“Save a Prayer” is Track eight on Duran Duran’s 1982 Album Rio. It was also the sixth Single released by the band, and the third to be released from the Album. At the time of release, it became Duran Duran’s highest ranking Song in the UK. It hit #2 on the UK Singles Chart at its highest.
Although MTV played the Video to the Song continuously in the United States, it was never released stateside as a Single. I remember having to hunt down the import 45″, as well as the 12 inch Single, finding one at a Swap Meet that had an Import Vinyl booth, and the other at Tower Records. As a teenager, I was a Duranie in the truest sense of the word and was a completest when it came to their Music, and other memorabilia.
Finally, at the start of 1985, a Single for “Save a Prayer” was released in the U.S. It reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100, and yes, I have a copy of that one, too.
“Save a Prayer” by Duran Duran
from the album, Rio (1982)
Simon Le Bon, Duran Duran’s lead singer, wrote the Lyrics to “Save a Prayer” while the band was on tour. They are said to be about a chance meeting between two people that turns into a one-night stand.
“Some people call it a one-night stand,
but we can call it paradise.”
Le Bon has been quoted as saying that the song’s chorus structure is based on Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind.” Do you hear it?
“If You Could Read My Mind” by Gordon Lightfoot
Indie favorite, and a favorite band at Lyriquediscorde, Arctic Monkeys paid Lyrical homage to “Save a Prayer” in their Song “Teddy Picker” with the line “I don’t want your prayer, save it for the morning after.”
“Teddy Picker” by Arctic Monkeys
The Video to “Save a Prayer” was directed by Russell Mulcahy in Sri Lanka. The scenes were filmed among Sigiriya, the ancient rock fortress, and among the ruins of Polonnaruwa, a Buddhist temple. There were also scenes on the beaches around the island.
For me, the Video, along with others from the Rio Album, added to my young yearning for travel. Here is something I wrote about the impact back in 2012:
Quite possibly the reason I love music videos so much, Duran Duran helped to shape what MTV once was (when they still played music on the network) and also what music videos could be, mini-films, filled with locations and plot and colorful characters. These were cinematic features that stuck with me, and as familiar as a song like Save a Prayer is to me, that is how familiar the Sri Lanka adventure video is, as well. The one-night stand line ever and always brings to mind Simon Le Bon dancing with the girl in the flowing red dress, and how as adolescent girls we longed to dance with them, if only for one night, not necessarily understanding what that kind of paradise meant.
Videos like this one also helped to fuel my deep, gyspy-soul desire to travel to all ends of the earth.
“Save a Prayer” (Live at the Palladium in New York City, 1982) by Duran Duran