The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
A Decade in the Life
of
Duran Duran
Simon Le Bon
(vocals; b. 10.27.58, Bushey, Herts.)
 Andy Taylor
(guitar; b. 2.16.61, Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear)
Nick Rhodes
(keyboards; b. Nicholas Bates, 6.8.62, Moseley, Warks.)
John Taylor
(bass; b. 6.20.60, Birmingham), Roger Taylor
(drums; b. 4.26.60, Castle Bromwich, Warks.)

Duran Duran personified the New Romantic movement that arose in the early Eighties, partly as a reaction to the punk-rock music scene. The band quickly became a music sensation not seen in Britain since the advent of The Beatles; in fact, the British press took to calling them the Fab Five and Princess Di was wont to say that Duran Duran was one of her favorite bands. By 1982 they were teen idol superstars in Europe. In March 1983, when a visit by the band to a record store in New York City attracted 5,000 screaming fans in a matter of minutes, it became clear that Duran Fever had crossed the Atlantic. Critics claimed that the band would not have achieved the success that it did without a series of first-rate -- and sometimes controversial -- videos. It's true that the album Rio languished in American record bins until the video for "Hungry Like The Wolf" earned heavy rotation status on MTV, but fans in Europe caught up in "Durandemonium" were hooked by high-energy live performances turned in by the aggressively touring quintet. In retrospect, many  critics now concede that Duran Duran's music was a cut above that of most of their New Romantic contemporaries.

In Birmingham, West Midlands, schoolmates Nick Rhodes and John Taylor joined forces with bass player Simon Colley and vocalist Stephen Duffy to form a band. In 1978 the group played gigs at Barbarella's Club in Birmingham, and took their name, Duran Duran, from the villain in the Jane Fonda sci-fi flick Barbarella. When Colley and Duffy departed the following year, ex-TV Eye vocalist Andy Wickett and ex-Sex Organ drummer Roger Taylor took their places, while John Taylor switched to bass. An ad in Melody Maker brought guitarist Andy Taylor into the fold. In 1980 the owners of Birmingham's new Rum Runner Club, brothers Paul and Michael Barrow, signed a management contract with the band. When Wickett quit, Duran Duran began search for a new vocalist -- a search that ended when Birmingham University drama student  Simon Le Bon auditioned. LeBon was a veteran of the punk rock band Dog Days, and when he finished his last term at university in the summer of 1980, Duran Duran was ready to embark on their first major tour, encouraged by a very positive reaction from crowds at the Edinburgh Festival in July...


November 1980
Duran Duran plays its first major UK tour dates while their managers negotiate a record deal with EMI.
March 1981
The band's first single," Planet Earth" peaks at UK#12. They launch a world tour the following month that will continue until Christmas.
August 1981
"Girls On Film" soars to UK#5 even though its risque video, directed by Godley & Creme and featuring nude models, is banned by the BBC as well as MTV.
September 1981
The band's debut album, Duran Duran makes it to UK#3. It will remain on the UK album chart for 118 weeks.
April 1982
Duran Duran embarks on another world tour that will last until the end of the year. Next month, Rio will peak at UK#2 and remain on the charts for the remainder of 1981.
June 1982
"Hungry Like The Wolf" climbs to UK#5, helped in part by a very popular video filmed in Sri Lanka.
July 1982
Guitarist Andy Taylor marries the band's hairdresser, Tracey Wilson, in a ceremony at L.A.'s Chateau Marmont during an American tour.
September 1982
"Save A Prayer" hits UK#2.
December 1982
"Rio" climbs to UK #9, the band's fourth Top Ten hit.
February 1983
Getting heavy rotation on MTV, "Hungry Like The Wolf" peaks at US#3. Rio climbes to the #6 spot on the US album chart. Both the single and the album will be million sellers. Rio will remain charted for 129 weeks.
March 1983
"Is There Something I Should Know" debuts at UK#1, a feat achieved only by Elvis, The Beatles and a few other artists previously. In August the single will top off at US#4, becoming another million seller.
November 1983
The band launches a five-month world tour as "Union Of The Snake," from the new album Seven and the Ragged Tiger, makes it to UK#3. The song will also reach the #3 spot on the US chart.  In December, Seven tops the UK chart for a week.
February 1984
As Seven and the Ragged Tiger hits US#8 and the single "New Moon On Monday" peaks at UK#9, Duran Duran wins Best Video Album (Duran Duran) and Best Video Short Form ("Girls On Film/Hungry Like The Wolf") at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards.
May 1984
Produced by Nile Rodgers, "The Reflex" soars to the top of the UK singles chart, where it will remain for four weeks. In June it will reach the top of the US singles chart, and stay there for two weeks.
July 1984
Drummer Roger Taylor marries Giovanna Cantonne in Naples. The following month, Nick Rhodes weds American model Julie Anne in London.
November 1984
"The Wild Boys," produced by Nile Rodgers and the band, hits UK#2. Duran Duran participates in the recording of Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
December 1984
"The Wild Boys" peaks at US#2 and is placed on the live album Arena, recorded during the previous world tour. The album hits UK#6 and US#4, becoming the band's fourth platinum platter. The documentary Sing Blue Silver, filmed during the world tour, is released.
January 1985
During a Duran Duran hiatus, Andy and John Taylor team up with Robert Palmer and ex-Chic drummer Tony Thompson -- a group called Power Station.
February 1985
"The Wild Boys" wins the Best British Music Video at the 4th Annual BRIT Awards. In March, "The Reflex" is named International Hit of the Year at the 30th Annual Ivor Novello Awards.
March 1985
While Duran Duran's "Save A Prayer" climbs to US#16, Power Station's "Some Like It Hot," written by the Taylors and Palmer, reaches UK#14.
April 1985
The Power Station debuts at UK#12. Next month, "Some Like It Hot" will reach US#6. Also in May, "A View To A Kill," theme song to the James Bond film by the same name, and co-written by Duran Duran and composer John Barry, hits UK#2.
June 1985
Power Station's remake of Marc Bolan's "Get It On" peaks at UK#22.
July 1985
Both Duran Duran and Power Station (with Michael des Barres filling in for Robert Palmer) perform at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia. On the same day, "A View To A Kill" tops the US singles chart. It will become Duran Duran's sixth million-selling single.
August 1985
Power Station's "Get It On" stalls at US#9, one notch higher than the original 1972 version. Le Bon, Rhodes and Roger Taylor form a sideline band called Arcadia and record an album. Le Bon nearly drowns in a sailing accident.
November 1985
Arcadia's first single, "Election Day," featuring Grace Jones, makes it to UK#7 and US#6 while the album So Red The Rose climbs to UK#30.  (It will peak at US#23 in January, 1986.) Simon le Bon marries model Yasmin Parvanah.
April 1986
As Duran Duran prepares to record a new album, John Taylor's solo single "I Do What I Do," the theme from the film 9 1/2 Weeks, climbs to UK#42 and US#23. Roger Taylor announces he is taking a sabbatical and leaves the band, never to return.
June 1986
During recording sessions, Andy Taylor announces his departure from the band to pursue a solo career. He signs on with MCA Records and begins work on an album with ex-Sex Pistol Steve Jones. In August his solo single, "Take It Easy" will stall at US#24.
November 1986
Duran Duran's "Notorious," title track from the new album, climbs to UK#7. The album itself, co-produced by Nile Rodgers and the band (now a trio), will reach UK#16 in December.
January 1987
"Notorious" hits US#2, and the album of the same name reaches US#12.
April 1987
Duran Duran's  performance at The Secret Policeman's Third Ball in the London Palladium is rumored to be their last concert.
May 1987
The band performs live in a benefit for homeless children at New York's Beacon Theater.
January 1988
Simon le Bon, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor are joined by ex-Missing Persons guitarist Warren Cuccurullo to record a new album in Paris.
October 1988
"I Don't Want Your Love" peaks at UK#14. The band gives a free concert in a parking lot on the corner of Sunset and Vine in Hollywood to an estimated crowd of 5,000.
December 1988
"I Don't Want Your Love" soars to US#4, and Big Thing makes it to the #24 spot on the US album chart. The album will reach UK#30 in early 1989.
January 1989
"All She Wants Is" hits UK#9. Next month it will peak at US#22.
November 1989
The compilation album, Decade, rockets to UK#5.


Duran Duran (EMI, 1981)
Girls On Film
Planet Earth
Anyone Out There
Careless Memories
Is There Something I Should Know?
Night Boat
Sound of Thunder
Friends Of Mine
Tel Aviv
To The Shore

"Tracks like 'Planet Earth,''Girls On Film' and 'Is There Something I Should Know' take the attributes of '70s disco -- preeminent beat, repetition and studio gimmickry -- and meld them to a variant on post-Ultravox rock to create something fairly original (at the time, at least.) The elongated strains of synthesizer and syncopated tempos cover a multitude of creative shortcomings, but it's still an extraordinary album, filled with now-classic songs."
Trouser Press

"Duran World Domination starts here with a saccharine-sweet sound and, most importantly, a proper i-d." Sounds

Rio (EMI, 1982)
Rio
My Own Way
Lonely In Your Nightmare
Hungry Like The Wolf
Hold Back The Rain
New Religion
Last Chance On The Stairway
Save A Prayer
The Chauffeur

"The true culmination of the much misunderstood New Romanticism -- energetic, proud, enthusiastic joyous: something to escape FULLY into."
Melody Maker

"Rio fulfills the band's potential, displaying stronger songwriting and far more intricate arrangements. The music's clearly danceable, but brilliantly listenable as well."
Trouser Press

Seven and the Ragged Tiger (EMI, 1983)
The Reflex
New Moon On Monday
Cracks In The Pavement
I Take The Dice
Of Crime And Passion
Union Of The Snake
Shadows On Your Side
Tiger Tiger
The Seventh Stranger

Restores danger and menace to a band that was veering dangerously close to the insipid."
Melody Maker

"Pathetic, useless, no good. It's pretentious, pompous and possibly the first chapter in their decline." -- Record Mirror

Arena (Parlophone, 1984)
Is There Something I Should Know?
Hungry Like The Wolf
New Religion
Save A Prayer
The Wild Boys
The Seventh Stranger
The Chauffeur
Union Of The Snake
Planet Earth
Careless Memories

"It is not, one suspects, terribly live, this round-the-world-in-80-limos live album . . . I had imagined the lads might be able to play their instruments by now, but one can't demand everything . . . Even Nile Rodgers cannot disguise their apparent lack of feel for this art form."
NME

"If it's critical approbation they're seeking, it won't happen this way."
Record Mirror

Notorious (EMI, 1986)
Notorious
American Science
Skin Trade
A Matter Of Feeling
Hold Me
Vertigo
So Misled
Meet El Presidente
Winter Marches On
Proposition

"A lack of material, a surplus of horns and the overall sterile pop-funk precision leave Duran resembling a dull, toned-down Power Station with no songs."
Trouser Press

"Thanks to Nile Rodgers' polished, radio-friendly production, Notorious was a success, as the band found a middle ground between synth-pop and white funk."
All Music Guide

Big Thing (EMI, 1988)
Big Thing
I Don't Want Your Love
All She Wants Is
Too Late Marlene
Drug
Do You Believe In Shame?
Palomino
Interlude One
Land
Flute Interlude
The Edge of America
Lake Shore Driving

"Big Thing replicated the clean, mechanized funk of Notorious, yet the band failed to come up with a batch of strong songs."
All Music Guide


In 1991, the RIAA certified both Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger double platinum.

Reflecting on the band's fortunes during the 1980s, John Taylor said, "From Live Aid on you had to have a social conscience and we represented '80s decadence. After Live Aid it was like: U2 in, Duran out."

Duran Duran makes a "comeback" in 1993 with "Ordinary World," which reaches US#3 and UK#6. The album Duran Duran (The Wedding Album), recorded at Cucurullo's home studio, debuts at UK#4 and will peak at #7 on the US chart. A subsequent single, "Come Undone," is also a Top Ten hit.

As Power Station, Andy and John Taylor, with Michael des Barres and Tony Thompson, made a guest appearance in a 1985 episode of NBC's Miami Vice.

None of the Taylors in Duran Duran are related to one another.