Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Duran Duran



A-Z Challenge fatigue shouldn't be setting in by "D" but there you go. In last year's challenge I pointed out that there are a lot of doom laden words beginning with D - doom, for instance. Or disaster, dire and depression. So perhaps "D" is officially the hump letter of the A-Z challenge.

The best artist beginning with "D" must surely be Bob Dylan. But I don't have time to do him justice; the most intriguing band is surely the Doors. I have never heard anything from Dying Fetus and I really have no inclination to.

Duran Duran may not have the depth but they are hard to resist because they had the glitz. Perhaps it was the element of escapism that drew me to Duran in my teens. Cities were going up in smoke, acne was making inroads by the day and Duran were hanging out on yachts and making glamorous videos, while singing about girls called Rio.

The other curious thing about Duran is the fact they came from Birmingham, the city I was born in. This was remarkable because I don't believe anything glamorous has ever come out of Birmingham before or since, although it's home to a great chocolate factory. If you ever encounter anyone from Birmingham you have to remember to be patient. People from Birmingham have a genetic defect which means it takes longer for messages to travel from their brain to their mouth than other people. It doesn't mean they're not as bright.

Apparently the band would play at a venue called Barbarella's in Birmingham in the early days. They would later name the band after the villain from Barbarella, Roger Vadim's French science-fiction film. The villain, played by Milo O'Shea, is named "Dr. Durand Durand".

Duran at the height of their fame in the early 1980s comprised lead singer Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor. None of the Taylors were related and half of the teenage boys in Britain wanted to be John Taylor.

Duran worked very carefully on their image with the likes of Vivian Westwood and Giorgio Armani. Their early video for Girls on Film was infamous for its topless mud wrestling women. It did the band no harm.



The band became so big they gained a "fab five" image that aped The Beatles. Princess Diana was a big fan. Later they came to regret the heartthrob image and spent a long time trying to distance themselves from it.

"We used to be a very chi-chi name to drop in '79, but then the Fab Five hype started and something went wrong. Something went really wrong. That wasn't what I wanted. [...] Not that I didn't like being screamed at. At one point I really did," commented John Taylor.




Duran were clearly not The Beatles but some of their stuff sounded pretty good and still does. I still hanker to visit the island where Save a Prayer was filmed.

And a View to a Kill is certainly one of the best Bond themes around.

Duran also had a surprising renaissance in the 1990s at a time when most of the frilly shirted New Romantic bands of the 1980s were as dead as Monty's parrot. Ordinary World and Come Undone remain two of their best songs. They even gained a presence in the United States.



Given the fact these guys had the world at their feet, it's amazing how much time they seem to have spent being disgruntled or squabbling with various Taylors in a perpetual state of departure.

Curious fact about Duran Duran: Simon Le Bon inadvertently hit a falsetto note singing A View to a Kill during Live Aid which he later described as the most humiliating moment of his career. It's uncertain how he continued to live from this moment on.






19 comments:

  1. I loved DD in middle and high school. I lost interest after Wild Boys, but they had quite the run.

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  2. I love that you are doing bands for your a to z challenge. The flash from the past is a lot of fun!

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  3. Great post, David. The last line made me giggle. :)

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  4. I loved Duran Duran!!! I can live w/o Hungry Like a Wolf, but Save a Prayer and View to a Kill are so great. And also Skin Trade. ELO is also from Birmingham.

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  5. Of course I have heard of DD but would be hard pressed to name a song..
    Love the history lessons with the posts.

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  6. I was in love with John, the bassist in the 1980s. Oh my was he the bees knees!

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  7. Their image was so glamorous and the music was pretty good too.

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  8. I'm only 22 so they're before when I started getting into music, however I find their image nothing short of beautiful. I love the whole androgyny thing.

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  9. Men should NOT be that pretty!

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  10. I liked Duran Duran well some of their music at least and they do look easy on the eye.

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  11. It has been a pleasure to catch up on your A-Z band challenge so far and I'm very impressed. I was in hospital having my appendix out when View to a Kill was released and I remember the hospital radio playing it and dedicating it to me. Loved DD back in the day and really liked their 1993 Wedding Album as well.

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  12. A friend of mine still, to this day, wants to party like they were partying in the Girls on Film video!

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  13. Yes Wild Boys was probably their worst single, Tim. Thanx Alyson, am getting all nostalgic myself.

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  14. Thanks so much Daisy, appreacite the visit Jo Jo

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  15. Really Vodka? Yes he certainly had the chick appeal Scots Lass. Tis True Sarah, at least they were not a mindless boy band

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  16. Cheers Natalie - that was big in the eighties. lol, Li. 4sure Rek. Nice memory Abi, thanks for the Fb shout

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  17. I'm not as rabid a double D fan as some, but I have loved them for many moons...they've shaped many of my ideas about music and men (which both amuses and worries me). :-)

    I loved the primal beat in Wild Boys, and seem to recall that the View to a Kill song enjoyed more commercial success than the film. My fave DD tune is probably "Late Bar."

    Some Dark Romantic

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  18. Oh my - talk about a flashback to middle school! I was a huge Duranie! But then I fell in love with some other guys from across the pond called Def Leppard - ~swoon!~

    I don't think I could choose which was my favorite song - New Moon on Monday or the Reflex probably.

    Lisa, Random Ramblings

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