On This Day in 1984: Duran Duran Scored Their First No. 1 Hit on the ‘Billboard’ Hot 100 with “The Reflex”

Sunday, June 23, marks the 40th anniversary of a major milestone in the career of Duran Duran. On that day in 1984, the legendary New Wave band scored its first chart-topping hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with “The Reflex.”

Videos by American Songwriter

“The Reflex” was the third and final single released from Duran Duran’s third studio album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger. The others were “Union of the Snake” and “New Moon on Monday,” which peaked at No. 3 and No. 10, respectively, on the Hot 100.

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“The Reflex” spent two consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100. It took the top spot from Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” and was replaced at No. 1 by Prince’s “When Doves Cry.”

“The Reflex” also topped the U.K. singles chart for four weeks in May and early June of 1984. Duran Duran had previously scored a No. 1 U.K. hit with “Is There Something I Should Know?”

[RELATED: Ex-Duran Duran Guitarist Andy Taylor Reveals He and His Bodyguards Once Beat Up Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil]

Chic’s Nile Rodgers created two remixes of “The Reflex” for release as singles. Rodgers’ remixes feature the memorable “the reflex, fleck-fleck-fleck-flex” sample, which did not appear on the album version of the tune. At the time, sampling was an innovative technique that hadn’t been used that often in pop songs yet.

The Enigmatic Meaning of “The Reflex”

The funky pop tune, which was written collectively by the band, features enigmatic lyrics.

As an example, here’s the song’s chorus:

The reflex is a lonely child who’s waiting by the park
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover, isn’t that bizarre?
And every little thing the reflex does
Leaves me answered with a question mark

In a 2015 interview with Absolute Radio, Duran Duran frontman Simon LeBon admitted that he got annoyed when people asked him what “The Reflex” was about, noting, “I never tell people what songs are about.”

Bassist John Taylor added, “It’s a really interesting lyric actually. … The early ’80s was really great for profoundly weird, paranoid pop lyrics.”

Fans have speculated that the song could be about either masturbation or gambling addiction.

“The Reflex” Music Video

The official video for “The Reflex” features footage of Duran Duran performing the song at a concert at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in March 1984. During the performance, various provocative images were projected on a screen behind the stage, including the silhouette of a nude woman in chains.

The clip also features a computer-generated waterfall that pours from the video screen, followed by a close-up shot of an audience members getting doused with water.

More About “The Reflex” and Duran Duran

In 1985, “The Reflex” won an Ivor Novello Award in the International Hit of the Year. Duran Duran scored one more No. 1 Hot 100 hit after “The Reflex,” “View to a Kill,” the theme to the 1985 James Bond film of the same name.

Duran Duran’s 2024 Tour Plans

The band currently has seven concerts lined up this summer in Europe. The trek is plotted out from a July 18 in Kallithéa, Greece, through a July 30 show in Pula, Croatia.

Tickets for Duran Duran’s tour dates are available now via various outlets, including StubHub.

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