Mad Max BEFORE Thunderdome

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This summer was truly the renaissance of Mad Max with Fury Road, breathing new life into a character that first hit the big screen in 1979 with Mad Max. With Mel Gibson behind the wheel there were two sequels in the 80’s, The Road Warrior (1982) and Max Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), but the year before Thunderdome there was a million dollar budget film production that looks like it should have been part of the Mad Max saga . . . the 1984 music video to Duran Duran’s song “The Wild Boys.”


“The Wild Boys” was the twelfth single by Duran Duran, released in October 1984, the only studio track on the live album Arena.  Reaching #2 on the American Billboard Hot 100 and hitting #1 on the Cash Box Top 100 chart, the song became one of their biggest hits. It peaked at #2 on the UK Singles Chart, but reached the top position in Germany and on the Canadian CHUM Chart.

wildboys 680While Mad Max plays a huge influence on the style and setting of the music video, the core inspiration for the song comes from William S. Burroughs’s book The Wild Boys: A Book Of The Dead (1971) and Highlander (1985) director Russell Mulcahy’s ambition to produce and direct a full-length feature film based on the surreal and sexual Burroughs novel. Mulcahy had already directed several music videos for Duran Duran and he suggested that the band might create a modern soundtrack for the film. While the full film never came into being, the cinematic splendor of “The Wild Boys” is certainly a worthy substitute. 

The set for the video filled one entire end of the “007 Stage” at Pinewood Studios with a metal pyramid and a windmill over a deep enclosed pool, and called for a lifelike robotic face, dozens of elaborate costumes, prosthetics, and makeup effects, and then-cutting-edge computer graphics. The choreography of dance routines was undertaken by Arlene Phillips, including intricate stunts and fire effects added to the cost. “The Wild Boys” was named Best British Video at the 1985 BRIT Awards.

Interestingly, almost as much as this music video was influenced by Mad Max, it also appears that “The Wild Boys” influenced Mad Max: Fury Road with regards to the film’s War Boys having a striking resemblance to the boys of the video. Either way, “The Wild Boys” is a visual treat and an exemplar of the big budget music videos that emerged in the mid 1980’s . . . back when the release of such productions was almost as eagerly awaited as the release as that summer’s blockbuster movie.

Listen to more Outer Space Music HERE and see what happens when you get stuck between rock and a dork place.


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