Record Review: Duran Duran – Meet El Presidenté

“…And then there were three…” Whoops! Wrong band!

So… given that astute readers of PPM may have noticed, there’s an election happening today in Reagan’s America®. I call it that to differentiate it from the America I grew up in, which is now gone. Simultaneously, I am reading John Taylor’s autobiography; having read a huge chunk of it this morning after walking the dog. So naturally, thoughts turn to this most timely of Duran Duran singles. Quite a few variations of it sit on the Record Cell racks. Let’s examine.

EMI | UK | 7″ | 1987 | TOUR 1

Duran Duran: Meet El Presidente UK 7″ [1987]

  1. “Meet El Presidente” [7″ remix]
  2. Vertigo [Do The Demolition]

It was 1987. Duran Duran were now down to a trio [with Warren Cuccorullo in tow]. Change was in the air. The Miami Sound was conquering the airwaves with groups like Exposé and the titular Miami Sound Machine had taken the pop charts by storm, so naturally, Duran were right on top of this phenomenon, lest they be perceived as old hat. Truth to tell, they sounded pretty good with lots of Latin percussion grafted on, and more importantly, they beat Pet Shop Boys among their many peers to the punch, though Spandau had traveled these deep waters as early as – gulp – 1981 with tracks from their second album period.

Mark S. Berry remixed the Nile Rogers production and a flurry of edits and percussion delivered a strikingly different Duran sound that was already halfway there from the original album cut, with the Borneo Horns in tow. The 7″ remix is a dramatic and intense edit of the full 12″ monty. Surprisingly, the B-side is straight from the LP.

EMI | UK Gatefold | 7″ | 1987 | TOURG1

Duran Duran: Meet El Presidente UK Gatefold 7″ [1987]

  1. “Meet El Presidente” [7″ remix]
  2. Vertigo [Do The Demolition]

This record just had a gatefold sleeve that opened to reveal the image at the top of the post.

Capitol Records | US | 7″ | 1987 | B-44001

Duran Duran: Meet El Presidente US 7″ [1987]

  1. “Meet El Presidente” [7″ remix]
  2. Vertigo [Do The Demolition]

As you can see, this release, as with most of the singles from “Notorious” are maddeningly consolidated in their design and packaging. The days of different territories having their local art department craft a unique sleeve for their Duran Duran releases are left behind.

Capitol Records | US Promo | 7″ | 1987 | P-B-44001

Duran Duran: Meet El Presidente US White Vinyl Promo 7″ [1987]

  1. “Meet El Presidente” [7″ remix]
  2. “Meet El Presidente” [7″ remix]

…So thank goodness that US Capitol saw fit to shake up the paradigm with this unique white vinyl promo only 7″ in a clear PVC sleeve! Little perks like this go a long way in livening up a record collection. There was a time in the 90s when the thrill of the hunt made for a lot of Duran Duran records entering the Record Cell. That, and having more money than sense!

Capitol Records | CAN Poster Sleeve | 7″ | 1987 | B-44001

Duran Duran: Meet El Presidente CANADA Poster Sleeve 7″ [1987]

  1. “Meet El Presidente” [7″ remix]
  2. Vertigo [Do The Demolition]

Similarly, the Canadian office of Capitol issued the 7″ in a poster sleeve, also featuring the image at the top of the post.

Capitol Records | US | 12″ | 1987 | S 75191

Duran Duran: The Presidential Suite US 12″ [1987]

  1. “Meet El Presidente” [The Presidential Suite]
  2. “Meet El Presidente” [Meet El Beat]
  3. “Meet El Presidente” [7″ remix]
  4. Vertigo [Do The Demolition]

The 12″ I have is only a domestic copy, since I never came across a UK 12″ of the same. That’s sad, I should have all of the Duran singles in their original UK pressings in an ideal collection, but mine has long since stopped being that. The full monty remix on the A-side is almost so involved as to be tiring to listen to! The percussion is really getting a workout here. I almost prefer the “leave ’em wanting more” 7″ edit of the remix. The 12″ also have an instrumental dub mix, subtitled “Meet El Beat.”

EMI | UK | CD5 | 1987 | CD TOUR 1

Duran Duran: The Presidential Suite UK CD5 [1987]

  1. “Meet El Presidente” [The Presidential Suite]
  2. “Meet El Presidente” [Meet El Beat]
  3. “Meet El Presidente” [7″ remix]
  4. Vertigo [Do The Demolition]

Finally, this was the first Duran Duran single to make the leap to the vaunted compact disc single format! The single sleeve was a gatefold that, surprise surprise, showed the same image as used at the top of this post!! Apart from the digital convenience and quality, there was nothing to write home about for this format of the single. As said earlier, the T’s were crossed and the I’s were dotted in a uniform fashion across the globe with this single.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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6 Responses to Record Review: Duran Duran – Meet El Presidenté

  1. Really enjoyed reading this today. I’m glad to read that another listener finds this single release as sensational as I do. I was a early-teen percussionist myself, so the timbales and the congas were intoxicating with each listen. In hindsight, I’m sure I looked moronic air drumming along. Unfortunately, the LP “Notorious” featuring the track didn’t include the Berry 7-inch mix, though it doesn’t change my overall positive reaction of the record. Excellent choice today Monk.

    I suppose my election theme song today would be “Glad I’m not a Kennedy” by Shana Laing. Ironically, I am a Kennedy. .

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Jeremy Kennedy – Touché on the Shona Laing! That’s a great album, too. Fortunately for modern man, the “Notorious” box has both the long and short Berry remix of “Presidente.” I have to admit that I never tire of “Notorious.” I find it their most cohesive album. It’s definitely a fave DD LP.

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  2. Echorich says:

    Post solo projects, it was Arcadia which informed the band sound. This wasn’t a bad thing in my mind. Arcadia’s ZTT light production sound was pleasing and I found The Power Station to be a one trick pony and more a Robert Palmer vehicle than a Taylor/Taylor project. But Duran Duran frustrated me after Rio and I have never recovered any great interest in them.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – But it was The Power Station that informed Duran Duran’s look! Notice that they got Frank Olinsky’s Manhattan Design firm to design all of the releases surrounding “Notorious” in a very Power Station-esque red/black motif. Which I quite enjoyed. In fact the “Notorious” album is a real favorite of mine that won me back after the disasters of “SATRT” and Arena.” I like it as much as “Rio.”

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