Duran Duran were one of the biggest bands of the 1980’s, but have never disbanded and are still recording today. The band had a string of hits including Girls on Film, Rio, Hungry Like The Wolf and the James Bond theme A View To A Kill, and were initially part of the New Romantic scene, dressing flamboyantly and with crazy big hair styles. They also have the honour of being named Princess Diana’s favourite band!
The band first formed in Birmingham in 1978, the founding members being Nick Rhodes (keyboards) and John Taylor (bass guitar). They were joined by Roger Taylor (drums), Andy Taylor (guitar) and Simon Le Bon (lead vocals). By the way, all those Taylor’s are not related, they all just happen to share a surname by some strange coincidence! As mentioned the band have never broken up, but in the early 1990’s there were some line up changes. Warren Cuccurullo took over guitar and Sterling Campbell the drums, but the original five band members got back together at the beginning of this decade, although Andy Taylor has left once more since then.
The band took their name from the raunchy Jane Fonda film Barbarella, being the name of the villainous Dr. Durand Durand. Maybe this fact had some influence in the decision making for the video for Girls On Film. This song was the third single to be released from the bands first album (also called Duran Duran, released in 1981) and ended up being banned by the BBC for the scenes showing topless girls mud wrestling, amongst other fetishist moments. The song went to number 5 in the UK charts even before the video had been recorded, so at least sales of the record were for the song rather than the video that accompanied it.
Their second album, Rio, was released in 1982 and featured both title song Rio, which I’ll always remember for the video set aboard a massive yacht, and Hungry Like The Wolf, both of which performed well in the charts as singles, with Rio reaching number 2 in the UK charts, and number 6 in the US. A rerelease of their first album in the US with the addition of new song Is There Something I Should Know cemented the bands reputation over there, and the single release of this new song reached number 4 in the US charts and went straight to the top spot when released in the UK. Their second UK number one came with The Reflex.
In 1985 the band released the Bond theme A View To A Kill, which is the only Bond theme to ever top the US charts, and the highest placed in the UK where it just missed out and reached the number 2 slot. This song ended up being a bit of a turning point for the band, and after this their popularity began to wane. They have remained active however, releasing songs at a steady rate to the present day.
Finally, some band members have also had success outside of the band. In 1983 Nick Rhodes produced the UK number 1 hit Too Shy for the oddly named Kajagoogoo and Simon Le Bon took part in the Whitbread Round The World yacht race in his boat. Maybe he got the inspiration for this from the Rio video? He also hit the headlines in 1985 when his yacht, Drum, capsized during the Fastnet race, trapping him under the hull for around 20 minutes.