Backstage at the Rock Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony with Duran Duran, Lionel Richie & More

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Duran Duran

Before speaking with Billboard, the band stopped in the general press room where Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon talked about how he felt reading former bandmate Andy Taylor’s letter on stage about having stage four prostate cancer — a diagnosis that had not been previously made public. “It is devastating news to find out that a colleague­ — not a colleague, a mate, a friend — is not going to be around for very long,” Le Bon said. “It is absolutely devasting. We love Andy dearly. I’m not going to stand here and cry. It wouldn’t be appropriate, but that’s what I feel like.”

On stage, Le Bon delivered an emotional take on the band’s 1993 hit, “Ordinary World,” which he co-wrote about trying to cope with the death of his best friend. He told Billboard even nearly 30 years later, the song takes him back every time he sings it. “I think of my dear friend Dave Miles and what it means to me to be able to free myself of his death. That’s what the song was,” he says. “I was imprisoned by my feelings about him. I couldn’t continue on. I couldn’t develop. That song was a way of freeing myself. A way of saying goodbye, letting something go. That is in my heart every time I sing it.”

Duran Duran won the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame fan vote in April garnering nearly a million votes from fans. The support of their Duranies means “everything,” says keyboardist Nick Rhodes. Bassist John Taylor, who befriended Rhodes when Taylor was 12 and Rhodes was 10, says the band can still relate. “We were fans. Not just music buyers. Nick and I used to go hang out backstage, listen to the band do their soundcheck,” he says. “We love the fan culture. We love identifying with fans through music, so we’ve always had a love for our followers. We get them. We are them.”

This year’s class is one of the most musically varied in the Rock Hall’s history and each member of the band named a different honoree when asked whom they would most like to collaborate with. For Le Bon, it was Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. Roger Taylor chose Judas Priest, Rhodes picked Dolly Parton and John Taylor selected Annie Lennox. Rhodes came up with the perfect solution: “The thing to do would be to get us and Judas Priest to do the track together and Dolly and Simon to sing with Jam & Lewis producing.”

Courtesy Billboard