Wild Boys

Album: Arena (1984)
Charted: 2 2

Songfacts®:

  • This song is based on the 1971 novel of the same name by William Burroughs. In the book, packs of adolescent humanoids ravage the civilized nations of the Earth. When wholesale slaughter erupts, the battle continues underground where the survivors evolve into The Wild Boys.

    Duran Duran recorded the song because Russell Mulcahy, who directed their videos, bought the movie rights to the book and planned to make it into a film. The band wrote the song for the movie, which was never made.
  • At the time, this was the most expensive video ever made. It had a futuristic theme consistent with the book. Russell Mulcahy, whose work populated the early days of MTV, directed the video. He wanted to make a feature film based on the Wild Boys novel, but when that fell through he used many of his ideas for the movie in the video for this song.

    Mulcahy's other work with Duran Duran includes videos for "Rio," "Hungry Like The Wolf" and "Is There Something I Should Know?" He directed the first video to air on MTV in "Video Killed The Radio Star" and also directed videos for "Bette Davis Eyes," "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" and "Allentown."
  • The band wrote this song around the visuals they imagined for the Wild Boys film that was never made, thinking about what it would look like as they wrote it. Duran Duran was gaining a lot of popularity as a result of MTV, with videos for "Hungry Like The Wolf" and "Rio" in heavy rotation, but this was the first time they wrote a song specifically for the visuals, which ended up being the video for the song and not the movie. Another instance of crafting a song for a video is Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science."
  • This contains themes of homosexuality, as the "Wild Boys" in Burroughs book were homosexual warriors.
  • Nile Rodgers produced this song. He was a leader of the '70s disco group Chic.
  • This is the only new song on Duran Duran's live album Arena, which became the group's best-selling album. It's also the only studio track on the album.
  • In the video, there is a moment where Simon Le Bon is on a wheel and keeps being spun so that his head goes underwater. During the shoot, there was a point when he was dunked and not quite ready. This was after he had been in a boating accident where his yacht had overturned. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kelly - Portland, OR
  • In an early use of this marketing gimmick, the single was released with six different covers: one for each band member and another for the entire band. Duran Duran was popular enough that some fans did collect all 6 covers. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Donovan Berry - El Dorado, AR
  • One of the woman in the video dancing among the Wild Boys is Perri Lister, who was Billy Idol's girlfriend (and his bride in the "White Wedding" video). Lister was a friend of the director Russell Mulcahy, who had her wearing gray body paint and white hair.

Comments: 12

  • Mr Truth Seeker from Moonbase Ninecan anyone please identify all the film clips included in the long version of the wild boys video?
    the only one I can identify is 'Barbarella' but I'm sure there are some others?
  • Freebs from UkThe head in the video was made by Graham Freeborn, son of Stuart Freeborn the creator of Yoda et al.
  • Jonny Slocum from Pikes PeakI always thought this was about an S & M orgy.
  • J.r. from Wellington, New ZealandWait wasn't this used in "Doomsday" was concert footage. Perhaps I'm confusing my songs or movies that does happen time and again. excuse any typos I've been drinking all day (all week actually) and downing Xanax by the handful. A few vicodin thrown in for good measure. No wonder I keep dreaming of a post apocolyptic future. Of course it could also be that I keep watching "Mad Max", "The Road Warrior", "Doomsday", and the best Will Smith film ever made "I am Legend" for like a week straight. Oh yeah I forgot to mention "A Boy and his Dog" and "Starship Troopers". Whoo-Hoo.
  • Aaron from Columbus, OhKatie is correct. They actually had to give Simon a straw to breathe through for a minute while he was under water.
  • Maria from Philadelphia, Pa"Wild Boys" is the only studio track that appears on the band's live Arena album.

    The video that was typically in rotation on MTV was a radically shortened version of a much longer video.

    During the video, while Simon is suspended on the windmill, Nick Rhodes is imprisoned in a cage with a synthesizer, and John Taylor is tied to the hood of a car (an Aston Martin, I believe).
  • Ronnie from Huddersfield, EnglandApparently Simon Le Bon was raised in the wild by a pack of wolves
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InWho cares which video cost more, Duran Duran has talent, Jackson got lucky. Anyway, I remember this as a hit back in 84' when I was 15. I still think this is one of their better tunes. I know alot of fans don't care for this one as much. Maybe it's the good memories that I recall when I hear it.
  • Katie from Memphis, TnActually, it's not that Simon didn't hold his breath during the windmill scene. What really happened was the windmill got stuck/broke when Simon was underwater. It took them a bit to get it working again and to get Simon out from underneath the water. Simon of course downplays this but all witnesses of the event say he really could've died from it.
  • Long-timed2fan from Noplacelikehome, CanadaJust a comment on the last Songfact: the video for "Wild Boys" was filmed in 1984, at least a year before Simon had his yachting accident in 1985.
  • Michelle from Seattle, WaThriller was in '83. This was in '84.
  • Per from Odense, DenmarkHmmm ...I thought "Thriller" by Michael Jackson was the most expensive video at that time...?!
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