06 June 2010 // Written by Joe Sparrow ~ 13 Comments

Duran Duran – 911 Is A Joke

Picture the scene. It’s 1990. You are Public Enemy – young, gifted and the “black CNN”.

You’ve released your angriest, funkiest, most brazenly controversial record yet – Fear Of A Black Planet. The key track is 911 Is A Joke, a fiercely critical song highlighting the longer response times of US emergency services visiting black neighbourhoods.

A million albums are sold in the first week – and America is running scared of its own problems. All is well.

Now imagine it’s 1995, and you have the deep misfortune to be in Duran Duran. For reasons unfathomable, you are still a million-selling act. A voracious, excited fanbase awaits your new album… of cover versions. What could go wrong?

This is what could go wrong:

The immediate question, as with all ill-thought-out cover versions, is ‘….but… why?…”. You must learn to immediately reject such notions. The key to truly appreciating excruciatingly bad cover songs is to disregard rational thought.

Rational thought, after all, would never have led to a soppy 1980′s quasi-boyband to cover the angriest song ever written by the angriest hip hop group there has ever been.

The secret is to revel in the detail:

  • Luxuriate! in the blunderingly stupid faux-bad-attitude styling of Simon Le Bon, as he hops around, busting middle-class stupid-fresh stylings and attempting to look menacing, in skin-tight pink spandex trousers.
  • Gasp! at the excruciating use of the mouth-organ – a pre-emptive Yeah-I-Feel-The-Black-Pain-Too sop to the critics, the sound of whom’s jaws collectively slamming against the floor was heard by even the most addled Duran Duran member.
  • Shudder! at the dawning realisation that Simon Le Bon looks like a drunken escaped mental patient enjoying a night of freedom in a Karaoke bar.
  • Laugh yourself silly! at the bewildered faces of the audience, who are wondering if the whole enterprise is for some sort of hidden-camera prank.
  • Prepare To Sue! for the emotional pain caused by the ‘impromptu’ segue into a verse of Shaft. (Seriously, this happens.)

Watch the video right to the end, and then go and scrub yourself clean with bleach. A cover version so monumentally stupid, it has become the low-tide mark by which all others are tearfully measured.

It might be worth remembering at this point that when Public Enemy performed this song live, they had 10 Security Of The First World guards, wielding Uzis, marching on stage with them. Just to put it all in context.

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13 Responses to “Duran Duran – 911 Is A Joke”

  1. David J J 29 June 2010 at 2:37 pm Permalink

    So excrutiatingly bad I can’t find the words.

  2. Doubleclick 7 July 2010 at 1:47 pm Permalink

    The extra piece of stupidity here is that, on top of all this, Duran Duran were clearly attempting to be the Red Hot Chili Peppers

  3. Dutchman 13 January 2011 at 10:48 pm Permalink

    You forgot ‘walk this way’ from by Aerosmith and RUN-DMC.
    Sugarbabes and Girl Aloud did there version…..

  4. Inversion table 18 February 2011 at 11:48 am Permalink

    I agree with David it’s too bad I think many of peoples didn’t like it!

  5. EScaf 2 February 2012 at 11:04 am Permalink


  6. chris 13 February 2012 at 12:11 am Permalink

    Excuse me, but “a soppy 1980′s quasi-boyband”? you don’t know what you are talking about, boy.

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  9. Public Enemy Suck 29 December 2012 at 3:32 am Permalink

    Gifted? Err,they’re rappers.It’s speaking crap poetry over a sampled/stolen beat.

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  12. Angel 17 November 2014 at 3:14 am Permalink

    Well number one. Technically if you are lgalley seperated and if the law does not state other wise or any other legal agreement between you two. Having sex or getting a girlfriend during a legal seperation or being seperated does not indicate cheating. SO technically he did nothing wrong. Morally and perhaps it hurt your feelings and broke your heart but it was not lgalley cheating. But it does leave you feeling betrayed if only after a month of being apart and not longer married cause seperated is not married anymore hun. That he could throw 10 years away like that and not even think.Guys sometimes are simple minded and one track minds. they do not really think, rationalize, weigh and rethink situations or other peoples feelings ..to answer about your children. Ask yourself this1) how mean was he, and will this not so nice reflect your kids in any negative way?2) does he treat your son good, and will he make a good father to this new baby as well?3) is he a good father and will he remain so afterwards the divorce is final?A) it doesn’t ever really stop hurting. deep down you will always hurt. humans are not made to just forget stuff like feelings and emotions especially of a 10 year marriage. the pain will dull and subside and you will be able to move on. That can take time. It takes time to get over any pain/loss one feels especially of a relationship/marriage coming to an end and no resolution in sight, and the loss of that person. It leaves you feeling empty and loss. But the key is to get passed that. Face your feelings, the hurt ( get him and you to go the a therapist together and perhaps his new gf too if its going to be serious, and your son as well).[ face how you feel. stand up for yourself and your children. the hurt to answer directly. the major part where it leaves you crying and feels like your body is being torn down, will subside in time. It may never become easier to see him with another women. but you got to move on. and find yourself someone that you love. but no hurry, do not rush or force anything. but it will be easier to see him with another women when he sees you with another man. especially when you find one who treats you better and you love so deeply.the vindictiveness may never stop. but after everything is settled in court it may subside. I wouldn’t allow the gf to be in the delivery room let alone near my child. you can specify that for visitation it has to be only him and not this girlfriend. in the papers with the court.its so hard to let go because the feelings and the good are forever in YOU and in your memory. things will trigger it and you have to learn to work past this.find hobbies, go to therapy with .. HIM, your son , yoruself and this gf if she is a serious thing .Letting go is not always easy.I relate to this is so many different ways. I was married previously ( long story) but its over and i got over it so i know the loss even though it wasnt 10 years and we do not have kids togehter.i have lost someone deer to me and i know its hard at first but time and space and effort helpsgood luck to you

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