Duran Duran is a band that has stood the test of time; this was proven with their 16th studio album, Danse Macabre, released in October 2023. The album received favorable reviews as the album is ripe with new, old, and remastered tracks which the guys just have fun with. They even included some great covers, which led me, a Duranie since the early 80s, to wonder which Duran Duran song has been covered the most times.
It actually wasn't a shock to discover that "The Chauffeur" has been covered more times than any other Duran Duran song. This song was featured on the band's second studio album, Rio, released in May 1982. Considered a new wave album, the band experimented with new instruments, including a vibraphone and marimba, with additional sounds of cigarette lighting and ice cubes cracking.
"The Chauffeur" is my favorite Duran Duran song, and I am not alone in thinking this. DJ John Richards of Seattle radio station KEXP poses the question, "What is your favorite Duran Duran song? And why is it "The Chauffeur?" (Thanks to Metal Injection.)
The lyrics were poetry composed by singer Simon Le Bon in 1978, several years before the song came to be, during a three-month summer stay at the Kibbutz in Israel. He reportedly also wrote "Sound of Thunder," "Night Boat," and "Careless Memories" during this time. The sound samples featured in Duran Duran's version are the work of keyboardist Nick Rhodes' Fairlight CMI - the first commercial sampler.
"The Chauffeur" by Duran Duran cover versions
According to Second Hand Songs, Duran Duran's "The Chauffeur" has been covered at least 36 times, including three instrumental versions. The earliest is by Cleveland in 1995. But the second cover in 1997 by the Deftones is one of the best and is featured on The Duran Duran Tribute Album.
Another amazing cover is featured on the Lullaby Versions of Duran Duran album. This is a beautiful collection of some of the band's most popular songs in instrumental form set to lullaby music. The Deftones' version is also featured in Lullaby Versions of Deftones.
One of the greatest covers of "The Chauffeur" is performed by Jonathan Davis, of KoЯn fame, during his Alone I Play Tour, Live In Las Vegas 2007. He begins by stating that he was always a Duran Duran fan, the band who inspired him to begin wearing eyeliner, and that "The Chauffeur" is their best song.
Other great covers include:
- Leather Strips (2021)
- Noir (2016)
- Brutto (2014)
- Strega Bianca (2020)
- The Big Bright (2013)
We will wrap things up with an amazing LIVE recording of Duran Duran's performance of "The Chauffeur" from Oakland Coliseum 1984, performed by the original members of the band, John Taylor, Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, Andy Taylor, and Roger Taylor.