^ McGee, Ryan (8 August 2012). "Chappelle's Show: "Episode 3-1"/"Episode 3-2"/"Episode 3-3"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  49. ^ Tobias, Scott (16 May 2022). "Better Call Saul Recap: Been Caught Stealing". Vulture.
  50. ^ Orry, James (7 October 2008). "Full Saints Row 2 track list revealed". VideoGamer. Retrieved 14 February 2024.

External links[edit]