Peter Brinkhof's Collectors Corner
As we steadily approach the 40th anniversary of one of the UK’s most successful music exports, ever in the history of music, it gives us great pleasure to welcome a long standing fan and collector of Duran Duran memorabilia!
Peter Brinkhof, who lives in The Netherlands, joins Duran Duran Rocks with his very own Collectors Corner. Many of the collectors amongst us will know Peter from his time as a writer for Duran Duran Official Headquarters. He possesses a real passion and zest for searching on line for bargains and for visiting the largest record fairs he can find. He is famed for his unlimited knowledge in the world of Duran Duran collecting. Likewise, his resources are endless and he has an astonishing, but admirable, relentless thirst for education.
We have lost count the amount of times we have noticed his replies to social media posts, giving advice to those who listen and making corrections along the way. If you want to learn about Duran Duran’s history, discography and vinyl, whether it be promos, test pressings, bootlegs etc, then Peter Brinkhof is the expert to turn to.
Peter’s personal Duran Duran collection is extensive to say the least – I think it’s fair to say, he probably possesses one of the largest DD vinyl collections in the world.
So, knowing that you’re all in safe hands, lets begin at the beginning. Sitting comfortably?
Planet Earth – 1981
Duran Duran first set foot in the UK charts with the release of their debut single ‘Planet Earth’.
The single was released in February 1981 and peaked at number 12 in the UK charts.
The song was produced by Colin Thurston and marked the beginning of a long and successful career for this fresh New Romantic band from Birmingham, England.
The single was backed with a non-album song ‘Late Bar’ which became a firm fan favourite deep cut. Alternatively, album track ‘To the Shore’ was used as the B Side in Canada and the USA.
The British 7” release for the single is housed in a picture sleeve with a modern design by Malcolm Garrett, who would become a long term designer for a plethora of Duran Duran items, including record sleeves and merchandise.
Unique custom designed centre labels were used, one with a red bar and light blue coloured block and one with a red bar and a mint green coloured block. Both versions came with a four spong centre. A version with a solid centre also exists but only with a red bar and a light blue coloured block.
‘Planet Earth’ was released in several territories. Of course it was released in homeland UK and big markets like Japan, The United States and Italy. The market, however, also extended to Australia, Portugal, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Ireland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Canada, New Zealand, Argentina and Ecuador.
With this first single, Duran Duran gained their first top 10 hit, where in Australia, ‘Planet Earth’ reached number 8.
The low budget ‘Planet Earth’ video was a contributing factor to the song’s success. It was directed by Australian film maker Russell Mulcahy, with whom Duran Duran would enjoy a working relationship with over the next few years.
In all territories, where a picture sleeve was included, the same design is used, with the exception of Spain and Japan. These two sleeves are uniquely different to the original design by Malcolm Garrett.
The sleeve of the 12” is completely different to the 7”. The picture sleeves are in different colours, as are the Duran logo and titles.
It’s All Greek..
For the 12” record Duran Duran recorded an extended remix version of Planet Earth and called it the ‘Night Version’. The UK was the only territory to release a commercial 12” of ‘Planet Earth’ until it was finally released in Greece in 1985, as part of a set of five reissued 12”s, which was sold in a unique canvas tote bag with the 1985 Duran Duran logo.
The initial UK 12” pressing was sold with unique custom designed labels just like its little brother. However, the band’s label, EMI had to press more copies than expected to meet demand, so this extra run was sold with burgundy coloured labels. Also some additional promotional 12”s were released that are not covered here.
In the UK, Radio Stations were served with a few different promos. All were one-sided pressings and housed in generic black die-cut sleeves, but with either blank yellow labels that had a blue ‘Duran Duran’ stamp on it or with custom designed labels (blue square with red bar). Besides this variation, the ones with yellow labels had either the shorter single version or the Night Version on Side One. The promos with the custom designed labels only have the single version.
Earth & Stars
Radio Stations in France were handed out a 12” Promo, containing both the single version as well as the Night Version. It was housed in a unique sleeve featuring the UK 7” sleeve design and a band photo. Many of these of these French promos were shipped to Australia, with an import-sticker attached and handed out to Radio Stations.
One of the most sought after items from the numerous ‘Planet Earth’ releases would be the promo 12” from the United States. This one has a completely different sleeve design. It shows the band standing on the moon with Planet Earth in the background. This vinyl has both the single version as well as the Night Version.
Big in Japan
Another ‘Most Wanted’ ‘Planet Earth’ 12″ vinyl is the Japanese promotional pressing.
This promo, which is actually called ‘New Romantic’, is housed in a beautiful sleeve with a sublime band photo in black and white. One side has both versions of ‘Planet Earth’ and the other side has music from the band Kraftwerk.
Finding a copy in pristine condition is very hard and if one becomes available then it will be offered at a price of at least £750 but more likely around the £1000 mark.
In 1983 EMI decided to re-release all Duran Duran 7” and 12” singles. Every release from ‘Planet Earth’ in 1981 to ‘Is There Something I Should Know?’ were pressed again and provided with the original labels and housed in the original sleeves while stocks lasted.
When they ran out of stock they used generic black labels and generic black sleeves for the 7”s as well as for the 12”s. The 1983 reissue of the 7” for ‘Planet Earth’ had generic black labels and was housed in a generic black sleeve. The 12” however was issued in a reprinted laminated picture sleeve. The colouring is slightly different to the original 1981 pressing. The 1983 12” vinyl also has generic black labels.
What was interesting is that the record company in the USA decided to put the Night Version of ‘Planet Earth’ on the debut album ‘Duran Duran’ in instead of the shorter single version. Therefore the album track ‘To The Shore’, which was used as B-side, had to make way and was deleted in favour of the longer version of ‘Planet Earth’.
Another remarkable fact is that EMI in the UK made a small mistake when they released the double compilation album ‘Strange Behaviour’. This compilation album contains all of the extended versions that have been released on the 12” records. But instead of using the Night Version of ‘Planet Earth’ for this release, EMI used the Night Mix by mistake. This was a completely unknown version until that release in 1999. So fans and collectors of Duran Duran were over the moon by this mistake. This new version is more than 30 seconds longer.
Words by Peter Brinkhof // Edited by John Archbell // Images by Peter Brinkhof