“We were perfect,” John Taylor of Duran Duran told me in 2013, “and very few bands come out of the bag perfectly formed. A lot of other bands – and I hesitate to say U2, Radiohead – it took them three albums to find their thing.
Taylor wasn’t bragging. Okay, he probably was. However, the Birmingham, England quintet arrived in the United States in February 1984 – the anniversary of the Beatles’ first arrival at JFK, of course! “Duran introduced himself as if they owned the place. Armed with hit songs like “Hungry Like The Wolf,” “Rio,” and “Is There Something I Should Know,” not to mention their cinematic music videos, sex appeal, swagger, and leaping ambition, the band was also buoyed by an already-sold out arena tour. Locked up and loaded down, Duran Duran was ready to take his place as the Rolling Stones of the eighties.
It was wanted. In the late 70s, co-founders Taylor (bassist) and Nick Rhodes (keyboards) came up with the sound blueprint and career checklist before they even recruited members Roger Taylor (drums), Andy Taylor (guitar) and Simon Le Bon (singer). Inspired by the DIY ethos of the Sex Pistols, Duran would leave behind the grime and fury of punk legends but take on the raw power of Steve Jones’ incendiary guitar. To that they would add a funky rhythm section like that of Chic, the glamor of Roxy Music and a quest for world domination a la their greatest hero, David Bowie.
When I discovered Duran Duran (or rather, they found me), I was 11 years old and listening to Air Supply and the “Grease” soundtrack. But soon I transformed into new wave Carrie Ann, the little girl from “Poltergeist”, spending hours watching MTV while waiting for Duran’s exotic and escapist videos.
Until then, I shared my musical tastes with my parents, but it was all mine. I had found a new religion. From then on, everything I thought and felt was in the name of John, Nick, Simon, Roger and Andy. I went to their concerts and waited outside their hotels and recording studios. I ran an international Duran fanzine before pursuing a career in entertainment journalism so I could get paid to be around them. I married a Brit named Simon, only to be divorced for a hotter man named John. Indeed, this week, my husband and I are celebrating our 15th anniversary at a Duran Duran concert… by going to a Duran Duran concert!
It’s still hard to fathom that three days later, I’ll be watching my favorite band (winners of this year’s fan vote) be inducted into Rock Hall — and their first nomination. Over the years I’ve attended countless induction ceremonies as a fan crush, as a magazine editor, as a SiriusXM on-air host, all the time wondering if – and when – their day would come.
Now that it’s here, it’s the exclamation mark at the 40-year mark of a career that finds the past 12 months to be one of its most eventful to date. Following the 2021 release of their acclaimed 15th studio album, “Future Past,” 2022 brought a new part-documentary, part-performance film, “A Hollywood High”; a sold-out tour that included Madison Square Garden and a trio of shows at the Hollywood Bowl; and being part of a list of elite artists to perform at Party at the Palace, for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee.
Over the years, “we have come to accept a lot of things,” Le Bon told me a few years ago: “One of them is that we accept who we are. And I think other people also accept who Duran Duran is. Our positive attitude and our joy in our creativity have survived the enemies.
Now, one of the few remaining challenges is surviving the Rolling Stones.
Lori Majewski can be heard on SiriusXM volume.
This essay is part of a series – in partnership with the on-air talent of SiriusXM – to honor artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on November 5 in Los Angeles. Catch the entire 2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on HBO November 19 at 8 p.m. ET, plus a simulcast on SiriusXM’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Radio (Channel 310 ). SiriusXM listeners can also catch live behind-the-scenes coverage and commentary on Volume on the SXM app and on Faction Talk (channel 103).
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