English new wave icons Duran Duran released their first self-titled album in 1981, but it was “Girls on Film,” their third single, that caught the attention of the MTV generation thanks to its fetishistic music video and charismatic singer Simon Le Bon’s edgy baritone. But another Duran Duran member played a major role in writing the song, and also first performed it.
Cleopatra Records just released the original version of “Girls on Film” on their new EP, Girls on Film 1979 Demo, featuring the vocals of former band member Andy Wickett (the group’s second vocalist; Le Bon was the fourth). The artist was known for his work in the band TV Eye and cut a popular figure in the Birmingham music scene. The rare recording sounds generally more post-punk, with a raw and moody style typical of the time. The Cleopatra release also includes the track “See Me Repeat Me,” which would later be reworked into Duran Duran’s popular single “Rio.”
“It is important for people to understand the true origins of the song ‘Girls on Film’ and to hear the edgy sound that Duran Duran had in the beginning,” Andy Wickett shares in a press release. “This song was inspired by the dark side of the glitz and glamour, where these perfect idols suffered tragedy and addiction. The film Sunset Boulevard was also a big influence with its tale of a fading movie star.”
Listen to Duran Duran when the band was more of an experimental art school group than a new romantic pop sensation (alongside the final version) below.