Duran Duran are a band of delicious dichotomies: infectious pop melodies concealing complicated musical arrangements; pioneering synthesizers combined with distorted glam rock guitars. They were new wave outsiders who became music video stars – Tiger Beat fashion pinups who rocked arenas.
Formed in 1978 by John Taylor (bass) and Nick Rhodes (keyboards) in Birmingham, England, they were named after the villain of the 1968 cult sci-fi film Barbarella. Inspired by the sonic and visual vibrancy of David Bowie, Roxy Music, and Japan, they mixed the dance rhythms of Chic with a dash of the Sex Pistols’ danger and attitude. With the addition of drummer Roger Taylor, guitarist Andy Taylor, and vocalist Simon Le Bon, the group was complete, forming what the British press called the “Fab Five.” Their first album, Duran Duran, knocked open the doors to the 1980s with two hit singles and a sexually explicit music video for “Girls on Film” that was banned in the UK and edited for the newly launched MTV. Throughout the decade, Duran Duran produced a stream of smash albums including Rio, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, and Notorious, and their cinematic music videos made them superstars around the world. They filled arenas with their dynamic live performances and became darlings of dance clubs – one of the first bands to create their own 12” mixes (dubbed “Night Versions”).
By the early 1990s, the world of rock was shifting from synthesized sounds to the distorted guitars of grunge, and many artists were left behind, but not Duran Duran. In 1993, with guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, the band created a successful new album, reinventing themselves and charting two Billboard Top Ten singles. With over 100 million records sold and 18 hit singles in the U.S., they continue to innovate their sound, collaborating with new artists including Justin Timberlake, Tove Lo, Ana Matronic, and Janelle Monáe, and working with producers such as Timbaland and Mark Ronson.
“Girls on Film,” Duran Duran (1981) • “Rio,” “Hungry Like the Wolf,” Rio (1982) • “The Reflex,” “New Moon on Monday,” Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983) • “A View to a Kill,” (1985) • “Notorious,” Notorious (1986) • “Ordinary World,” Duran Duran (AKA The Wedding Album) (1993) • “(Reach Up for the) Sunrise,” Astronaut (2004) • “Give It All Up,” Future Past (2021)
Warren Cuccurullo, Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, Andy Taylor, John Taylor, Roger Taylor
Roxy Music, David Bowie, Chic
The Killers, No Doubt, Beck
1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard
Cleveland, Ohio 44114