I’m still mining the list of artists I’ve seen more than once. I shall not be featuring those I saw only once, or those where I didn’t last the distance, for obvious reasons. However, I might showcase those I wish I’d seen.This week I’m turning to fellow Brummies, Duran Duran and featuring a golden oldie and one of their relatively newer tracks.
Duran Duran are an English new wave band formed in Birmingham in 1978 by keyboardist Nick Rhodes and bassist John Taylor. With the addition of drummer Roger Taylor the following year the band went through numerous personnel changes before settling on the line-up including guitarist Andy Taylor (no relation to other two Taylors) and lead singer Simon Le Bon in May 1980.
When Duran Duran emerged they were generally considered part of the New Romantic scene. Innovators of the music video, Duran Duran was catapulted into the mainstream with the introduction of the 24-hour music channel MTV. The group was a leading band in the MTV-driven Second British Invasion of the US in the 1980s.
The band’s first major hit was Girls on Film (1981), from their self-titled debut album. The band’s breakthrough sophomore album was Rio (1982), which peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 album chart in the US, number two in the UK, and number one in Australia and Canada.
The songs Hungry Like the Wolf and Rio (above)featured cinematic music videos and became two of their biggest hits. The former won the inaugural Grammy Award for Best Music Video in 1984. Their follow-up third album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, became their only UK number one album and featured the US and UK number one single The Reflex. In 1985, the band topped the US charts with the single A View to a Kill from the soundtrack of the film of the same name.
Before the recording of their fourth album, 1986’s Notorious, Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor had both left the band. The band spent the rest of the 1980s and early 1990s continuing to release albums and singles, to only moderate success. Their comeback album, 1993’s Duran Duran featured two top-ten worldwide hits Ordinary World and Come Undone.
After John Taylor left in 1997, the band released a number of albums and singles which underperformed on the sales charts. A full reunion of the original lineup of Le Bon, Rhodes and all three Taylors in 2001 led to a number of highly successful concert tours and the 2004 album Astronaut, which reached number 3 in the UK and top 40 in numerous other countries. The album’s lead single (Reach Up for The) Sunrise (below) was an international dance hit, and reached number five in the UK. Andy Taylor left again in 2006, and the band has released four additional albums, with the most recent being Future Past in October 2021.
Duran Duran has sold over 100 million records, making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists. They achieved 30 top 40 singles in the U.K., 14 singles in the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart and 21 in the US Billboard Hot 100. The band have won numerous awards throughout their career: two Brit Awards including the 2004 award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, two Grammy Awards, an MTV Video Music Award for Lifetime Achievement, and a Video Visionary Award from the MTV Europe Music Awards. They were also awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2022.