A selection of the band's hit singles from the 1980s include, "Girls on Film", "Rio", "Hungry Like the Wolf", "Save a Prayer", "Notorious", and the James Bond theme "A View to a Kill". In the early 1990s, the band released, "Ordinary World" and "Come Undone", and released "Sunrise", and "What Happens Tomorrow" in the 2000s. "Falling Down" was released from their 2007 album, Red Carpet Massacre.
Duran Duran were created by Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Stephen Duffy, with the later addition of Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor, and Simon Le Bon, though none of the Taylors are related. The group has never disbanded, but the line-up has changed to include guitarist Warren Cuccurullo from 1986 to 2001, and drummer Sterling Campbell from 1989 to 1991. The reunion of the original five members in the early 2000s created a stir among the band's fans and music media. Andy Taylor left the band in summer 2006, and London guitarist Dom Brown has been working with the band since.
The meeting of drummer Roger Taylor with Taylor and Rhodes at a party, led John Taylor, who originally played lead guitar, to switch to bass. Guitarist Andy Taylor came from Newcastle to audition after responding to an advertisement in Melody Maker, and London vocalist Simon Le Bon was recommended to the band by an ex-girlfriend who worked at the Rum Runner nightclub where the band rehearsed. The owners of the club, brothers Paul and Michael Berrow, became the band's management, paying them to work as doormen, disc jockeys and glass collectors when they were not rehearsing.
The group were generally considered part of the New Romantic scene, with other style-and-dance bands such as Spandau Ballet, Japan and ABC. In 1980, they recorded two demo tapes and performed in clubs around Birmingham and London. In late 1980, when touring as an opening act for Hazel O'Connor, the band attracted critical attention, resulting in a bidding war between the record companies EMI and Phonogram Records. "A certain patriotism" toward the label of The Beatles led them to sign with EMI in December. However, Nick Rhodes said in a 1998 interview with Deluxe magazine, that the band felt they were "appallingly ripped off" by the EMI contract.
Duran Duran were amongst the earliest bands to work on their own remixes. Before the days of digital synthesizers and easy audio sampling, they created multilayered arrangements of their singles, sometimes recording entirely different extended performances of the songs in the studio. These "night versions" were generally available only on vinyl, as b-sides to 45 rpm singles or on 12-inch club singles, until the release of the compilation Night Versions: The Essential Duran Duran in 1998.
From the beginning of their career, the band members each had a keen sense of style. They worked with stylist Perry Haines and fashion designers such as Kahn & Bell and Antony Price to build a sharp and elegant image, soon outgrowing the ruffles and sashes of the pirate-flavoured New Romantic look. They have continued to present fashion as part of the package throughout their career. In the 1990s, they worked with Vivienne Westwood, and in the 2000s with Giorgio Armani. The band retained creative control of their visual presentation and worked closely with graphic designer Malcolm Garrett and many others over the years, to create album covers, tour programmes, and other materials.
All five members of the band were photogenic, labelled the "the prettiest boys in rock" by People magazine. Teen and music magazines in the UK latched onto their good looks quickly, and the U.S. soon followed. It was a rare month in the early eighties when there was not at least one picture of the band members in teen magazines such as Smash Hits or Tiger Beat. John Taylor once remarked that the band was "like a box of Quality Street [chocolates]; everyone is someone's favourite Duran Duran would later come to regret this early pin-up exposure, but at the time it helped attract national attention. In an interview with Rock Fever Superstars Magazine in early 1988 John Taylor stated:
We used to be a very chi-chi name to drop in '79, but then the Fab Five hype started and something went wrong. Something went really wrong. That wasn't what I wanted. [...] Not that I didn't like being screamed at. At one point I really did.
The video was filmed just two weeks after MTV was launched in the United States. The band expected the "Girls On Film" video to be played in the newer nightclubs that had video screens, or on pay TV channels like the Playboy Channel. Kevin Godley explained the thinking behind it:
We were very explicitly told by Duran Duran's management to make a very sensational, erotic piece that would be for clubs, where it would get shown uncensored, just to make people take notice and talk about it.
The raunchy video created an uproar and was banned by the BBC and heavily edited for MTV. The band unabashedly enjoyed and capitalised on the controversy. The album peaked in the UK Top Twenty at Number 3. Later in 1981, the band embarked on their first United States club tour, followed by more dates in Germany and the UK. This second tour of Britain coincided with a wave of riots sparked by unemployment and racial tension, including those of Moss Side and Toxteth. The band played an eerily quiet Birmingham the day after the Handsworth riots.
Duran Duran began to achieve worldwide recognition in 1982. In May, they released their second album, Rio, which scored four UK Top Twenty singles with "My Own Way", "Hungry Like the Wolf", "Save A Prayer", and the title song "Rio". A headlining tour of Australia, Japan, and the U.S. was followed by a stint supporting Blondie during that band's final American tour. Diana, Princess of Wales declared Duran Duran her favourite band, and the band was dubbed "The Fab Five" by the British press. The Fab Five moniker was an indirect tribute to The Fab Four, one of the many titles bestowed upon The Beatles.
However, the Rio album did not do well in the United States at first. EMI in the UK had promoted Duran Duran as a New Romantic band, but that genre was barely known in the U.S., and Capitol Records (EMI's American branch) was at a loss about how to sell them. After Carnival (an EP of Rio's dance remixes) became popular with DJs in the fall, the band arranged to have most of the album remixed by David Kershenbaum.
In June 1982, Duran Duran appeared for the first time on American television. They energetically performed Hungry Like a Wolf and Rio on Dancin' On Air, the forerunner to the national hit show, Dance Party USA. Michael Nise, executive producer of both shows recalls how shy the "boys" were, and how they kidded each other about how bad they looked on TV.
Only after it was re-released in the U.S. in November, with heavy promotion as a dance album, did Rio begin to climb the American charts, six months after its European success. MTV placed "Hungry Like the Wolf" and then several other Duran Duran videos into heavy rotation, pushing it and "Rio" into the top twenty on the U.S. charts in early 1983; the seduction ballad "Save A Prayer" also did well. "The band was a natural for music television," noted Rolling Stone magazine. "They may be the first rock group to ride in on a video wave. In the end, the album peaked at number 6 in the U.S. and remained on the charts there for 129 weeks — almost two and a half years. In 2003, Rio was listed at number 65 in the NME 100 Greatest Albums Of All Time.
The band spent the next year as tax exiles, writing songs at a chateau in France in May 1983 before flying to Montserrat and then Sydney to record and mix their third album. The band was under enormous pressure to follow up the success of Rio, and the recording process took over six months as different band members went through bouts of perfectionism and insecurity. A newly decadent lifestyle and substance abuse issues added complications. In the documentary film Extraordinary World, filmed a decade later, Rhodes described the effect on their sound as "barely controlled hysteria, scratching beneath the surface".
The new album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, included the late 1983 hit "Union of the Snake"; following "Hungry Like the Wolf", "Rio", "Save A Prayer" and "Is There Something I Should Know", Duran Duran had had five U.S. Top Twenty hits from three different albums in a single year. The band made music headlines by deciding to release the "Union of the Snake" video to MTV a full week before the single was released to radio, at a time when the industry feared video really might kill the radio star. They followed up with "New Moon on Monday", which after reaching no 9 in the UK dropped out of the UK charts very promptly, possibly threatening their success. However, their next single "The Reflex", taken from Seven and the Ragged Tiger and given a significant remix overhaul by Nile Rodgers of Chic fame, became their first number one hit in the United States. "The Reflex" was also their second and final UK number one, and was successful in numerous other countries around the world.
The band embarked on a global tour that continued throughout the first four months of 1984, including their first major stadium dates in America. A film crew led by director Russell Mulcahy followed the band closely, leading to the documentary film Sing Blue Silver and the accompanying concert film Arena.The live album Arena was also recorded during the tour and was released with the new studio single "The Wild Boys", which went to Number 2 on both sides of the Atlantic. In February 1984, the band appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and won two Grammy awards in the brand-new Long Form and Short Form music video categories.
After the tour, Roger Taylor was married in Naples, Italy, and Nick Rhodes wed in London, famously wearing a pink velvet tuxedo and top hat. At the end of 1984 , the group was featured on the Band Aid benefit single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" along with other popular British musical acts. Simon Le Bon sang between contributions from George Michael and Sting.
Duran Duran were never the same after this break. According to Rhodes, the two side projects "were commercial suicide... But we’ve always been good at that." The band was still off balance when they regrouped to contribute "A View to a Kill" to the 1985 James Bond movie of the same name. This single remains the only Bond theme to go to Number 1 on the U.S. charts, and the highest-placed Bond theme on the UK chart where it reached Number 2. It was the last single the band recorded as the original five-piece for twenty years.
As a follow-up to the Christmas 1984 Band Aid single, Duran Duran performed in front of 90,000 people (and an estimated 1.5 billion TV viewers) at the Live Aid charity concert at John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 13 July 1985 while their Bond song held the top spot on the American charts. It was not intended to be a farewell performance—the band planned only to take a break after four years of non-stop touring and public appearances—but the original five did not play live together again until July 2003. Their Live Aid set became infamous for Le Bon inadvertently hitting a falsetto note in the chorus of "A View to a Kill", which he later described as the most humiliating moment of his career.
Without a guitarist or a drummer, the three remaining members, Le Bon, Rhodes, and John Taylor had producer (and former Chic guitarist) Nile Rodgers play a few tracks on guitar, and hired studio musicians to play drums while they searched for replacements. Finally in September 1986, Warren Cuccurullo (formerly of Missing Persons and Frank Zappa's touring band) was hired as a session guitarist. With Le Bon, Rhodes, and Taylor, he recorded the rest of the Notorious album, which was released in October 1986. The black-and-white documentary film Three To Get Ready chronicled the recording of the album, legal tensions, and preparations for the tour.
Although the song "Notorious" went to nr. 2 in the U.S., nr.7 in the UK and album sales were strong, the band found they had lost much of the momentum and hysteria they had left behind in 1985. In the three years between the release of Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Notorious, many of their teenage fans had grown up, and the music was funkier, more mature, and less "pop", given the added experience of their work on Arcadia and Power Station and with many gifted musicians. "Skin Trade" and "Meet El Presidente", the two subsequent singles, made the charts but fared poorly compared to the band's earlier successes.
Subsequently, Duran Duran's fame began to wane as they struggled to escape the teen idol image and gain critical success with more complex music. Rolling Stone said, "In their search for musical maturity, the surviving Durans have lost a good deal of their identity. Another factor was the band's dismissal of early managers the Berrow brothers. There was no announcement of the reasons for the decision, but disagreements over money, and the brothers’ involvement in Le Bon's yachting adventures (they were co-owners of Drum) were thought to have played a part. Whatever the reason, Duran Duran switched managers frequently and undertook periods of self-management in the later stages of their career. In addition, EMI (which fired its president and went through a major corporate restructuring that summer) seemed to have lost interest in promoting the band.
The next album Big Thing (1988) yielded the singles "I Don't Want Your Love" (nr.4 in the US), "Do You Believe In Shame?" and "All She Wants Is" (the last a top ten hit in the UK). The record was experimental, mixing influences from house music and rave music with Duran's atmospheric synth pop and Cuccurullo's creative guitar work, as well as more mature lyrics (the juvenile title track notwithstanding). By the next year, after touring for the album finished, the band regained a five-man membership as Cuccurullo and tour drummer Sterling Campbell were made full members of Duran Duran. Inexplicably during this time, the group was credited as Duranduran on some of the releases (one word, instead of two).
The compilation album Decade: Greatest Hits was released late in 1989, along with the megamix single "Burning The Ground", which consisted of woven snippets of the band's hits from the previous ten years. The single came and went with little fanfare, but the album became another major seller for the band. However, the tepid 1990 release Liberty (a retreat from the experimentation of Big Thing) failed to capitalise on any regained momentum, a pattern the band repeated often in their later years. The album entered the UK album chart in the top ten, but faded away quickly. The singles "Violence of Summer (Love's Taking Over)" and "Serious" were only mildly successful, and the album's soft rock did not fare well against contemporaries like Alice in Chains and Jane's Addiction, while Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the grunge revolution were just around the corner. For the first time, Duran Duran did not tour in support of an album, performing on only a handful of club dates and TV shows.
Sterling Campbell left the band early in 1991, going on to work with Soul Asylum and David Bowie. The quartet of Le Bon, Rhodes, Taylor, and Cuccurullo would remain intact for six more years. In December 1991, Taylor (then 31) married 19-year-old model/actress Amanda De Cadenet, and she gave birth to his daughter in March 1992.
The group played a set at The Princess Diana Tribute Concert on 27 June 1998 by special request of her family.
Duran Duran parted ways with Capitol/EMI in 1999, although the label has since used Duran Duran's back catalogue to release several compilations of remixes and rare vinyl-only b-sides. The band then signed what was intended to be a three-album contract with Disney's Hollywood Records, but it lasted only through the poorly received 2000 album Pop Trash. This slow-paced and heavy album seemed out-of-keeping with earlier band material. Rhodes' intricate production and Cuccurullo's songwriting and experimentation with guitar sounds and time signatures were not enough to hook the public, and the album did not perform well. The dreamy single "Someone Else Not Me" lasted barely two weeks on the radio, although its video was noted as the first to be produced entirely with Flash animation. While supporting Medazzaland and Pop Trash, Duran Duran toured with bassist Wes Wehmiller and drummer Joe Travers.
Throughout 2001, 2002 and 2003, the band worked on writing new material, initially renting a house in St. Tropez where sound engineer Mark Tinley built a recording studio for their first serious writing session. They then returned to London to do some self-financed work with various producers (including old friend Nile Rodgers) and search for a new record deal. It proved difficult to find a record label willing to gamble on the band's comeback, so Duran Duran went on tour to prove the drawing power of the reunited band. The response of the fans and the media exceeded everyone’s expectations.
The band played a handful of 25th-anniversary dates in July 2003. Tickets sold out for each show within minutes, and celebrities turned out en masse for reunion shows booked at small venues the band had played on their first trip to America in 1981. In August, the band were booked as presenters at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, only to be surprised with a Lifetime Achievement Award. They also received a Lifetime Achievement award from Q Magazine in October, and the equivalent Outstanding Contribution award at the BRIT Awards in February 2004.
The pace picked up with a sold-out tour of America, Australia and New Zealand. The band played a full concert at a private Tailgate Party at Super Bowl XXXVIII, their performance of "The Wild Boys" broadcast to millions during the pre-game show. A remix of the new track "(Reach Up for the) Sunrise" was released on the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy TV show soundtrack in February, while the Queer Eye guys (the modern "Fab Five") hailed Duran Duran as "the first metrosexuals". Duran Duran then celebrated their homecoming to the UK with fourteen stadium dates in April 2004, including five sold-out nights at Wembley Arena. The British press, traditionally hostile to the band, accorded the shows some very warm reviews. Duran Duran brought along bands like Scissor Sisters, and Goldfrapp, as opening acts for this tour. The last two shows were filmed, resulting in the concert DVD Duran Duran: Live From London which was released in November.
Finally, with more than thirty-five songs completed, the band signed a four-album contract with Epic Records in June, and completed the new album, now entitled Astronaut, with producer Don Gilmore. The album was released in October 2004 and entered the UK charts at Number 3 and the U.S. charts at Number 17. The first single was "(Reach Up for the) Sunrise", which reached Number 1 on the Billboard U.S. Dance Chart in November and peaked at number 5 on the UK singles chart, Duran Duran's highest chart position since "A View To a Kill" in 1985. A second single, "What Happens Tomorrow", debuted at #11 on the UK charts in February. After a world tour in early 2005, Duran Duran headlined the massive Live 8 concert, Rome on 2 July 2005 in the Circus Maximus.
In early 2006, Duran Duran covered John Lennon's song "Instant Karma" for the Make Some Noise campaign sponsored by Amnesty International to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Lennon's death, and performed at two high profile events — the Nobel Prize Awards and the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. After a couple of weeks of songwriting in California, the band began working with producer Michael Patterson in London, and continued intermittently for the next several months. At one point, they reported having fifteen tracks nearly complete for an album tentatively titled Reportage, but no further news emerged from the band for months afterward. In September, the band held meetings in New York City with Justin Timberlake and producer Timbaland with an eye to a potential collaboration and were soon reported to have completed three songs with the producer, including a duet with Timberlake.
On October 25, 2006, Andy Taylor parted ways with Duran Duran for the second time. In an official announcement on their website, Duran Duran stated that an "unworkable gulf" had developed between them and Taylor and that "we can no longer effectively function together". Dom Brown, who had previously toured with the band, took over guitar duties and has been performing with them since. After Taylor's departure, the band scrapped the Reportage album and wrote and recorded a new album which included the Timbaland tracks. Dom Brown is the featured guitarist.
In July, the band performed twice at Wembley Stadium, at the Concert for Diana and at Live Earth concert, London. On September 25, the Timberlake collaboration "Falling Down" was released as a download single on iTunes, and the band announced that they would play nine shows at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway to launch the album Red Carpet Massacre. The album launch was later extended to incorporate a show in London on and one in Dublin on .
In May 2008, they toured the US leg of their 2008 world tour and were supported by fellow British quintet Your Vegas.
In June 2008, they played the Louvre in Paris in a fundraising effort that contributed to the restoration of a magnificent Louis XV drawing room. Guests dined, privately viewed some of the museum’s works, and then following came a performance from Duran Duran in the I.M. Pei-designed Pyramid Du Louvre. The group’s performance marked a first for both the band members and the 18th Century Museum (who have never before allowed a rock concert to take place anywhere within either the grounds or buildings).
On 2 July in Paris, Mark Ronson performed a unique live set with Duran Duran for an exclusive, invite-only performance. Together, they showcased specially re-worked versions of some of Duran Duran's classic hits re-created by Ronson, along with tracks from the band's new album, Red Carpet Massacre. Simon Le Bon also performed songs from Ronson's latest album, Version, as one of Ronson's featured guest vocalists.
Several of the band's contemporaries including The Bangles, Elton John, Kylie Minogue and Paul Young, have named themselves fans of the band's stylish, uplifting pop. Le Bon described the group as "the band to dance to when the bomb drops". Successors like Barenaked Ladies, Beck, Jonathan Davis of Korn, The Bravery, Gwen Stefani and Pink have all cited Duran Duran as a key band in their formative years. The newest crop of performers to name Duran Duran as influences include Dido, Franz Ferdinand, Panic! at the Disco, Lostprophets (who took their name from the title of a Duran Duran bootleg tape), Goldfrapp and Brandon Flowers of The Killers, who said, "Nick Rhodes is an absolute hero of mine - their records still sound fresh, which is no mean feat as far as synths are concerned".
Nick Rhodes has directly lent his production techniques to Kajagoogoo album White Feathers and its Number One single "Too Shy", and to The Dandy Warhols album Welcome to the Monkey House. The band's music has been used by several hip hop artists, most notably Notorious B.I.G., who sampled Duran Duran's 1986 single "Notorious". Numerous bands have covered their music on record and in concert.
Duran Duran were among the first bands to have their videos shot with a professional movie camera on 35 mm film, rather than on videotape with cheaper video cameras, making them look superior to many of the quickly and inexpensively shot videos which had been MTV staples until then. MTV provided Duran Duran with access to American radio markets that were unfriendly to British music, New Wave music, or "anything with synthesisers". Because MTV was not available everywhere in the United States at first, it was easy to see a pattern: where MTV went, listener demand for Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, Def Leppard and other European bands with interesting videos went through the roof.
The band's sun-drenched videos for "Rio", "Hungry Like The Wolf" and "Save A Prayer", and the surreal "Is There Something I Should Know?" were filmed by future movie director Russell Mulcahy, who made eleven videos for the band. Duran Duran have always sought out innovative directors and techniques, even in their later years when MTV gave them little airplay. In addition to Mulcahy, they have had videos filmed by influential photographers Dean Chamberlain and Ellen von Unwerth, Chinese director Chen Kaige, documentary filmmaker Julien Temple, and the Polish Brothers, among others. According to Nick Rhodes, "Video is to us like stereo was to Pink Floyd".
In 1984, the band introduced video technology into their live stadium shows by being among the first acts to provide video screens above the stage. They have recorded concerts using IMAX and 360 degree panoramic "immersive video" cameras, with 10.2 channel audio. In 2000, they experimented with augmented reality technology, which allowed three-dimensional computer-generated images to appear on stage with the band. They appeared on several century-end video countdowns: The MTV "100 Greatest Videos Ever Made" featured "Hungry Like The Wolf" at #11 and "Girls On Film" at #68, and the "VH1: 100 Greatest Videos" listed "Hungry" at #31 and "Rio" at #60. MTV named "Hungry" the fifteenth of their most-played videos of all time.
The band has released several video compilations, starting with the self-titled "video album" Duran Duran, for which they won a Grammy award, up to the 2004 two-disc DVD release Greatest, which included alternative versions of several popular videos as Easter eggs. In addition to Greatest, the documentary Sing Blue Silver, and the concert film Arena (both from 1984) were released on DVD in 2004. Live From London, a concert video from one of their sold-out 2004 reunion shows at Wembley Arena, was released in the fall of 2005.
Other video collections, concert films, and documentaries remain available only on videotape, and Duran Duran have not yet released a collection which includes all their videos. The band has said that a huge amount of unreleased concert and documentary footage has been filmed over the years, which they hope can be edited and released in some form in the near future. The video for "Falling Down" was released in October 2007.
from:1980 till:2008 text:S Le Bon
from:1980 till:2008 text:N Rhodes
from:1980 till:1997 text:J Taylor
from:2001 till:2008 text:J Taylor
from:1980 till:1986 text:A Taylor
from:1986 till:2001 text:W Cuccurullo
from:2001 till:2006 text:A Taylor
from:2006 till:2008 text:None (Dom Brown is not a full band member)
from:1980 till:1985 text:R Taylor
from:1988 till:1991 text:S Campbell
from:2001 till:2008 text:R Taylor