Number Ones: #143


  • DURAN DURAN I Don’t Want Your Love (EMI)
  • Week Ending 8th October 1988
  • 2 Weeks At #1

Barely 18 months had passed since the previous Duran Duran single, a remixed Meet El Presidente, had brought the Notorious era to an anti-climactic close when it reached a lowly #26 on the UK Top 40. Yet so much had changed in the world of pop, and for many of the acts they had shared the chart with in May 1987.

The Smiths were gone, Fleetwood Mac and Marillion had parted company with their key creative figures, Level 42 split in half, while Frankie Goes To Hollywood hurried to their inevitable demise. Stock Aitken Waterman were now undisputed chart kings with Kylie, Rick and Mel & Kim among others.

Madonna and Janet Jackson were taking the year off, while old foes Spandau Ballet had let the drug-happy “second summer of love” go to their heads with the flop comeback single Raw.

Would the Duran boys follow them down the dumper?

Meet El Presidente‘s unspectacular chart performance, especially in America (where it bombed out at #78), had left bassist John Taylor facing the prospect that their time was over, and the band were a busted commercial flush. The positive critical response to much of the Notorious album, and Skin Trade in particular, had masked the shocking fact that it spent just ONE week on the UK Top 50. Yes, a solitary week at #16 (its debut position) was all it could manage before plunging down the chart. A further few months bobbing around the foot of the Top 100 improved the “weeks on chart” statistics but not a lot else.

Thus, I Don’t Want Your Love felt as though it had a lot riding on it when it appeared in the Autumn of 1988, as the lead single from Big Thing. Given the Spandau single’s inability to even reach the Top 40, its entry at #20 seemed like a minor miracle, a sign that the axis of pop hadn’t been entirely knocked out of sync by House, Rap, SAW and Acieeed.

There were nods to the changing times, not least the typically gauche lyric “I like waking up the house” and a generally more synthetic approach. It works a treat, as the arrangement is lean and sprightly, yet paradoxically chaotic – for all the talk of Skin Trade sounding like Prince (did it really, though?), I Don’t Want Your Love genuinely evokes the clattering, horn-laden workouts from the Purple one’s Lovesexy LP from earlier in the year. Shep Pettibone’s extra touches on the 7″ mix help to bring it even further towards the 1988 pop mainstream.

Alas, Big Thing would not prove to be the triumphant comeback many hoped for. There were some brilliant moments, a couple of clunkers (par for the course with DD) and a truly awful album cover, but the success of I Don’t Want Your Love couldn’t keep the album on the Top 100 for more than 3 weeks. Not even a shock Top 10 hit with its 2nd single All She Wants Is was able to turn it around.


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