Released 30 years ago, Duran Duran’s song “Ordinary World” has been dubbed “a perfect song” by Rick Beato. It does take your breath away.
The last of three songs Simon Le Bon, Duran Duran’s lead singer, wrote about the death of his friend David Miles in 1986, it deals with finding one’s way back from grief and tragedy to an ordinary world, where these things are not central. I am feeling this today, as one of my dearest friends died this week of cancer — a person I connected with on a profoundly joyous level the first instant we met, a brother from another mother.
Leaked to a few radio stations in Florida to test the waters since the band had fallen out of favor after a decade of hits and chart domination, the song caught on immediately and burned up the charts, sounding fresh and hitting people from a different angle than other songs the band was known for, like “Hungry Like a Wolf” or “Reflex.”
Featured on a self-titled album fans would call The Wedding Album due to its artwork — an album that is uniformly excellent, by the way — the song reached #3 on the US charts and #6 on the UK charts. The album also generated the hit “Come Undone,” and was the band’s first platinum-selling album since its 1986 release, Notorious.
Adam Lambert, the American Idol champion and current lead singer of Queen, won the singing competition with a haunting version of “Ordinary World.”
The live performance below is from 2011.