It was released internationally by EMI on 20 October 1986. "Notorious" was the first single issued from the album Notorious, and the first released by Duran Duran as a 3-piece band after the departure of Roger and Andy Taylor. It was a success worldwide, reaching #7 in the UK, #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and was a success in various other countries.

"Notorious" marked the debut of the new streamlined trio version of Duran Duran, as Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor had left the band by the time the album was released. In fact, the acrimonious nature of Andy Taylor's departure was reflected in the song to a certain degree. According to songwriter Simon Le Bon, the lyric "Who really gives a damn for a flaky bandit" was a direct dig at the guitarist.

As a trio, the band had enlisted the help of Nile Rodgers to take over production duties. His funk influences can be heard throughout the single - for example, the tempo and the use of The Borneo Horns brass section. Rodgers also played the guitar on the single.

The video for "Notorious" was shot on September 23, 1986 by directors Peter Kagan and Paula Greif, and bore an uncanny resemblance to the video the duo had filmed in June of that year for Steve Winwood's "Higher Love". The video was shot in black and white Super-8 with a hand-held camera, with quick cuts and changes of zoom and focus. It featured the three-piece band performing the song on a sound stage, with scantily clad dancers in the background choreographed by Paula Abdul.

#2 back in 1986, how about today?