Duran Duran have sold over 70 million records to date and have had an extraordinary career that has made them one of
the most successful groups of the past few decades. They fused pop music, art and fashion to an unprecedented degree and single-handedly
took music video making to a new level. They transformed what had previously been a simple marketing tool into what is now
one of the music industry's most valuable assets. With exotic locations, beautiful girls and stunning visuals, Duran Duran
set a whole new standard. Their success followed years of hard work and relentless touring. Good looks, great style and a
wealth of confidence completed the package
They wrote classic, timeless pop songs combining rock guitars with infectious
melodies and memorable lyrics. They played to sold-out audiences around the world and broke box office records everywhere
they went. The media compared them to the Beatles as hysteria preceded them, both on stage and off. They tapped into the mood
of the times and captured an army of adoring fans.
Now they are back together to do it all again.
Birmingham, England in 1978, by keyboardist Nick Rhodes and bassist John Taylor, Duran Duran's sound was inspired by the soul
music of their youth, the vibrant New York underground music scene of the 70's (the New York Dolls and Velvet Underground),
the iconic David Bowie and avant garde bands like Roxy Music. At the time, John was at art college and Nick was finishing
up at high school.
The first incarnation of the band was rounded out by fellow art student Stephen Duffy and another
friend, who was at catering college - Simon Colley. Simon played clarinet and bass. Nick had one small synthesizer and a drum
machine. John played guitar and Stephen sang and played a fretless. The local college circuit became their practice ground,
but before too long Simon and Stephen moved on to pursue other opportunities and Nick and John were left looking for replacements.
Over the subsequent months, a number of new faces came and went before Roger Taylor joined the band on drums. He was
more experienced than many of his predecessors in the group, having played with local punk heroes, The Scent Organs. With
Roger on board, John took up the bass and the newly christened Duran Duran (named after a character in Roger Vadim's sci-fi
classic, Barbarella) started to develop a funky style, that was less about punk rock and more in tune with some of the up-and-coming
bands of the day, like Simple Minds and Japan.
Although still newcomers, John, Roger and Nick were keen to find a label for themselves, so quickly started to send out
their demos, visit London-based record companies and find higher profile gigs that they thought could further their cause.
As part of this process, they approached the local Rum Runner nightclub - a fashionable spot where they were confident they
would go over well.
Listening to their demos, the owners of the Rum Runner, Paul and Michael Berrow, saw something
in the band that they were sure they could make successful. Immediately the band became residents at the club, writing and
rehearsing in an empty room during the day and DJ'ing and working in the club at night.
Auditions for new band members
followed - with Andy Taylor answering an ad in Melody Maker and Simon LeBon joining shortly thereafter, having been introduced
by his ex-girlfriend, who bartended at the club. Unlike the rest of the band, Simon came from the South, but was studying
drama at Birmingham University.
In the months that followed, the band worked tirelessly - writing and recording, and
playing live whenever and wherever they could. By 1980, after supporting Hazel O'Connor on tour, their efforts were rewarded
as the buzz built and a record company bidding war erupted. Eventually EMI Records came through, putting the band immediately
into the studio with producer Colin Thurston.
Their eponymous debut album sold more than 2.5 million copies in 1981,
staying on the charts for an astonishing 118 weeks and spawning the hit single 'Planet Earth'. That same year, they became
the first pop act to do a 12" remix (also 'Planet Earth') and to release a controversial video (directed by Godley and Creme)
for the dance mix of 'Girls on Film', that was subsequently banned by both MTV and the BBC.
With hindsight, it seems
strange that the band so rapidly became the poster-boys for a new generation of teenagers, as 'Duran Duran' was the antithesis
of a traditional pop album. The lyrical themes were obviously adult-orientated; the music - while pop-tinged and dance-fueled
- had a much darker quality. As they themselves had initially stated, there was a hint of early Damned to their sound; a shadowed,
European twist that filled the album with an almost gloomy atmosphere.
Duran Duran shot to fame as part of the
"Second British Invasion" of the 1980s that included groups like Spandau Ballet, Human League, Ultravox and Culture Club -
and yet, they always stood apart - delivering an electric live show, pushing the boundaries of new technology and enduring
longer than any of their peers.
Classic chart-toppers such as 'Hungry Like the Wolf', 'Rio' and 'Save A Prayer' followed
on their multi-platinum, sophomore release 'Rio', as the band shot to another level of success with their exotic and groundbreaking
videos. It was during this time that Princess Diana declared Duran to be her favorite band, and friends like artists Andy
Warhol and Keith Haring lent their support. By now the music had traveled outside the UK and the band were enjoying global
By 1983 'Hungry Like the Wolf' (which was filmed in Sri Lanka by director Russell Mulcahy) had become one
of the most played videos on MTV. Later that year 'Is There Something I Should Know' went straight to #1 in the UK and hit
#4 in the US.
The band's third album, 1984's 'Seven and the Ragged Tiger' earned Duran Duran their first Stateside
#1, with 'The Reflex'. That same year, Rolling Stone magazine christened the band "The Fab Five", as their single 'Union of
the Snake' exploded around the world.
By now, the band were playing sold-out arenas and breaking box office records
everywhere they went. Awards, hits, and global branding became the norm. As one successful single followed the next, it seemed
like they could do no wrong.
In only three years they had done three world tours, an unprecedented number of interviews
and TV appearances galore. On this schedule there was no respite from the press, the pressure, the demands or the fans. The
problem, however, was that although they wanted to pull back, the offers just kept coming - getting better and better all
When you add up their chart successes, the awards, the album and singles sales, the number of concert tickets
they sold, the stadiums they filled, the ground-breaking videos they made, and the influence they've had on generations of
musicians, theirs' is a story that only a handful of artists, such as U2, the Rolling Stones, and Madonna, can tell.
both individuals and founders of one of the world's most influential pop groups, the five band members have always pushed
the boundaries and set new standards. Looking to set trends, rather than follow them, they have taken risks that others would
have shied away from. The results speak for themselves.
Like all bands, Duran Duran have had their share of highs
and lows - both personally and professionally. Unlike many bands, however, they have been able to maintain a clear vision
of who they are, and continue to write great pop songs that will stand the test of time and enthrall generations of fans to
With the phenomenal success they have already enjoyed and their intense commitment to the future, Duran Duran
are uniquely positioned. They are a household name around the world - a recognizable and respected brand to generations of
music lovers. They have a rich and colourful past. They have an equally exciting and dynamic future.