Duran Duran are an English electro/art-pop band from Birmingham that released three albums on EMI between 1981 and 1983: Duran Duran, Rio, and Seven and the Ragged Tiger. They scored multiple transatlantic hits, including “Planet Earth,” “Girls on Film,” “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Save a Prayer,” “Is There Something I Should Know,” “New Moon on Monday,” and “The Reflex.”
After a mid-’80s pause for the spin-off projects Arcadia and the Power Station, a revised lineup of Duran Duran issued two further albums on EMI between 1986 and 1988, followed by additional titles on Parlophone, Capitol, and Epic during the two subsequent decades.
As one of the key players in the Second British Invasion that swept the U.S. during 1982 and 1983, the band were among the biggest global acts through the first half of the decade. Since 1980, the band’s two mainstays have been vocalist Simon Le Bon and keyboardist Nick Rhodes.
Members: Nick Rhodes (keyboards), John Taylor (bass, guitar, 1978-97, 2001-present), Simon Colley (bass, 1978-80), Stephen Duffy (vocals, drums, bass, 1978-79), Andrew Wickett (vocals, 1979-80), Alan Curtis (guitar, 1979-80), Roger Taylor (drums, 1979-86, 1994, 2001-present), Jeff Thomas (vocals, 1980), Andy Taylor (guitar, 1980-86, 2001-06), Simon Le Bon (vocals, 1980-present), Sterling Campbell (drums, 1989-91), Warren Cuccurullo (guitar, 1989-2001)
Duran Duran was formed in 1978 Birmingham by guitarist/bassist John Taylor, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, and singer Stephan Duffy. They quickly earned a residency at local night spot Rum Runner, where the members worked assorted jobs when they weren’t performing. Another local club, Barbarella’s, was named after the 1968 sci-fi movie Barbarella. The band took its name from the antagonist in that movie, Dr. Durand Durand.
Duffy left the band in early 1979. (He resurfaced in the mid-’80s as a solo artist and later fronted sophisti-pop/folksters The Lilac Time.) Vocalist Andrew Wickett of unrecorded local punks TV Eye stepped in and Duran Duran began writing songs that would later see fruition, including “Girls On Film” and an embryonic “Rio.” The lineup was rounded by drummer Roger Taylor, formerly of unrecorded local punks the Scent Organs, and Newcastle guitarist Andy Taylor.
In early 1980, Wickett departed for reggae act The Xpertz. That May, Duran Duran found a permanent frontman in Simon Le Bon (b. Oct. 1958), a London native who’d recently studied drama at the University of Birmingham and volunteered in a communal kibbuts in the Isreal desert. At his first meeting with the band, he fit his poem “Sound of Thunder” to one of their instrumental pieces.
During a summer UK tour supporting Hazel O’Connor, labels took interest in the rising band. Amid a bidding war, Duran Duran signed to EMI that December.
Duran Duran released their self-titled debut album on June 15, 1981, on EMI.
“My Own Way”
Duran Duran released their second album, Rio, on May 10, 1982, on EMI.
“Is There Something I Should Know?”
On March 14, 1983, Duran Duran released “Is There Something I Should Know?” The song was added to a US re-release of their first album on Capitol. The b-side, “Faith in this Colour,” remained exclusive to this single.
Seven and the Ragged Tiger
Duran Duran released their third album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, on May 10, 1983, on EMI.
“The Reflex (Remix)”
Released: 16 April 1984 backed with a live cover of “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me),” a 1975 UK No. 1 by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel.
“A View to a Kill”
Released: 20 October 1986
“I Don’t Want Your Love”
Released: September 1988
“All She Wants Is”
Released: December 1988
“Do You Believe in Shame?”
Released: 10 April 1989
- Duran Duran (1981)
- Rio (1982)
- Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983)
- Notorious (1986)
- Big Thing (1988)
- Liberty (1990)
- Duran Duran [aka “the wedding album”] (1993)
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