Although they’re primarily celebrated for their run of hits in the early-to-mid-’80s, Duran Duran have been releasing new music fairly regularly since 1981. We’ve ranked all 14 studio albums, plus the band’s mostly live record, 1984’s Arena, in order of awesomeness.
Duran Duran’s golden-era lineup—vocalist Simon Le Bon, bassist John Taylor, guitarist Andy Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor and keyboardist Nick Rhodes—coalesced in 1980. From nearly day one, the Birmingham, U.K. quintet combined glam, disco, funk, synthpop and post-punk in imitable ways, leading to early hits such as “Girls on Film” and the classic new wave LP Rio.
They were also one of the first bands to recognize the potential of videos in selling their image. Although the clips were sometimes controversial — “Girls on Film” required a lot of editing to get played on MTV — they were ahead of their time, sleek and sexy, with lots of quick cuts and filmed in exotic locations when most acts simply mimed their hits on a soundstage.
Throughout the ’80s, ’90s and beyond, however, Duran Duran’s disdain for repetition—and a determined spirit of adventure—helped the band endure through shifting musical trends and lineup changes without losing too much of their commercial clout. In 2001, the three Taylors, all of whom had left at various times, returned to Le Bon and Rhodes, the only constant members, and came back with 2004’s Astronaut. Even though Andy Taylor left in 2006, they’ve remained a viable recording and touring outfit.
Click the gallery to see how Duran Duran’s albums rank in order of awesomeness.