Back in 1995, legendary British pop-rockers Duran Duran released one of the worst albums of all time.
Thank You was Duran Duran’s attempt at a tribute to the band’s influences, but considering the record features covers of Melle Mel (a decent attempt at White Lines), Lou Reed (Perfect Day) and Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay, it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that this album was a bad idea from the get go.
The worst track on the album was without a doubt the band’s take on 911 Is a Joke. One of Public Enemy’s most important tracks, 911 Is a Joke was designed as a way of looking at the lack of emergency services in black neighborhoods. Duran Duran took a giant leap attempting the song, falling flat on their faces and getting very close to the edge of parody.
We’ve found a spectacularly bad live performance of the track from around the time of the LP’s release, and you can check that out immediately below. From Simon Le Bon’s odd, seemingly cocaine-induced stage movements (unlike any other time I’ve see the group) to the ridiculous shirtless appearance of replacement guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, this is a failure on multiple levels.
We also decided to go ahead and share the band’s take on White Lines with you. Featuring both Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel, the band at least has a few connections with the subject matter of the song and it doesn’t come across as bizarre as 911 Is a Joke.
If you ever find yourself in a British band known for making women go crazy and inspiring claims of the biggest British invasion since the Beatles, please reconsider covering Public Enemy songs. It just doesn’t make sense.