During the eighties you probably used to listen to Eye of the Tiger to perk you up and help you find your motivation to face the cruel, cruel world.
It was a powerful song, and especially helpful when you had to get to work wearing your suit and your white trainers that you changed out of as soon as you got to your desk, because, well, it wasn't very professional to walk around in a suit and white sneakers.
Throughout the day, it was likely that you would have to hum the song to yourself and resist the urge to throw air punches, promising revenge while that nasty cow boss of yours took all the credit for all your hard work.
Oh shit, wait... something's doesn't sound right here! Oh, sorry. I got so carried away that I thought you were Melanie Griffith in Working Girl for a couple of hot minutes. Awkward.
Let's scrap that tiger then, shall we? I mean, it was a kind of novelty tiger, and I hate novelty stuff. I hated the Proclaimers. I hated Bobby McFerrin. And most of all, I hated Dire Straits. All three of these were 80s novelty acts in my books that we are still paying the consequences for.
Of course, when I think of the elegance, sophistication and the lean, mean killing machine that sums up what an eighties tiger was all about, I of course think of Duran Duran.
They had some hot brothers, there was Ni(c)k Rhodes, who, I still think has the greatest name of that decade, and then of course, there was Simon Le Bon (runner up in the poncy name stakes). For a brief while they were the kings of the pop jungle. And people loved, loathed and feared them in equal measure, just as we do tigers in the wild.
I almost want to exclude the following tiger from the great tigers in pop culture series, because, Duran Duran were more into wolves. I still can't get that Hungry Like The Wolf song out of my head all these years later. But the tiger that Duran Duran brought to the world is too powerful to ignore.
Teenage girls, a presumably smaller portion of boys, and general pop lovers usually thought Duran Duran were the bees knees for a fleeting moment. They were like a group of cosmopolitan Brits: always on yachts, marrying French supermodels, yapping on about Rio and all kinds of wild animals, and you could pretty much always find one of them backstage (anywhere) or in the gossip rags of the time.
For the first half of the eighties, they were everything, and then, well, they weren't. They kind of vanished, even though Notorious made it seem like they had a bit more life in them when 1986 rolled around and Ordinary World broke everyone's hearts. Of course we also had to put up with things like The Power Station but, well... it was the eighties.
Their disappearance didn't really matter. They had already made their contribution. They did it back in 1983 when they introduced the world to one of the great tigers in pop culture: the ragged tiger. Their mysterious, symbol heavy third studio album (are you ready for another poncy name?) Seven and the Ragged Tiger featured Union of the Snake (why the obsession with wild animals?), The Reflex and of course, Tiger Tiger.
It was a bit more dance and synth oriented than their usual stuff, but it was the last thing they did before they unleashed the shockingly awful Wild Boys onto the world. But more importantly, the ragged tiger was what got people wondering whether or not Duran Duran were actually satanists. There was of course a brief phase in the late eighties when the media were obsessed with playing pop records backwards to see if Satan was communicating to the masses. These days there's probably a Youtube page or an app for that kind of thing. Or you could just ask Trump directly what today's message is.
Back then, you didn't need to play the Ragged Tiger backwards to know if it was other worldly. You could just look at the album artwork, which was dripping with illuminati symbols. You could look around and note the existence of Duranies (Duran Duran fans... hello, cult!) for more proof that something sinister was going on. Or you could just listen to Tiger Tiger, a completely instrumental track which was proof of the devil's work! After all, Satan needs no words!
Duran Duran made better records before and after this one, but the Ragged Tiger is surely one of the greatest tigers in pop culture, because it was so powerful that it enlightened us to the dark sorcery that was behind Duran Duran, their ridiculous names and their cult like music, and for that, we should be thankful.
You can enjoy the dark magic and their message further with this fan made video.
Dave Di Vito
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Dave Di Vito is a writer, teacher and former curator.He's also the author of the Vinyl Tiger series and Replace The Sky.
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