Duran Duran

  • British new wave band formed in 1978, from Birmingham England. The primary line-up from the 80s consisted of Simon Le Bon (lead vocals), Andy Taylor (guitar, backing vocals), John Taylor (bass guitar, backing vocals), Roger Taylor (drums) and Nick Rhodes (keyboards, backing vocals).
  • Rhodes and John Taylor worked at a night club in Birmingham – Rhodes was a DJ, and Taylor worked the entrance. They began  rehearsing and performing at the club, with several other musicians and a lead singer. They cycled through various line-ups as band members came and went. By 1979, they made a demo tape, but Le Bon and Andy Taylor still were not with the band. In April 1980, Andy Taylor joined after responding to an advertisement in a magazine, and Le Bon joined the following month. They began performing at clubs around Birmingham and London, and in late 1980, while touring, they were noticed by the critics, which led to interest by record labels. They signed a recording contract in December 1980.
  • The name of the band was chosen at the beginning by Rhodes and John Taylor. The name is taken from the 1968 science fiction film Barbarella, which includes a character named Dr. Durand Durand. The band focused on their style and look right from the start. They worked with fashion designers to develop a sharp and elegant image, and they were often featured in teen magazines.
  • Their success also coincided with the success of MTV – their videos were heavy featured on the channel, and they hired innovative directors to make the videos unique and memorable. In their career, they have issued 46 music videos – their most recent was in 2016. In 1983, they won 2 Grammy awards for videos.
  • Their debut album, the self titled Duran Duran, was released in 1981. Singles on the album did not chart in the U.S., but in the UK, all 4 managed to chart, with Girls On Film peaking at #5. A heavily edited video of the song was very popular on MTV, increasing their exposure in the U.S. – the unedited version features topless women mud wrestling and pillow fighting, and was intended for night clubs and pay channels like the Playboy Channel.
  • Their second album, Rio, was released in 1982. It was an immediate hit in the UK, especially when Princess Diana announced that Duran Duran was her favorite band. Initially, it did not sell well in the U.S., but after the album was remixed and repackaged as a dance record, along with heavy MTV rotation play, it climbed the Billboard 200 album chart, peaking at #6. Two singles are signature songs for the band – Hungry Like the Wolf (which peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart) and the title track, Rio. The album was certified double platinum. By now, they had become huge in the U.S. – appearances were comparable to Beatlemania.
  • In 1983, they released their third studio album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger. They also released a stand alone single, Is There Something I Should Know. The single became their first #1 in the UK, and it peaked at #4 in the U.S. The album had 3 top 10 singles, including their first #1 in the U.S., Reflex. A live album was released in 1984. Called Arena, it included one studio track, called The Wild Boys, which reached #2 on the Hot 100 chart.
  • Their final #1 hit was released in 1985 – the theme song A View to a Kill, for the James Bond movie of the same name. It is the only Bond theme song ever to reach the top of the chart in the U.S. They were chosen for the song after bassist John Taylor drunkenly approached one of the film producers and asked him “When are you going to get someone decent to do one of your theme songs?”
  • Eleven more studio albums have been released by Duran Duran, between 1986 and 2015. Two of them – Notorious and Duran Duran (The Wedding Album) were platinum sellers. Top 10 singles included Notorious (1986), I Don’t Want Your Love (1988), Ordinary World and Come Undone (both from 1993).
  • They are a rare band in that they had top 20 albums in 4 different decades. They continue to be popular on tour (with all but Andy Taylor still with the band), and critics review their recent work favorably. If you grew up with MTV, you watched a ton of Duran Duran. Here’s the one that put them on the top of the MTV map – Hungry Like the Wolf.

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