The Man Who Stole A Leopard
by Duran Duran (featuring Kelis)

Album: All You Need Is Now (2010)

Songfacts®:

  • This is a track from the British pop rock band Duran Duran's 13th studio album, All You Need Is Now. The song features R&B/hip hop singer Kelis. Keyboardist Nick Rhodes told Artist Direct why the British quartet hooked up with the American star: "There are very few female vocalists, to me, that have an attitude and style and extraordinary voice that can pull off something that is more esoteric like that. She was at the top of the list, because her voice has that character and she has that charisma and attitude in her delivery. It was an unusual choice for us, but really, it was more unusual for her."

    Simon LeBon added in Entertainment Weekly: "She's definitely got that 'Milkshake,' hip-hoppy sort of thing. But she also reminds me of an opera diva as well. She's just exquisite."
  • The song features string arrangements by Owen Pallet, who has also worked with Mika and The Pet Shop Boys amongst others. Rhodes told Artist Direct that it was producer Mark Ronson who suggested getting the Canadian arranger on board for this song. He explained: "We wanted a string arrangement on a song, but something more vibrant and not traditional to broaden the perspective and make it more artistic and not classically traditionally. Owen was the person to do it."
  • The song's title was inspired by Luchino Visconti 1963 film adaptation of Giuseppe di Lampedusa's novel The Leopard. Said Rhodes: "The Visconti film was very much in my mind when I came up with the title. It's about an obsession and a relationship. Very dark and experimental."

    Bass player John Taylor added: "The title got to me. What the hell could a song called that be about? I thought about the photographer Peter Beard, and a book of his Simon had bought me for Christmas. What if a guy like that, on an assignment in Africa, became entranced by an exotic beast, obsessed to such a degree that he found a way to smuggle it back to the States, where it is kept under lock and key right there in the guy's home? Of course, it was an analogy for a woman, too. It reminded Nick of The Collector (John Fowles). Ultimately it became a duet (featuring Kelis), so that the Leopard would have a voice. For added authenticity we composed a mock-news report for the vamp-out." (Source of above two quotes Genero.tv)

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