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Duran Duran
Anyone who was growing up in the early 1980’s will testify, that Duran Duran were literally everywhere. The media compared them to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as hysteria preceded them, both on stage and off. And when you add up their chart successes, the awards, the album and singles sales, 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 eighties artists, such as U2, Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen can tell.

Origins & Early Years: 1978-81
Inspired by bands like Roxy Music, The Sex Pistols and David Bowie, schoolmates Nick Rhodes (on the keyboards) John Taylor (on the guitar) Simon Colley (on bass, clarinet) and Stephen Duffy (on vocals) formed Duran Duran in early 1978. Taking their name from the character of the mad scientist in Jane Fonda’s psychedelic sci-fi film – Barbarella - the group began playing gigs in the Birmingham club Barbarella, supported only by a drum machine. The band was on their way. But within a year, Duffy and Colley both left the group and were replaced by vocalist Andy Wickett and drummer Roger Taylor.
John, Roger and Nick knew what they wanted, and auditioned dozens of guitarists and singers, trying a few here and there as band members. Andy Taylor answered and ended up in the band. However, Duran Duran were still having trouble finding a vocalist. Fiona Kemp was a barmaid at the Rum Runner at the time, and she knew of an ex-boyfriend of hers who was a singer - Simon Le Bon. The summer of 1979 brought Simon to the Rum Runner. Fiona had told him Duran Duran was looking for a singer. So he arranged to meet Nick and Roger and ended up staying on permanently. The lineup for Duran Duran was finally in place.

The Duran Duran Age: 1981-84
As the band become popular within the burgeoning New Romantic circuit in England, by January 1981, Duran Duran got a deal with EMI Records, about six months after their agreement with the Berrow brothers. Planet Earth, the band's first single, quickly rose to number 12 upon its spring 1981 release. Immediately, Duran Duran became the leaders of the New Romantic movement, becoming media sensations in the British music and mainstream press. The group's popularity began to increase a hundredfold, largely through their cutting-edge music videos - especially the bizarre, racy clip for their single Girls On Film. Although the BBC and even MTV banned the video, (it was even a bit too hot for MTV back then with the nude/semi-nude women wrestling and the like) the single became the group's first Top 10 hit, setting the stage for the fall release of their eponymous debut album - Duran Duran.

Reformation & New Beginnings: 2003 - Present So twenty five years after the formation of Duran Duran, the five original members finally got back together again – long after they parted company to pursue other projects. In 2003, Duran Duran celebrated their 25th anniversary and the reunion of the five founding band members with a run of tremendously successful sold-out shows. And here’s the really big news. The original line up went back into the studio last year – and the result is - Astronaut - their first new album together since 1983's multi-platinum Seven & the Ragged Tiger.

You can read the rest of our feature on Duran Duran in the August 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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