10 facts about Duran Duran as they issue a new album after 30 years together.
1: The band is named after a character in Barbarella
The Fab Five sought inspiration for their name in Roger Vadim’s classic 1968 movie starring Jane Fonda. The villain in the film, played by Milo O’Shea, is called “Dr Durand Durand”.
2: Simon Le Bon’s outlandish dress sense helped win him his place as frontman
In May 1980, the band were on the lookout for a new singer; Le Bon was recommended by an ex-girlfriend. According to reports, he turned up to his audition in pink leopard-print trousers, a brown jacket and pointy boots. “Anyone who looks that stupid,” Nick Rhodes said, “is positively the one.”
3: None of the various band members called Taylor are related
In a pleasing quirk of nomenclature, three different Taylors have been part of the band’s line-up at various points. Bass-player John Taylor formed the original band with Nick Rhodes in Birmingham in 1978. Drummer Roger Taylor joined the following year, and guitarist Andy Taylor came on board a few months later.
4: They were one of the first bands to use 35mm film for their videos
Duran Duran’s videos have also courted controversy for their sexually explicit content – the video for Girls on Film, which features topless models mud-wrestling and pillow-fighting, was banned by the BBC, and heavily edited for MTV.
5: They were Princess Diana’s favourite band
The Princess of Wales frequently referred to Duran Duran as her band of choice, and they responded in kind, performing at her memorial concert in 2006. “We are honoured that she always referred to Duran Duran as her favourite band,” Simon LeBon said at the time, “as she was certainly our favourite princess.”
6: Simon LeBon features on the original Band Aid single, Do They Know It’s Christmas?
His solo vocal contribution – “It’s hard, but when you’re having fun /There’s a world outside your window” – follows George Michael. He then joins Sting for a rousing rendition of the following lines: “And it’s a world of dreaded fear/ Where the only water flowing is a bitter sting of tears / And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom”.
7: A View To Kill is the only James Bond theme to have reached number one in the US
The song, from the film of the same name, was also the highest-placed Bond theme in the UK chart (it reached number two), and was the last track the band recorded in their original five-strong line-up for 20 years.
8: Nick Rhodes has produced albums by Kajagoogoo and the Dandy Warhols
For the former, he lent his talents to the album White Feathers, which spawned the number-one single Too Shy. For the Dandy Warhols, he produced Welcome to the Monkey House.
9: Even they don’t like their 2007 album Red Carpet Massacre
Their ill-fated collaboration with the then-red hot producer Timbaland and actor/musician Justin Timberlake has since given several of the band’s members pause for thought. “That whole project was a f—— nightmare,” John Taylor told music website the Quietus today.
10: They have keys to the city of Milan
This was the honour bestowed on the band last month by Letizia Moratti, the city’s mayor, who also pronounced them Style Icons of the Twentieth Century. What exactly the keys unlock, we can only imagine.
Author: Laura Barnett