The Reflex is the eleventh single by Duran Duran, released worldwide on 16 April 1984. The song was heavily remixed for single release and was the third and last to be taken from their third album Seven and the Ragged Tiger.
The Reflex became the bands most successful single. It was their second single to top the UK Singles Chart, after Is There Something I Should Know? in 1983, topping the chart on 5 May, and would prove to be their last UK no. 1. The single entered the charts in America on 21 April 1984 at no. 46, became Duran Durans first of two singles to hit no. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 (for 2 weeks) on 23 June 1984 (see 1984 in music), and was a huge hit internationally. (Their only other single to hit no. 1 in the US was the title song to the James Bond film A View to a Kill.) It was also the first of two songs that kept Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen out of the top spot (the other one being Princes When Doves Cry). The band wanted it to be the lead single from Seven and the Ragged Tiger, but their label didnt like the warbling singing during the why dont you use it segments, thinking this would hinder its success as a stand-alone single track.
The remixes for both the 7" and 12" singles were created by Nile Rodgers, of Chic fame. It was his first work with the band, and he would later go on to produce The Wild Boys single as well as the album Notorious (1986) and several tracks on Astronaut (2004).
Producer Ian Little recalled the sound Nick Rhodes came up with on his Roland Jupiter-8 keyboard: whenever I hear that steel-drum part it always brings a smile to my face because its so out of tune. Steel drums always are, but it was exactly right in terms of rhythm and tone. So a wood-block sound was mixed in to make it even more percussive and, successfully, it did the job.
The video for The Reflex was shot during the Sing Blue Silver tour at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario on 5 March 1984. Director Russell Mulcahy filmed some of the closeup footage in the indoor arena that afternoon, and the rest was filmed live during that evenings concert.
The Reflex is primarily a concert video, accurately portraying Duran Durans Sing Blue Silver tour performance style. However, in keeping with the bands insistence that their videos never be ordinary, the video screen above the stage displayed bits of naked models wearing collars and chains illuminated with black light, occasionally interrupted by computerized video white noise. At one point, a waterfall appears to pour out of the video screen above the stage to soak the audience. The computer graphics used to achieve this were typical at the time, but rapid advancement in the field quickly made the effect look dated.
Keyboard enthusiasts have taken special note of the Fairlight CMI (the first digital sampling synthesiser) that Nick Rhodes operated with a light pen in this video, and throughout the tour.
Some symbolic scenes from the official video were taken and later mixed with the alternate version shown in the bands concert film Arena (An Absurd Notion); in the final segment when the band, the crowd and even the fans undertake the final and crucial battle against the evil Dr. Durand Durand.
B-sides, bonus tracks, and remixes
In addition to the 4:26 single remix, the 12" also included an extended remix of The Reflex. The live b-side Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) is a cover of a Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel song, recorded 16 November 1982 at Hammersmith Odeon in London, with lead Rebel Steve Harley joining the band onstage.
A second live b-side released on the US single, New Religion, was recorded 7 February 1984 at The Forum in Los Angeles. This is not the same live version that appears on the Arena album.
The song has also been featured in the soundtracks of several movies, including American Wedding (2003) and Corky Romano (2001). It was also used in an episode of the short-lived 2002 television series That 80s Show, in which bassist John Taylor made a guest appearance.
The song is also featured in the video games DDRMAX2 Dance Dance Revolution 7thMix (2002), Dance Dance Revolution Extreme (2004), and Saints Row 2 (2008), as part of its 1980s radio station.
A chain of 1980s-themed nightclubs in the UK is named after the song. The Birmingham branch is located directly opposite the former site of the Rum Runner, Duran Durans early home base.
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