A Young Person’s Guide To “Say The Word”

Today we’ll look at the North American single by Arcadia that came out after “So Red the Rose” and was a rare example of Arcadia [on EMI and Capitol worldwide] being farmed out to do soundtrack duty on a rival label. I got my copies of this song back in the early 90s when I was deep diving into collecting Duran Duran, and obviously, that meant a lot of Arcadia records entering the Record Cell as well.

The movie in question was “Playing For Keeps;” a 1986 movie that would be long-forgotten had it not been the motion picture debut of Oscar® winner Marisa Tomei. A movie where Jimmy Baio was top billed over Ms. Tomei! It’s presumably one of those 80s “plucky teen” films where said teens band together against incredible odds to do…plucky things, I guess. Certainly several cuts above the decade’s “teen sex film” trend! Though this was the first film directed by the Weinstein Brothers for their Miramax Films company. So anything unsavory was on the other side of the camera. [Ugh!]

These releases were on Atlantic Records, so the house that Ertugun built got to play with some Duran Duran toys for once. I got the US picture sleeve 7″ single. The image on Discogs was scanned years ago from my mint copy. It’s got an elegant Dean Chamberlain portrait of the group [where Nick was already off of the black hair dye – thank goodness] offset by the colorful pastels of the movie branding that fit right in with the peacock-like duo.

arcadia - say the word cover art
Atlantic | US | 7 | 1986 | 7-89370

Arcadia: Say The Word – US – 7″ [1986]

  1. Say The Word [edit] 4:49
  2. Say The Word [instrumental mix] 4:31

The track was something that sounded like a second cousin to “A View To A Kill.” Nick Rhodes was still deeply smitten with his Fairlight CMI™ at this point in time, so it’s all brass stabs and crashing beats of fantasy. With an arrangement that’s nothing like what an actual band ever would have come up with jamming in a room together. The production was with Alex Sadkin and the band with Michael Hutchinson and Shep Pettibone remixing. It’s all a bit busy and overcooked but makes an adequate chaser to the better Arcadia album. One can see why this was left off, if it’s an outtake from the album sessions. The B-side to the 7″ was a remixed instrumental version that was suitably different from the A-side mix to be of interest.

various - playing for keeps OST cover art LP
Atlantic | US | LP | 1986 | 81678-1-E

Various: Playing For Keeps OST – US – LP [1986]

  1. Pete Townshend: Life To Life (“Playing For Keeps” Title Song) 3:46
  2. Chris Thompson: It’s Not Over 4:42
  3. Peter Frampton: Distant Drums 4:36
  4. Eugene Wilde: It’s Gettin’ Hot 3:54
  5. Hinton Battle: Think We’re Gonna Make It 3:14
  6. Phil Collins: We Said Hello, Goodbye (Don’t Look Back) 3:42
  7. Sister Sledge: Here To Stay (“Playing For Keeps” Anthem) 3:58
  8. Arcadia: Say The Word (Theme From “Playing For Keeps”) 5:07
  9. Joe Cruz: Make A Wish 2:57
  10. Julian Lennon: Stand By Me 4:52

Having The Collector’s Sickness, I had to buy the actual soundtrack LP of course. I may have gotten this first, since it was an easier way to obtain the non-LP song. The rest of the LP has never met my ears. The album mix of “Say The Word” is actually more interesting than the single edit. They cut out some interesting riffing that actually made it more appealing to my ears. These things can go either way. But things didn’t end there.

various - playing for keeps OST cover art
Atlantic | US | CD | 1986 | 7 81678-2

Various: Playing For Keeps OST – US – CD [1986]

  1. Pete Townshend: Life To Life (“Playing For Keeps” Title Song) 3:46
  2. Chris Thompson: It’s Not Over 4:42
  3. Peter Frampton: Distant Drums 4:36
  4. Eugene Wilde: It’s Gettin’ Hot 3:54
  5. Hinton Battle: Think We’re Gonna Make It 3:14
  6. Phil Collins: We Said Hello, Goodbye (Don’t Look Back) 3:42
  7. Sister Sledge: Here To Stay (“Playing For Keeps” Anthem) 3:58
  8. Arcadia: Say The Word (Theme From “Playing For Keeps”) 5:07
  9. Joe Cruz: Make A Wish 2:57
  10. Julian Lennon: Stand By Me 4:52

But it was the early 90s, and I was not playing any LPs. I was holding out for the CD of that title. Which was sort of amazing that it reached the silver disc, since there were no real hits on it. Let me set the scene for any young people reading this. In 1986, the CD was still the plaything of the elite. CDs tended to trail the LP/cassette release by as much as a half year owing to manufacturing difficulties with only a handful of plants in the world then. Many titles did not come to CD unless they had six months of good sales behind them. Obviously your Phil Collins and Madonna albums got the VIP treatment. I’m guessing the presence of heavy hitter Phil Collins here might have motivated Atlantic to invest in a CD of this title up front. This might have been sealed in the longbox for $30, about what it will cost you now [without the longbox].

arcadia - say the word US promo 12"
Atlantic | USP | 12″ | 1986 | PR 939

Arcadia: Say The Word – USP – 12″ [1986]

  1. Say The Word [vocal extended remix] 6:30
  2. Say The Word [instrumental extended mix] 5:46

There was also a US promo 12″ of “Say The Word” which I never got a copy of. It had the extended vocal remix and instrumental remix and a laughable “AOR” sticker plastered on it. No AOR [Album Oriented Rock] station worth its salt would have touched the even more effete Duran Duran spinoff band with a barge pole. AOR was too busy playing hair metal at this point in time. Especially with the Latin Rascals styled edits to be found on the 12″ mix here. This track was for break dancing, not air guitar. Lots of clattering percussion [courtesy of Raphael De Jesus] as the Arcadia album also had, only manipulated in the Fairlight’s Page R sequencer to within an inch of their lives. The femme backing vocals on this track synched well with LeBon’s leads, but there were no credits to be found anywhere for the lady in question. Too bad, as she was good here.

As with the 7″ single the instrumental remix on the flip side was a significantly different beast, with a smoother complexion and none of the frantic edits of the A-side. The fascinating thing about this single was that the guitar here was down to a single riff, similar to the one on “Bang A Gong,”endlessly manipulated on the Fairlight. I wonder if Rhodes had the cheek to have sampled Andy Taylor from The Power Station for this? I suspect not as the legal repercussion would have been tremendous. Maybe they just went for the feel.

arcadia - heaven's eyes bootleg CD
Bootleg | US | CD | 1995 | PRCD14

Arcadia: Heaven’s Eyes – Bootleg – CD [1995]

  1. Election Day (Consensus Mix) 8:32
  2. Election Day (Cryptic Cut No Voice Mix) 8:27
  3. Election Day (Fact & Story Mix) 9:06
  4. Goodbye Is Forever (Extended Mix) 6:44
  5. Goodbye Is Forever (Dub Mix) 5:14
  6. The Promise (Extended Remix) 7:05
  7. Rose Arcana (Extended) 5:30
  8. The Flame (Extended Remix) 7:12
  9. Flame Game (Yo Homeboy Mix) 2:47
  10. Say The Word (Extended Remix) 6:31
  11. Say The Word (Extended Instrumental) 5:38

One thing that made the inability to source the 12″ single above bearable for me was the presence of this bootleg Arcadia mix CD, “Heaven’s Eyes” in 1995. By this time, I had the Japanese “So Red the Rose” CD and I opted for this collection of mixes instead of waiting several more years to digitize my own collection and then have a CD-R to show for it. I have to say, that the quality of this disc was very high. Whoever had it, might have access to CEDAR technology since these sound way better than ca. 1995 vinyl rips.

arcadia so red the rose DLX RM cover artt
EMI | UK | 2xCD + DVD | 2010 | 50999 606681 2 7

Arcadia: So Red The Rose DLX RM – UK – 2xCD + DVD [2010]

Disc 1

  1. Election Day 5:29
  2. Keep Me In The Dark 4:31
  3. Goodbye Is Forever 3:49
  4. The Flame 4:23
  5. Missing 3:41
  6. Rose Arcana 0:51
  7. The Promise 7:29
  8. El Diablo 5:58
  9. Lady Ice 7:41
  10. Say The Word (7″ Edit) 4:30
  11. Election Day (Single Version) 4:31
  12. Goodbye Is Forever (Single Mix) 4:17
  13. The Promise (7″ Mix) 4:46
  14. The Flame (7″ Remix) 4:06
  15. Say The Word 5:08
  16. She’s Moody And Grey She’s Mean And She’s Restless 4:29

Disc 2

  1. Election Day (Consensus Mix) 8:39
  2. Goodbye Is Forever (Extended Mix) 6:45
  3. The Promise (Instrumental) 5:44
  4. Rose Arcana (Extended) 5:33
  5. The Flame (Extended Remix) 7:17
  6. Say The Word (Extended Vocal Remix) 6:33
  7. Election Day (Cryptic Cut) 9:09
  8. The Promise (12″ Mix) 7:06
  9. Goodbye Is Forever (Dub Mix) 5:15
  10. Say The Word (Extended Instrumental Remix) 5:48
  11. Election Day (Early Rough Mix) 9:04
  12. Flame Game (Yo Homeboy Mix) 2:50


Filming ‘Election Day’ 8:27
Election Day 8:47
Filming ‘The Promise’ 4:08
The Promise 4:47
Filming ‘Goodbye Is Forever’ 5:59
Goodbye Is Forever 4:07
Filming ‘The Flame’ 6:29
The Flame 4:01
Filming ‘Missing’ 3:28
Missing 3:39
Outro/Credits 1:08

In 2010, four of the five mixes of “Say The Word” reached the DLX RM of “So Red the Rose” and for some reason I didn’t think that buying this at the time was a priority! It’s a solid three figures now, and why I didn’t buy it is beyond me, since it had a DVD of the “Arcadia” video album with it! That was the single Duran Duran oriented home video that I didn’t have the commensurate Japanese laserdisc of! It remains a holy grail to this day. An viewed in that light, even 125 clams for this package seems like a deal in comparison.

I can only think that in a of of pique, at the few tracks that were missing from this collection [certainly the 7″ instrumental remix of “Say The Word”] I balked at paying the $30-40 it cost when new. Seeing as I already had the certainly adequate “Heaven’s Eyes” and my Duran collecting days were long gone by then, not buying this did not deal me a fatal blow. If it happens, it’ll happen. Meanwhile, the “lost” Arcadia single will set one back a pretty penny if you need the picture sleeve. And the 12″ is still a hefty premium to own. Maybe the DLX RM of “So Red The Rose” is one’s best bang for $125 bucks?


About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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12 Responses to A Young Person’s Guide To “Say The Word”

  1. Jon J says:

    After Alphaville’s first 8CD box set rocketed beyond $300, I made it a point to buy things if I was interested in or had even an inkling I’d be interested in later–funds being available, of course. I still can’t bring myself to buy that Alphaville box set on iTunes because it seems like a poor substitute.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Jon J – The “Dreamscapes” set was a first-of-its-kind core dump that I was simply not used to seeing at the time. Most [Classic Rock!] bands who got boxes at the time were as much as four CDs at most. The sick thing was at the time I had the best job I’d ever have, but thought that the optics of spending upwards of $100 for a CD BSOG seemed unseemly, so I demurred. History had until then taught me that if I wait long enough I can get things cheaply down the road. Mea culpa! That ship has sailed in the 21st century!


  2. To be fair “plucky teens” and “plucky things” have been a staple of Hollywood since…. well, it’s why even before Micky Rooney and Judy Garland were plying that schtick.


  3. Richard Anvil says:

    I love the Arcadia releases, for me its the second best Duran Duran album after Rio (while not being an actual DD album) and for me is the last one they did which still showed their original, iconic DD sound before they got (Niles) ‘Rodgered’. I never bought their records in the 80’s as my brother was the big DD fan, so I just listened to his. So when the Arcadia CD box set came out I did snap it up.

    Interesting around this time that the Duran Duran boys did 4 soundtrack songs, this one, the Power Station’s lackluster, Robert Palmer’less ‘Someone, Somewhere, Sometime’ from Schwarzenegger’s ‘Commando’, John Taylor’s solo single ‘I Do What I Do’ for 9 1/2 Weeks and, of course, the best Bond song ever.

    One soundtrack song from another band I’d be very interested to know more about, if you know, is Talk Talk’s ‘Why Is It So Hard?’ which, as far as I am aware, you can only get on CD in its 7″ version, there was an extended version on an Italian vinyl mini album and Discogs doesn’t even list the soundtrack album for ‘First Born’ which its supposed to come from. Do you have any info on that?


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Richard Anvil – That’s a hilarious pun even though I absolutely love “Notorious.” And a decade later they did the good song for “The Saint” OST, “Out Of My Mind.” And do you mean to tell me that they actually recorded “Goldfinger!?!” As infants??!! Now that is accomplished!

      I didn’t even recognize Talk Talk’s “Why Is It So Hard?” but I do have the 7″ mix on the mandatory “Asides/Besides.” I did not know that it was from the “First Born” OST. But I got your “First Born” soundtrack, right here! And that remix mini-LP also came out in Canada!


      • Richard Anvil says:

        Well done for finding the ‘First Born’ soundtrack (why couldn’t I find it?), though no CD release, so the only place to find the original version is in vinyl.
        I thought ‘The Saint’ track was their best in years, though it wasn’t the hit they’d hoped for. Simon Le Bon used to be a choirboy as a kid, so who knows he may be on back vocals for Goldfinger ;). You have to admit, though, View To A Kill is an awesome track!


  4. negative1ne says:

    hi mr monk,

    great write up on the song and releases. might have to hunt down a couple.
    i have the 2xcd,DVD version, and a couple of the bootleg remix ones.

    also, there were some very high quality argentinian bootlegs of the singles in a box set, with 4 or 5 of the singles reproduced. for ‘say the word’, they had the 4 remixes of it, without the album version.

    still very well done, they were all over ebay for awhile, but haven’t
    surfaced again.



    • postpunkmonk says:

      negative1ne – That USP 12″ is still pricey. Back when I was in my DD feeding frenzy, it just wasn’t out there to get. I had money enough for anything back then. But that was pre-internet. The “Argentinian” one has the weird, garish cover used outside of North America. But there was a Japapnese version of an Arcadia singles box in 2009. Very posh. Not CD-Rs and “Say The Word” featured all five versions.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Chris says:

    Very nice article on this track. I could never find the 12″ way back in 1986 when I went to record conventions because I was looking for a 12″ manufactured by Capitol instead of Atlantic! I was finally able to track down the 12″ many years later. One thing to point out is that when the song was used in the movie, it was much shorter than the 7″ version, some different instrumentation and I would say 20% vocal / 80% instrumental. You could say that this is the sixth version – the movie mix.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Chris – Welcome to the comments! Arcadia obsessives will be welcome her at PPM! Don’t feel too badly about assuming a Capitol pressing. I knew the difference and I never saw one at record shows! And at the time I was hitting the Record Runner catalogs – hard. I’ve never seen the movie so your revelation on the cinematic mix is just that. A gambit that sometimes happens.


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