Detailed Pedia

Hungry Like the Wolf

"Hungry Like the Wolf"
Cover art for UK editions
Single by Duran Duran
from the album Rio
  • 4 May 1982 (UK release)
  • 3 December 1982 (US re-release)
RecordedEarly 1982
  • 3:23 (Single version)
  • 4:11 (US Album remix)
  • 5:14 (Night Version)
Songwriter(s)Duran Duran
Producer(s)Colin Thurston
Duran Duran singles chronology
"My Own Way"
"Hungry Like the Wolf"
"Save a Prayer"
Music video
"Hungry Like the Wolf" on YouTube

"Hungry Like the Wolf" is a song by the British new wave band Duran Duran. Written by the band members, the song was produced by Colin Thurston for the group's second studio album Rio. The song was released in May 1982 as the band's fifth single in the United Kingdom. It reached the top 5 of the UK Singles Chart, and received a silver certification by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

The music video for "Hungry Like the Wolf" was directed by Russell Mulcahy and filmed in the jungles of Sri Lanka, and evoked the atmosphere of the film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Although the band initially failed to break into the US market, MTV placed the "Hungry Like the Wolf" video into heavy rotation. Subsequently, the group gained much exposure; the song peaked at the number 3 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1983, and Duran Duran became an international sensation. The video won the first Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video in 1984.

Writing and recording

"Hungry Like the Wolf" was written and recorded on a Saturday in the spring of 1982 at the basement studios of EMI's London headquarters.[3][4] the song was built throughout the day as each band member arrived, and by the evening it was essentially complete.[5]

"That track came from fiddling with the new technology that was starting to come in", guitarist Andy Taylor said in an interview with Blender magazine.[3] This refers to the rhythmic backing track they came up with by joining a Roland TR-808 drum machine with a sequencer and a Roland Jupiter-8 keyboard.

Rhodes came up with an idea for the backing track in the car while he was going to the studio.[4] He started playing with the Roland Jupiter-8 keyboard, while singer Simon Le Bon was working with the lyrics.[4] The lyrics were inspired by Little Red Riding Hood,[3] and the repeating of the word "do" at the end of each verse takes its melody from the instrumentals in Gordon Lightfoot's song "If You Could Read My Mind".[6] Andy Taylor worked out a Marc Bolan-ish guitar part, a very Marshall-sounding Les Paul guitar lick that was added to the track. Then the bass and drums were added, and the whole track was finished that day, including Le Bon's vocal melody and lyrics.[3] The laugh at the beginning of the song and the screams during the song's fade-out were performed and recorded live by Rhodes' girlfriend at the time.[7]

The group re-recorded the song for the Rio album a few months later at London's AIR Studios with producer Colin Thurston,[5] who also recorded the hits "Too Shy" for Kajagoogoo, and "I Want Candy" for Bow Wow Wow. Andy Taylor remembers: "He was a great organizer and arranger, we gave him far more ideas and music than the track actually needed, and he was important in the process of whittling them down to the essential elements." Thurston and the band decided to keep the demo's original electronic backing track and just re-record the other instruments and vocals.[3]

John Taylor has stated that he "(doesn't) really know" what the lyrics mean, speculating that the song is probably about "meeting girls" and/or "wanting to have sex with someone".[8]

Critical reception

"Hungry Like the Wolf" received generally positive reviews from contemporary pop music critics. Rob Mitchum of Pitchfork Media in a 2003 review of the "Singles Box Set 1981–1985", said that "singles don't come much stronger than 'Hungry Like the Wolf'," praising its "bubbly keys around a slashing guitar riff," adding that the song "show[s] off how Duran Duran was a band, not just a synthesizer."[9] Jon Pareles from The New York Times, said the song "put an oblique, sometimes apocalyptic spin on pop romance in the verses but kept the choruses clear and catchy, never disguising their pop intentions," adding that the "posing was always a little preposterous, but no less enjoyable for that."[10]

Allmusic's Ned Raggett said the song "blended a tight, guitar-heavy groove with electronic production and a series of instant hooks," adding that it was one of Rio's "biggest smashes" that "open[ed] the door in America for the New Romantic/synth rock crossover."[11] Stewart Mason, also from Allmusic, called "Hungry Like the Wolf" a "spectacular pop single", and "the finest song Duran Duran ever wrote", adding that it was a "much more kinetic and exciting song than earlier flop singles like 'Planet Earth'."[12]

Music video

The iconic image of singer Simon Le Bon, and the tiger-like woman screaming at each other, in the middle of the Sri Lankan jungle.

In 1982, music video director Russell Mulcahy, who had directed the band's first video "Planet Earth," was brought back to make the music video for "Hungry Like the Wolf" and two other songs for the band's 1983 video album.[13] The band had a vision of jungles and exotic women, and Mulcahy suggested Sri Lanka, a country he had just visited.[3] EMI spent $200,000 to send the group to Sri Lanka;[14] the band made a stopover there in April, en route to a scheduled Australian tour.[3] Keyboardist Nick Rhodes and guitarist Andy Taylor remained behind to finish the mixing of the Rio album while the rest of the band began filming the video; they flew straight to Sri Lanka after handing over the final masters to EMI.[15][16]

As it was described in the pop culture book, The 1980s, the video was lush and cinematic, with shots of jungles, rivers, elephants, cafes and marketplaces evoking the atmosphere of the film Raiders of the Lost Ark.[17] Andy Taylor, who contracted a stomach virus serious enough to require hospitalization from accidentally drinking water in the lagoon during the shoot, describes the storyline as "Indiana Jones is horny and wants to get laid."[18] In the video, singer Simon Le Bon's head rises in slow motion out of the river as rain pours down, evoking a scene in Apocalypse Now. He then chases a beautiful tiger-like woman played by Bermudian model Sheila Ming,[19] from open markets in the city through obstacles in the jungle. During the chase, Le Bon has his face mopped by a young boy and overturns a bar room table, culminating in a final chase and struggle in a jungle clearing, which is sexually suggestive. In the meantime, the other band members hunt for Le Bon.[14]

Less than 2 months after the shoot of the video, the American cable television network MTV put "Hungry Like the Wolf" into heavy rotation, playing it four times a day.[14] The exposure eventually helped propel the single into the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100, and the Rio album into the top 10 of the albums chart.[14] Les Garland, senior executive vice president of MTV, said: "I remember our director of talent and artist relations came running in and said, 'You have got to see this video that’s come in.' Duran Duran were getting zero radio airplay at the time, and MTV wanted to try to break new music. 'Hungry Like the Wolf' was the greatest video I'd ever seen."[15] MTV named "Hungry Like the Wolf" the 15th most-played video of the network,[20] and was 11th on the century-end MTV "100 Greatest Videos Ever Made".[21] "Hungry Like the Wolf" won the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video at the 26th Grammy Awards in February 1984, making it the first video to ever win that award.[22] In 2001, VH1 rated it 31st on the "VH1: 100 Greatest Videos".[23]

Chart performance

"Hungry Like the Wolf" was released in the United Kingdom on 4 May 1982; the next week the song debuted at number 35 on the UK Singles Chart,[24] 6 weeks later it reached its peak at number 5,[25] remaining 6 weeks in the top 10, and 12 weeks in total.[26] The release of the single helped the band's album Rio reach the 2nd position of the albums chart.[24] In Ireland the single entered the chart on 23 May 1982; reaching the number 4 position on the Irish Singles Chart, becoming the band's first top 10 hit in that country.[27] Despite achieving commercial success with several top hits in the United Kingdom, the band failed to enter in the US market. Their first album did not chart and failed to yield a hit single. "Hungry Like the Wolf" was released in the United States on 7 June 1982 but did not chart. At first, US radio were reluctant to play the song, but when the newly emerging MTV began playing the accompanying music video in heavy rotation, the exposure pushed "Hungry Like the Wolf" onto AOR playlists.[28] The song entered Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in August 1982 and reached the top of the chart in January 1983.[29]

Following the release of the Carnival EP in September and the David Kershenbaum remaster of Rio in November, the Kershenbaum remix of "Hungry Like the Wolf" was released as a single on 3 December 1982.[12] "Hungry Like the Wolf" entered the Billboard Hot 100 on 25 December 1982 at number 77,[30] peaking at number 3 on 26 March 1983, and remaining 23 weeks on the chart.[31] 10 years later in March 1993, the single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[32] In Canada, the song debuted at number 48 on the RPM singles chart on 22 January 1983,[33] reaching the top of the chart for 1 week on 19 March 1983,[34] staying on the chart for 19 weeks[35] and ending at the 10th position of the 1983 year-end chart.[36] It was certified gold by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) in April 1983.[37]

Formats and track listings

7": EMI. / EMI 5295 United Kingdom

  1. "Hungry Like the Wolf" (Single Version) – 3:23
  2. "Careless Memories" (Live) – 4:11 (Recorded live at Hammersmith Odeon, London, 17 December 1981)

12": EMI. / 12 EMI 5295 United Kingdom

  1. "Hungry Like the Wolf" (Night version) – 5:14
  2. "Careless Memories" (Live) – 4:11 (Recorded live at Hammersmith Odeon, London, 17 December 1981)
  • Track 1 is remixed by David Kershenbaum.

7": Harvest. / B 5134 United States

  1. "Hungry Like the Wolf" (Single version) – 3:23
  2. "Careless Memories" (Live) – 4:11 (Recorded live at Hammersmith Odeon, London, 17 December 1981)
  • Initial US release.

7": Harvest. / B 5195 United States

  1. "Hungry Like the Wolf" (Night Version) – 5:14
  2. "Hungry Like the Wolf" (US Album Mix) – 4:11
  • US re-release.
  • Both tracks are remixed by David Kershenbaum.

CD: Part of Singles Box Set 1981–1985

  1. "Hungry Like the Wolf" (Single Version) – 3:23
  2. "Careless Memories" (Live) – 4:11 (Recorded live at Hammersmith Odeon, London, 17 December 1981)
  3. "Hungry Like the Wolf" (Night Version) – 5:14
  • Track 3 is remixed by David Kershenbaum.

CD: Part of Rio 2010 Special Edition (CD1)

  1. "Hungry Like the Wolf" (US Album Mix) – 4:11

CD: Part of Rio 2010 Special Edition (CD2)

  1. "Hungry Like the Wolf" (Night version) – 5:14




Country Provider Certification
Canada CRIA Gold[37]
United Kingdom BPI Silver[47]
United States RIAA Gold[32]

Notable cover versions

  • Subliminal Girls covered the song in 2007. It was released as a double a side with the track "Self Obsession is an Art Form", reaching number 18 on the UK Indie Charts.[48]
  • In 2008, American Idol season 7 finalist David Cook performed this song on the Top 4.
  • Muse played the song live in a television apparence at Taratata in 2018.[49] In January 2019, due to high demand, Muse release a studio recording of their version exclusively on Spotify as part of the Spotify Singles series.[50]

Usage in media

The song was used in the film Big Fat Liar (2002),[51] and the Shrek short Far Far Away Idol, where it is sung by The Big Bad Wolf and The Three Little Pigs.

References in popular culture

True crime author Ann Rule, on an ABC News special about child murderer Diane Downs, made the false claim that Downs had been playing the song in her car before she shot her three children. Rule again made yet another false claim that Downs, who maintains that her children were shot by a "bushy-haired stranger" on the road, sang the song's chorus in court while recalling her version of events. This scenario, with the soundtrack was reenacted in the 1989 made-for-TV movie Small Sacrifices based on the book of the same name written by Ann Rule. Diane Downs was played by Farrah Fawcett. Rule, who witnessed the court proceedings, says that "Hungry Like the Wolf" gives her "chills" to this day.[52] Three-time BDO World Champion, Martin "Wolfie" Adams uses this as his walk-on music in darts.


  1. ^ CMJ New Music Report Vol. 59, N°633. CMJ Network, Inc. 1999. p. 28. ISSN 0890-0795. "Forget the melodramatic videos (if you can) and listen back to singles from this era — Nick Rhodes's fluttering flurry of new-wave keys during "Hungry Like The Wolf,"...
  2. ^ People Weekly, Vol. 62. Time, Incorporated. 2004. "But the big-haired lineup that gave us such '80s synth-pop hits as "Girls on Film," "Hungry Like the Wolf" and "Rio" has reunited for Astronaut, which finds the group taking creative flight again."
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  11. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Album Review: Rio". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
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  31. ^ "Hot 100: Week of April 9, 1983 – Hungry Like the Wolf". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 9 April 1983. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
  32. ^ a b "RIAA – Gold and Platinum – Hungry Like the Wolf". Recording Industry Association of America. 16 March 1993. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
  33. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 37, No. 21, 22 January 1983". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. 22 January 1983. Archived from the original on 14 January 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
  34. ^ a b "Top Singles – Volume 38, No.3, 19 March 1983". RPM. RPM Music Publications Ltd. 19 March 1983. Archived from the original on 12 February 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
  35. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 38, No. 13, 28 May 1983". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. 28 May 1983. Archived from the original on 14 January 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
  36. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 39, No. 17, 24 December 1983". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. 24 December 1983. Archived from the original on 14 January 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
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  38. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. Note: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1970 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988.
  39. ^ " – Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  40. ^ "Indice per Interprete: D". HitParadeItalia (in Italian). Creative Commons. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
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  43. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (D)". John Samson. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  44. ^ New Zealand End Of Year Charts 1982
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  46. ^ "Talent Almanac 1984" (PDF). Billboard. 95 (52). Billboard Publications, Inc. 24 December 1983. p. TA-18. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
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  48. ^ "BBC Radio 1 Indie Chart". Stuart Semple. January 2008. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
  49. ^ "Muse Setlist at Taratata, La Plaine-Saint-Denis". Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  50. ^ Trendell, Andrew (9 January 2019). "Muse share studio cover of Duran Duran's classic 'Hungry Like the Wolf'". NME. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  51. ^ Weil, Andy (3 March 2003). "Big Fat Liar". Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  52. ^ Mom: 'Bushy-Haired' Stranger Shot Kids. ABC News. 14 May 2010.


External links

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