Duran Duran’s Taylor: I Wanted to Play Between the Sticks

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By Paul Brown

Legendary Duran Duran musician Roger Taylor might have never carved out a career on the drums - if he'd made it between the sticks for Villa.

Double Grammy award winning ace Taylor had a string of hits in the 1980s and 1990s like Planet Earth, Hungry Like the Wolf, Girls on Film, Rio, Wild Boys, Ordinary World and James Bond soundtrack theme tune View to a Kill.

In fact, Duran Duran are recognised as one of the leaders in the New Romantic era and helped shape the MTV generation with a string of arty music videos.

But they might have achieved success without Taylor if he'd fulfilled his No.1 boyhood aim of playing for the claret and blues.

He used to attend every home match with his father Hugh and practiced at home incessantly in his goalkeeping kit but at 5ft 9 he never grew tall enough to realise his dream.

He said: "Villa mean everything to me. I come with my dad still. He used to bring me when I was a kid - about four-years-old.

"We used to sit on the Holte End. He used to sit me on the bar and I remember being freezing cold throughout my childhood watching the Villa. But the games warmed me up!

"I started in the days of Charlie Aitken, the record appearance maker who was the crux of the team.

"Colin Withers was the goalkeeper. That was my first ambition - being the Villa keeper.

"I used to dream of being in between the sticks for the claret and blues. I practiced for hours and hours and hours, catching balls but I never grew tall enough.

"I took up the drum sticks instead and the rest is history. It wasn't a bad alternative because you don't have to retire from music when you're in your 30s."

Taylor did eventually make his debut at Villa Park, however, when Duran Duran played a sell-out charity concert at the illustrious stadium in 1983.

It was a moment he insists he will never forget.

He continued: "I finally made my debut here - but as a drummer.

"It was such an amazing experience for me. It was great. It was the next best thing to actually putting on the shirt and playing for Villa."

The 1980s - Duran Duran's golden age - also holds great memories for Taylor when it comes to his favourite players.

He picks out Andy Gray, Villa's talismanic striker and PFA Young Player and Player of the Year from 1977 as his all-time hero.

He continued: "There have been so many great players at this amazing football club. Andy Gray stands out as a great player of the 1980s, which means a lot to me because it was a super era professionally with Duran Duran too.

"He was such a strong, brave and iconic striker, one you could watch all day and marvel at.

"I really used to love seeing him in action.

"Ashley Young was a great player during his time and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Gabby Agbonlahor through the years too, growing up from the academy."

But what of the claret and blue future?

He added: "I think we still have a bright future. We just need to dig in this season and then we go places next term. There's room for growth."

Courtesy Aston Villa Football Club Online