Arcadia were the pop group formed in 1985 by Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor of Duran Duran, during a break in that band's schedule. However, Roger Taylor appeared in only a few band photographs and in none of the music videos, and stated he was only to be involved in the recording side of the project [he also had minor involvement in The Power Station, the other Duran Duran splinter group]. The name of the band was reportedly inspired by the Nicolas Poussin painting Et in Arcadia ego [also known as "The Arcadian Shepherds"].

 

Nick Rhodes explained how the project was initiated:

‘Roger wrote all rhythms while Simon & I started off quite simply with piano, pencil and paper.

We began working things out very carefully and tried to achieve something

we have not really done before, which is to create very crefully crafted songs.

We have also attempted to do something a little more abstract.

Simon’s lyrics are drawn from much deeper experiences.

I helped with the subject matter in the lyrics and contributed much more to the music.

With guest appearances from Grace Jones, Sting, David Gilmour, Herbie Hancock

and many others, the result is highly atmospheric;

in places dark and dreamy, in others ambient and mystical,

arty and grandiose.

 

 

 

 

So Red the Rose [1985]

The group recorded just one album, the platinum-selling So Red the Rose. It peaked at Number 30 in the UK and Number 23 in the US, and featured the UK/US top 10 single "Election Day," as well as "The Flame," "The Promise," and "Goodbye Is Forever". Simon Le Bon described So Red the Rose as "the most pretentious album ever made", while Allmusic called it "the best album Duran Duran never made". Musicians who contributed to the album included guitarists David Gilmour [Pink Floyd] and Carlos Alomar, pianist Herbie Hancock, Sting [who provided backing vocals on "The Promise"], Grace Jones [who provided brief but dramatic spoken-word interludes on "The Flame" and "Election Day"], bass player Mark Egan of the Pat Metheny Group [whose very distinctive fretless sound can be recognised in "The Promise", "El Diablo" and "Lady Ice"] and David Van Tieghem, a percussionist from New York.

The band also realised music videos directed by Roger Christian, Marcelo Anciano, Russell Mulcahy and Dean Chamberlain, and recorded the single "Say the Word" for the Playing for Keeps movie soundtrack.

For the Arcadia incarnation of their ever-changing band aesthetic, Le Bon, Rhodes, and Roger Taylor donned an upmarket 'gothic' look of black tuxedos, vintage formal wear, and bow ties. The three also dyed their hair black, as seen when they performed [as Duran Duran, with Andy and John Taylor] at the 1985 Live Aid concert in Philadelphia. Although by the time the video for their single "The Flame" was made in early 1986, Nick Rhodes had changed his hair colour to golden blond - this subsequent change of hairstyle anticipated the promotion of the forthcoming Duran Duran album, Notorious, released later that same year.

 

 

 

 

Singles and videos

"Election Day" - directed by Roger Christian.
"The Promise" - directed by Marcelo Anciano.
"Goodbye Is Forever" - directed by Marcelo Anciano.
"The Flame" - directed by Russell Mulcahy.
"Missing" [only video - no single] by Dean Chamberlain

"Say the Word" - video edit mostly assembled with scenes from the band videos and the Playing For Keeps movie.

 

 

2010 remaster

Verdict: This album is a must, a piece of Art.

The quality of the dvd is worth the price. The packaging doesn't match the standard of the music.

This is one of the greatest album of the entire decade. Get it today!

 

EMI has just re-released the album as a three disc box set. This remastered collected all permutations and remixes of tracks released by the band. The third disc comprised the video collection on DVD. This album doesn't come with a cardboard box just like the most recent Duran Duran remasters, it's just a double jewel case. It would be cool to have all these new reissues with the same kind of packaging. At least the quality of the remastering is far better than the recent Duran reissues. I hoped in something more for such a huge piece of Art, for example a great packaging filled with the work that Dean Chamberlain did with Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes.

Nick Rhodes said: "Dean is indeed a remarkable photographer who has a truly unique style. We first worked with Dean in 1985 on the Arcadia project, which is where we intended to make a book of the photos which never quite surfaced. Dean shot over 150 different set ups, several of which were done at the Gaudi Park in Barcelona, Spain. He also created a video for the Arcadia song 'Mising'" [in this page I publish some great Arcadia photographs - His technique was described by one of his exhibitions as "Painting With Light Through Time and Space].

 

 

Tracklisting

Cd1
1:Election Day
2:Keep Me In The Dark
3:Goodbye Is Forever
4:The Flame
5:Missing
6:Rose Arcana
7:The Promise
8:El Diablo
9:Lady Ice
10:Say The Word (Theme From 'Playing For Keeps') (7" Edit) *
11:Election Day (Single Version) *
12:Goodbye Is Forever (Single Mix) *
13:The Promise (7" Mix) *
14:The Flame (7" Remix) *
15:Say The Word (Theme From 'Playing For Keeps') (Soundtrack Version) *
16:She's Moody And Grey, She's Mean And Restless *
* Bonus Tracks


Cd2: The Mixes
1:Election Day (Consensus Mix)
2:Goodbye Is Forever (12" Extended Mix)
3:The Promise (Instrumental)
4:Rose Arcana (Extended )
5:The Flame (Extended Remix)
6:Say The Word (Theme From 'Playing For Keeps') (Extended Vocal Remix)
7:Election Day (Cryptic Cut)
8:The Promise (12" Mix)
9:Goodbye Is Forever (Dub Mix)
10:Say The Word (Theme From 'Playing For Keeps') (Extended Instrumental Remix)
11:Election Day (Early Rough Mix)
12:Flame Game (Yo Homeboy Mix)


Dvd: The Making Of Arcadia
1:Introduction
2:Filming 'Election Day'
3:Election Day
4:Filming 'The Promise'
5:The Promise
6:Filming 'Goodbye Is Forever'
7:Goodbye Is Forever
8:Filming 'The Flame'
9:The Flame
10:Filming 'Missing
11:Missing
12:Credits

 

 

Did you know...

"There is certainly only two tracks that were recorded which did not make the album. One was 'Say The Word' which was written for the movie 'Playing for Keeps' and the other, an untitled instrumental which we never actually did a final mix of because at the time, there wasn’t enough space on the vinyl to make the album any longer. In fact, 'Rose Arcana' was also greatly edited for the album due to the same reason." - Nick Rhodes - December 2007

Rare copies of the Japanese Test pressing of the Election Day 12" include a track called 'Larold Crystal', but thus far none of Arcadia have been able to get hold of a copy and identify the track. "The one thing I am certain of is that 'Larold Crystal' must have been a working title. We often give songs utterly ridiculous names so that we don’t get attached to them. Not sure how this one slipped through the cracks in Japan, can only imagine it must have been lost in translation. I don’t recall which track 'Larold' became but would imagine it was one used on the album. There is only one unreleased Arcadia track ...it is an instrumental but I don’t believe it could have been 'Larold' as we never actually did a mix of the instrumental. Therefore, I cannot imagine that the Japanese version would have included a rough mix of something we have not ever authorized. The only other possibility is that I completely have forgotten that we wrote something else and sent it to Japan just for fun." - Nick Rhodes - July 2007

Above scans of the japanese test pressing of the Election Day 12" which include a track called 'Larold Crystal'

"At the time we were actually in discusssions with Ridley Scott to direct the first Arcadia video, 'Election Day'. Unfortunately, he had some complications with the movie 'Legend' so working together never quite materialised. He was keen to use a track for the movie and I believe 'El Diablo' was under consideration. However, it already existed before we saw a rough cut of the movie and it seemed to be a good match. I think the timing wasn’t good for either of us, so it didn’t work out." - Nick Rhodes -February 2002

Some of the Arcadia artwork contains a numeric substitution cipher which can be decoded to spell out certain words and phrases. When alternative artwork was used outside of the UK, some countries used randomised numbers which don't spell out anything intelligible.

 

Arcadia's Number Code

00 = space - 02 = T - 04 = U - 06 = V - 08 = W - 10 = X - 12 = Y - 14 = Z - 16 = A

18 = B - 20 = C - 22 = D - 24 = E - 26 = F - 28 = G - 30 = H - 32 = I - 34 = J - 36 = K

38 = L - 40 = M - 42 = N - 44 = O - 46 = P - 48 = Q - 50 = R - 52 = S

 

pictures courtesy of Dean Chamberlain, Thanks to DDbj for the scan from the Japanese Test pressing of the Election Day 12 | www.duranasty.com is a fan-site made with passion from a fan to all the fans of Duran Duran on Planet Earth | contact the editor and webmaster salvo@duranasty.com | the life and times of D u r a n a s t y ® All rights reserved