Album: Rio (1982)
Charted: 9 14


  • On the VH1 show True Spin, Duran Duran explained that Rio is a metaphor for America, and the song expressed their desire to succeed there, which they did. The wordplay is interesting, as Rio is sung as if it's a girl's name, and the word conjures images of the popular and glamorous Brazilian city, which goes with the exotic image the band was cultivating. The lyrics clearly state, however, "from mountains in the North down to the Rio Grande," which is the span of America. The Rio Grande river separates the US from Mexico.
  • A few studio tricks were employed to get a distinctive sound for this song. The synthesizer was hooked up to an arpeggiator, which is a tool that creates an arpeggio effect by automatically stepping through a sequence of notes. Also, keyboard player Nick Rhodes made the sound at the beginning of the song by placing some metal rods on the strings of a grand piano, playing the instrument, then recording the sound backward.
  • The girl who laughs in the song was the girlfriend of Nick Rhodes.
  • The video did a great deal to frame the image of Duran Duran as international superstars. Shot off the coast of Antigua while the band were vacationing there (they got along so well at the time they even vacationed together), they appeared wearing expensive suits while riding a yacht. The character Rio appears as an exotic-looking woman (sometimes wearing body paint) that is the object of their affections. The colorful video stood out on MTV, which didn't have many videos at the time and played it often.

    The clip was directed by Russell Mulcahy, who did most of the band's videos around this time. He wrote the script around the yacht scenes because one of Duran Duran's managers decided he wanted to yachting in Antigua, and since the band was already vacationing there, they went to them to shoot the video. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Donovan Berry - El Dorado, AR, for above 3
  • In an interview with Q magazine (February 2008) the band were asked to respond to the criticism that their videos "sold a lifestyle." Singer Simon Le Bon replied: "No! Rio wasn't a lifestyle, it was total fantasy. You don't wear a silk Anthony Price suit on a boat with some painted chick running around. It was a comedy video. None of us had boats. It was a greedy reaction to the hard times that had gone before."
  • Nick Rhodes recalled the filming of the song's video to Observer Music Monthly November 2008: "We were on holiday in Antigua, staying next to each other, like the Monkees. We were rung up and told, 'Stay there, we're bringing a film crew.' I only like boats when they're tied up, and you can have a cocktail without spilling it. We were initially going to shoot the video for 'Rio' indoors and we'd had Antony Price make these beautiful suits for us. I remember thinking: 'Oh my God, that sea water, it's going to ruin all this silk.'

    With a sail boat, you're off into the distance and it takes a while to turn round. I was glad to get off. Simon Le Bon loved it, climbing as far as he possibly could along the prow. He always had an action man side.

    John Taylor threw Andy Taylor off the side - a bit of a premonition, that, because Andy would leave the band in 1985 - and there was a real moment of horror later when the director Russell Mulcahy was filming with Reema, the girl in the video, and a gust of wind shattered a giant mirror next to her. She only had a couple of scratches."
  • The song at one point had the title "Amy A-Go-Go." When Simon Le Bon and John Taylor were on the UK show Songbook, Le Bon explained: "When we went in to make the second album, when we were starting thinking about it, you (Taylor) came up with the title 'Rio' and said, 'I think this sort of says it all in kind of a Roxy Music cool sort of way.' And we were like, 'Yeah!' It absolutely, does. And we'd been to America and it had a lot of references to America in it. And I'd seen this girl working as a waitress in a cocktail bar. And I just started writing on the back of a napkin about how she was, and that's what turned into the verse."
  • Bassist John Taylor told the A.V.Club that for the song's complicated arrangement, which "shifts gears several times," the band were thinking along the lines of Sly & the Family Stone's 1969 tune, "I Wanna Take You Higher."
  • Moving on the floor now babe you're a bird of paradise
    Cherry ice cream smile I suppose it's very nice

    The song starts off with a couple of lines set in Birmingham, England rather than the Brazilian beach. Simon Le Bon explained on social media: "I was in a restaurant in the middle of town and I saw this waitress literally swanning across the floor, and that was how the lyric was born."

Comments: 13

  • Riolynn from Ohio-usaAll these years my mom was under the impression the woman's name was Rio. Either way this song no matter what "Rio" actually means is my name sake. The video is very unique to me just like the woman in the video. Specially with all the different vibrant colours on her. And the red lipstick holy hell she killed it... But I see myself as unique as this song is. My absolutely all time favored song in my life. I guess it just all depends on how the individual views the song. I always say you'll never catch me dancing in the sand, it tickles my toes lol. The song came out in 83 I was born in November of 84. It was like my calling. Don't know..all I'm saying is I'm a unique as this song.
    Carry on, bout your day.
  • Tina from UkTakes me back to my late teens (got Rio on a 45’ ) played over and over the glamour and videos of the 80’s boy it was fun!
  • Josh from UkDuran's manager decided he wanted to go yachting in Antigua.
  • Kim from UsaAs "Roann" stated below, Tula AKA Caroline Cossey was NOT in the Duran Duran video "Rio". It was indeed Reema Ruspoli who played the painted girl in "Rio". The Tula bio on IMDb contains false information and the author of the bio has been contacted to correct the false information. The Tula page on has had the false information removed. The problem with web sites like IMDb and thedragnet is that the bios are almost always written by third party individuals who sometimes do not check their facts before posting the bios. Regarding music videos, Tula AKA Caroline Cossey was in the "Some Like It Hot" video by The Power Station, a band which featured two members of Duran Duran, Andy Taylor and John Taylor. I was in Antigua during the filming of the "Rio" music video, and was fortunate to meet Reema Ruspoli as well as Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran. I have also been fortunate to meet Sheila Ming Burgess, the model who portrayed the tiger girl in Duran Duran's song, "Hungry Like The Wolf". Duran Duran has long been credited in the music industry with starting the practice of using fashion models in music videos, a practice which still continues today.

    Kim Taylor
  • Roann from Apalachin, NySorry, Beark in Rio, Brazil. The girl in this video is NOT Tula/Caroline Cossey. It is Reema Ruspoli, at the time a London model. If you had bother to read either one of the websites you mentioned, nowhere does it mention Tula in this video. A Bond girl, yes, but not this video.
  • Beark from Rio, BrazilNick Rhodes didn't know this, but the girl in the video was really Tula/caroline cossey (may have asked to be called Reema that day) born a boy: Barry cossey and later became a woman. Tula is also in "Some like it Hot" by Power Station & she was in a James Bond movie - among many other modeling gigs. Think I'm wrong? check out the real facts at IMDB and on Tula's website:
    Yes,... AIS people are beautiful people too.
    deal with it.
  • Ryan from Anahola, HiThis song was on a Christmas episode of South Park.
  • Jeff from Greeley, CoI was always under the impression that Rio was the composite fantasy woman of the band.
  • Dara from Barnesville, Ohthis dong makes me stop what I'm doing when it comes on. I love it
  • Johnny from Pomona, CaActually, Nick Rhodes' synthesizer has an arpeggiator built it. No studio tricks are necessary to get that sound.

  • Jeff from Austin, TxSinging Bee?? Never heard it before?? How old are these kids these days?? Im just old I guess.
  • Don from San Antonio, TxAntigua? It looked like Avalon bay at Catalina Island to me.
  • Lee from Johnstown, PaThis song was just on the Singing Bee
    i never heard of it b4 that and now its one of my favorites
see more comments

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