In this installment of Underground we will focus on something that has been fading from the mainstream but triumphs in the underground scene: NIght Versions. Duran Duran will be used as an example.
Duran Duran left an unforgettable legacy that stands the test of time. Classic songs like “Girls on Film,” “Rio,” “Save a Prayer,” “Wild Boys,” “Hungry Like the Wolf,” and “Ordinary World” are a few masterpieces that can be listed here. If you were a real fan in those days, you would be well aware of their Night Versions of their songs.
The Night Versions of many Duran Duran tracks were not just any mix that was edited using the master tapes. Instead, Duran Duran performed their Night Versions without any extra editing as if they were making a song from scratch! In other words, they re-recorded the songs over again and made different tweaks, sounds, and longer instrumental bridges. One must understand why these new tracks are called the Night Version: they were specifically made for nightclubs at the time. Their sales were high as though you were buying a single on a seven inch LP. The infamous “Girls on Film” music video played late at night was the Night Version.
In today’s mainstream music world, there may be the money to produce such a NIght Version or a standard remix but not enough time to sit down and play with a song so that a new version emerges. Also, new versions of songs are relegated to the club scene and hidden from the mainstream: this can hinder musical creativity if a musician or a music group wants to hit the big time while retaining their creative processes.
Here’s a solid list of Night Versions of Duran Duran’s catalog to dance to. Listen to their original studio versions to compare the two:
There are other notable bands that have different versions of their songs (e.g., The Human League and Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence”) made for nightclubs. One should take some time to look up the different versions and appreciate the musicianship behind these versions. It may lead you to the underground club scene and blow your mind.