Duran Duran’s “Rio” Has Been Identified

Rio, Duran Duran’s second studio album, was released 42 years ago. While primarily notable for the hit songs it produced, including “Rio,” “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Save a Prayer,” the album’s cover is iconic.

Instead of featuring a photo of the band, as they did on their debut LP, the cover artwork is a portrait of a woman with striking make-up, a large smile and black hair.

The work was painted by artist Patrick Nagel, who was commissioned by the band after co-manager Paul Berrow discovered his art while browsing a Playboy magazine.

Creating what became known as his trademark style, Nagel presented two options: a woman with a flower in her hair sitting sideways and the chosen shot of a woman smiling.

Keyboardist Nick Rhodes recalled, “We all said instantly: ‘Yes, that’s it. That’s the cover.

Author Elena G. Millie described her as the “quintessential” 1980s woman: “elegant and sophisticated, alluring but cool, stark but sensual, mysterious, contradictory and utterly contemporary.”

While it is known that Nagel worked with models or used photos from magazines and other sources for inspiration, the identity of the subject of Rio has been unknown for four decades.

Well, the has been found. She’s model Marcie Hunt.

In an Instagram post, Patrick Nagel historian and art broker Monica Moynihan explained the fan account @nagel_angel spent “countless hours” figuring out the reference photo for the album cover was pulled from a 1981 issue of Vogue Paris.

Hunt reportedly retired from modeling in favor of a more private life, but after Duran Duran reposted the revelation, Hunt commented. She explained that even she was unaware that her Vogue editorial shoot was used as a reference for the cover. She wrote:

“This is so cool! I absolutely did not know until now that this photo of me was used for the Rio cover. Very exciting! Love Duran Duran, and danced to their music often in the 80s…and later at my wedding.”

In an Instagram post of her own, Hunt added, “Thanks so much to the illustrator of this album cover, Patrick Nagel, who is no longer with us. And now Barry Hahn, his technical assistant who confirmed that the cover and smile is inspired by this photo.”

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