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"Her name is Rio, and I'm hungry like the wolf."
—Edited audio from an ad for a Duran, Duran concert
Duran Duran are an English pop rock band famous for a long series of popular singles, albums and vivid music videos, for which they've won two Grammy Awards. They were one of the most commercially successful of the New Romantic bands and a leading band in the MTV-driven "Second British Invasion" of the United States. They are named after the character of Professor Durand Durand from the 1968 movie Barbarella.
The group were generally considered part of the New Romantic scene, with other style-and-dance bands such as Spandau Ballet, Japan and ABC. In 1980, they recorded two demo tapes and performed in clubs around Birmingham and London. In late 1980, when touring as an opening act for Hazel O'Connor, the band attracted critical attention, resulting in a bidding war between the record companies EMI and Phonogram Records. "A certain patriotism" toward the label of The Beatles led them to sign with EMI in December. However, Nick Rhodes said in a 1998 interview with Deluxe magazine, that the band felt they were "appallingly ripped off" by the EMI contract.
Duran Duran were amongst the earliest bands to work on their own remixes. Before the days of digital synthesizers and easy audio sampling, they created multilayered arrangements of their singles, sometimes recording entirely different extended performances of the songs in the studio. These "night versions" were generally available only on vinyl, as b-sides to 45 rpm singles or on 12-inch club singles, until the release of the compilation Night Versions: The Essential Duran Duran in 1998.
Although they began their career as "a group of art school, experimental, post punk rockers", the band's quick rise to stardom, polished good looks, and embrace of the teen press, almost guaranteed disfavour from music critics. During the 1980s, Duran Duran were considered the quintessential manufactured, throw-away pop group. However, according to the Sunday Herald, "To describe them, as some have, as the first Boy Band, misrepresents their appeal. Their weapons were never just their looks, but self-penned songs." As Moby said of the band in his website diary in 2003: "... they were cursed by what we can call the 'Bee Gees' curse, which is: 'write amazing songs, sell tons of records, and consequently incur the wrath or disinterest of the rock obsessed critical establishment'."
Several of the band's contemporaries, including The Bangles, Elton John, Kylie Minogue and Paul Young, have named themselves fans of the band's stylish, uplifting pop. Simon LeBon described the group as "the band to dance to when the bomb drops". Successors like Barenaked Ladies, Beck, Jonathan Davis of Korn, The Bravery, Gwen Stefani and Pink have all cited Duran Duran as a key band in their formative years. The newest crop of performers to name Duran Duran as influences include Dido, Franz Ferdinand, Panic! at the Disco, Lostprophets (who took their name from the title of a Duran Duran bootleg tape), Goldfrapp and The Killers, and Scissor Sisters, who first came to wide notice while touring as DD's opening act.
Notable Duran Duran videos include:
- Hungry Like The Wolf
- Is There Something I Should Know
- New Moon On Monday
- The Reflex
- Girls On Film
- A View To A Kill
- Union Of The Snake
- Save a Prayer
- Ordinary World
To those of you who are in the know: LESTAAAAAAAAAAAAT!
Duran Duran has examples of:
- Breakaway Pop Hit: The song "A View To A Kill" is still the only James Bond song to go to #1 on the Billboard charts.
- Breakup Breakout: Ultimately averted, as none of the side projects the band members pursued in their side projects were able to match the success of the main group. For a while, it looked like Andy Taylor would pull it off, as he received a very good contract with a major label and had a few hit singles as a solo artist in the Hard Rock category, but his debut album didn't meet the label's expectations.
- Cast Full of Pretty Boys
- Cover Album: Thank You.
- The Eighties
- Eighties Hair
- Even the Guys Want Him: Simon Le Bon, causing multiple Stupid Sexy Flanders reactions ever since 1980.
- Every One Remembers the Stripper: The controversial Girls on Film caused quite a stir and Simon Le Bon would later complain that its notoriety had overshadowed the message in his lyrics.
- Fan Nickname: The Fab Five.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: John Taylor and Nick Rhodes. They'd known each other since age ten, and John's departure from the band supposedly hit Nick almost like a breakup.
- Lyrics Video Mismatch: "Come Undone". The lyrics appear to be about offering to help a person who's coming apart at the seams. The video is about a woman performing an underwater escape from chains and a male transvestite, among other images.
- Man in White: Simon wore a nice white suit in the video for Save A Prayer
- The Movie: Arena. Sort of.
- MTV: Duran Duran's popularity was partly to due this channel.
- Name's the Same: The groups first drummer was called Roger Taylor.
- New Sound Album: Notorious, the first album after the 1985 hiatus, saw the group move toward Funk, resulting in considerable They Changed It, Now It Sucks and Broken Base reactions from fans and critics (though the latter hadn't been terribly well disposed to them beforehand). Occurred to a lesser extent with The Wedding Album, which had a kind of proto-Britpop vibe.
- Notable Music Videos: Their cinematic music videos were popular in their day.
- The Pete Best: Andy Wickett, one of the lead singers they had before Simon Le Bon. Another of the early vocalists, Stephen Duffy, might also qualify, but he had success as a songwriter and producer in partnership with Robbie Williams later on and also released some albums of his own.
- Real Song Theme Tune :Girls on Film was used as the Speed Grapher OP. Watch it here
- The Rival: The music press developed a sort of friendly rivalry between Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet, although members of both groups have said that they enjoyed listening to each others' records.
- Self-Titled Album: Their debut album was self titled, as was the big comeback album they released in 1993. The latter is often referred to as The Wedding Album to distinguish it from the earlier record.
- Shout-Out: The music videos for Hungry Like the Wolf and Wild Boys are shout outs to Indiana Jones and Mad Max.
- Surreal Music Video
- Theme Tune: A View to a Kill, the only Bond theme to be a number one single in the US.
- Viral Marketing: They seem to be trying for this with the music video for Girl Panic!, having released a grand total of eleven teaser trailers onto Youtube, as well as encouraging people to spread the word on twitter with the hashtag #girlpanic. Seems to have worked.
- Word Salad Lyrics: The early lyrics came from a book of poetry Simon Le Bon had written, and he doesn't like to explain what any of them mean.
- The Reflex is a particularly notable example.
"You've gone too far this time,