*BIAS ALERT* How could a pretty-boy synth band out of Birmingham, England, whose audience was almost exclusively female, have such an influence on a 10-year old Canadian boy? Better yet, how could this same band have last over 3 decades of while influencing hundreds of bands and still sound vital?
Over to you, Duran Duran.
Formed in 1978 by Nick Rhodes (keyboards) and John Taylor (bass), they played the clubs in town and the big club, where bands like The Sex Pistols and The Clash played gigs, was called Barbarella's. They would go on to name the band after a character from Barbarella, Roger Vadim's French science-fiction film starring Jane Fonda. The character, played by Milo O'Shea, was named "Dr. Durand Durand".
A little history - Being a child of the 80's my musical tastes were shaped by the usual suspects: Prince, Boy George, Michael Jackson... but there was one factor above anything else that led me to the Fab Five - censorship.
My mother, in her well-intentioned, loving way, forbade me to see Michael Jackson's Thriller (although there was no way the ban hold up outside of the household, added to the fact that I had already seen Stallone's First Blood at a friend's 9th birthday party, which was psychologically scarring than dancing zombies could ever be, but I digress...) which was always #1 on Toronto's CHUM 30 video countdown:
But I could only watch up to #2, which ended up being my gateway into popular music - Duran Duran's 'The Reflex' (shot at Maple Leaf Gardens!).
The end result being me becoming a lifelong Duranie.
Sure, they were (and are still somewhat) dreamy, but I was mesmerized by how they could switch and mix rock, pop, funk so effectively. It also didn't hurt that they were the trailblazers of the nascent video art form.
Yachts! Indiana Jonesesque quests! And this little epic that answered the question, "What if Mad Max started a pop band?"
But then Live Aid happened, and the stratosphere the band had reached quickly imploded, punctuated by the low note-but-yet-highest note of their careers.
The band split into two, with 2/5ths shacking up with a pre-Addicted-To-Love Robert Palmer to form the muscular funk-rock outfit The Power Station. The other 3/5ths became a poor-man's (yet almost as solid) Duran Duran as Arcadia.
Simon and Nick reformed the band with John Taylor in '86, with drummer Roger Taylor (becoming a hermit/sheep farmer in rural England) and guitarist Andy Taylor (not related to John or Roger, but on his own as a rock producer/nomadic guitar-slinger) doing their own thing. Duran Mark 2.0 was a little funkier, courtesy of Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers...
They were a trio until 1989, when they took on guitarist Warren Cuccurullo and drummer Sterling Campbell as full members. Liberty was released in 1990 but was, to put it plainly, a dud. Fast forward to 1992 and the mega-success of the "Wedding Album" and the all-conquering single, "Ordinary World":
Several so-so to good albums (Thank You, Medazzaland, Pop Trash, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre, All You Need Is Now), a complete original lineup reunion in the early 2000's, and the second departure of Andy Taylor later bring them to a present-day quartet as big as ever. Sold-out stadiums, the music industry falling at their feet to have the honour of collaborating with them...
...see - I said I was biased. Duran Duran were originally part of the New Romantic music movement (hence the Valentine's Day date of this post), but are now firmly pop/rock legends. Can't wait to see what's next.
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The officially unofficial blog of Faux Rawk. Everything you read is true, although some of what you read is 100% false. Whoa... trippy, man.