Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Duran Duran

Okay so I can’t really do an A-Z challenge on an 80s blog without mentioning probably the most internationally successful New Romantic band – Duran Duran, but if you lived in the UK you believed that there were two huge New Romantic bands and you had to pick sides.   

The big two were Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran and I’m in the Spandau camp which was why when I emigrated ‘down under’ I had a huge shock as some of Spandau Ballet’s songs weren’t even heard of by many (gasp doesn’t really cover it).

I tried to explain to an Australian friend how Spandau and Duran Duran were just as big as each other in the UK during the 80s but he didn't get it until he watched an interview with Bob Geldof on the Live Aid DVD set.   The next day he saw me and was like - you know you were right with what you said about Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran.    I looked at him and thought 'I know I lived it, but why have you changed your tune'.   It turned out that Bob, being the sly dog that he is, asked Simon Le Bon (remember Duran Duran's lead singer) if Duran Duran would participate in Band Aid and when he hesitated to think about it he mentioned that Spandau Ballet had already said yes - Simon immediately said that Duran Duran would as well.   I don't know how true the story is, but my best friend when I was younger was a huge Duranie while I was a Spandau fan an d we tossed the pros and cons between 'our' groups constantly.

Back to Duran Duran they were huge and I can admit now that I’m in my 40s (haven’t the years flown by) that I liked their songs as well.   The line up was Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor and they were from Birmingham.   What I still find amazing is that they had three Taylors in the band and yet none of them were related - it must be a more common name in Birmingham than anywhere else!

In October 1980 as Spandau's first single was released they played in Birmingham and according to Gary Kemp's autobiography Duran Duran asked to play support - Spandau Ballet didn't have anyone playing support for them then so the answer was no.   A few months later in early 1981 Duran Duran's first single would be released and the rest is history.

Duran Duran's first single was Planet Earth and this cracked the UK's top twenty topping out at number 12, it was their 3rd single however that made every sit up and take notice - Girls on Film.   The single made number 5 in the charts, but then Duran Duran released the video.   The 80s saw the introduction of music video's being seen as just as important as the song and Duran Duran's Girls on Film video was scandalous and the sort of video that would have been played on the Playboy Channel back then.   The BBC quickly banned it which meant every young person saw it as censorship and wanted to know more about this band from Birmingham.

Duran Duran not only conquered the British youth, but ended up becoming the most internationally successful New Romantic band of the 80s.

I can’t think of a favourite Duran Duran song because as soon as I say Hungry Like  A Wolf then I’ll suddenly get Rio playing in my head  or Girls on Film, so I change my mind and what do you know I suddenly think of A View to a Kill or Is There Something I Should Know.

If you have a favourite Duran Duran song then leave it below.


  1. Hi, spotted your blog via the challenge, and although I was focusing on blogs with a fantasy/sci-fi bent, I couldn't pass up '80s music!

    If you didn't want to do Duran Duran for "D", you could have done Devo instead. Were they known in the UK, though? See, I didn't take a Duran Duran/Spandau Ballet stance in the '80s because Spandau Ballet are considered a one-hit wonder in the US (only made the top 20 once, with "True".) So I "preferred" Duran Duran, although I was never really a Duran Duran fan.

  2. I saw both these bands in recent years - saw Spandau Ballet with Tears For Fears (the latter were my preferred flavour :D), and Duran Duran at a festival three years back!