Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon prepares for 50th birthday

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Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon prepares for 50th birthday
Oct 25 2008 By Anuji Varma, Showbiz Editor

HE’S been at the helm of one of Birmingham’s biggest bands.

And tomorrow Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon celebrates another milestone - his 50th birthday.

The superstar Dad-of-three, behind the hits Rio, Save A Prayer and Girls on Film, joined the band in 1980 after he came to the city to study drama at University of Birmingham. And the Midland city was the launching pad for his colourful career which has had its fair share of ups and downs.

“There was an incident once when someone chucked a pork pie at another bandmate,” he revealed in a Sunday Mercury interview. ‘You know what they say - a leopard never changes its spots.

“We have come close to a few fights again but I can’t say between who. And I’ll never reveal just who threw the pork pie.

“We do have our arguments and I suppose that’s because we’ve been together for so long.”
The Hertfordshire-born singer was told about an opening in the band by his then girlfriend who was a barmaid at the infamous Rum Runner nightspot. The Durans, who were after a vocalist, rehearsed in the club.

As band legend has it, Le Bon turned up for the audition wearing a pair of pink leopard-print trousers, and carrying a notebook containing poetry he had written.

He was snapped up by the band and he agreed to try Duran Duran out for the summer.
Eventually they landed a deal with EMI records in December 1980 and were on the road to success.

A few months later their first single Planet Earth reached Number 12 in the UK, but it was their third release Girls On Film that shot them to super stardom and that sparked controversy.

The raunchy video featured topless women mud wrestling and pillow fighting and was banned by the BBC and heavily edited for MTV. But the video only raised the band’s profile even more.

But tragedy nearly struck in 1985 when Le Bon’s yacht capsized along the coast of Cornwall. Before being rescued he, and other crew members, were trapped underwater inside the hull for forty minutes.

Despite his brush with death, the singer went onto take part in the Whitbread Round the World Race, coming in third.

And it seems age hasn’t affected the frontman’s desire to race again.

Just three years ago Le Bon revealed took part in the Fastnet Race, to raise cash for the RNLI charity.

Slowly after their successes, members of the band began to leave. Both Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor went their separate ways leaving Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor to carry on.

Eventually in 2001 the original five members reunited to record a new album Astronaut for Epic Records and it spawned the single Sunrise, their first UK Top 10 single in a decade.

Courtesy Sunday Mercury