Duran Duran was just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2022.
Formed in Birmingham, England, in 1978, Duran Duran originally featured singer/bassist Stephen Duffy, keyboardist Nick Rhodes and guitarist/bassist John Taylor before adding drummer Roger Taylor, guitarist Andy Taylor and lead vocalist Simon Le Bon.
“They were looking for a singer for ages,” Le Bon said. “I had heard through somebody at university where I was studying drama in theater arts that there was a band looking for a singer and I turned up and I was the missing link. I was the key to Duran Duran!”
Their debut album “Duran Duran” (1981) arrived the same year as the founding of MTV. Duran Duran exemplified the new-wave sound of the Second British Invasion.
“We had a meteoric rise to success,” Le Bon said. “Lucky dogs we were! We had no idea that MTV was going to start. We made our first video because we were told that they wanted something to show on the Australian chart show called ‘Countdown.’ … Around the same time, MTV started. It was extraordinary. What a coincidence! You might even call it serendipitous.”
Their second album “Rio” (1982) featured several hit singles with “Say a Prayer,” “Rio” and their instant classic “Hungry Like the Wolf,” arguably their most recognizable tune.
“It’s the wolf inside all of us,” Le Bon said. “It’s quite a sinister lyric, but it does have that ‘doo-doo-doo-doo’ and the ‘ha-ha-ha’ at the beginning … It has an incredible rhythm track. It really does, and a great riff. What more could you want?”
The same year as their third album “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” (1983), Duran Duran also released the stand-alone single “Is There Something I Should Know?” It went straight to No. 1 in the UK, becoming only the third song in music history to do so.
“I think it was kind of like suddenly we had come to a point of doubt, self doubt, and it expressed that,” Le Bon said. “I do remember recording it. We did it in one night in central London and we came out and I just knew. I was flying to Canada the next day to see my girlfriend, I took that cassette with me and I thought, ‘This is going to be something special.'”
“It is the first tour since our induction into the illustrious Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” lead singer Simon Le Bon told WTOP. “It’s just bumped us up into a slightly more stratospheric level of celebrity. It’s a seal of approval and we feel it very much. Very, very proud of it.”
In 1985, the band recorded the title track of Roger Moore’s final James Bond film “A View to a Kill,” becoming the only Bond song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Mate, we were made up,” Le Bon said. “It was such a great experience for us and it was such a great opportunity. We were all secret Bond fans. We all had our favorite Bond. It just gave us a little je ne sais quoi — that’s French, by the way. It was fun. It was great fun to do and we did that silly video with Godley & Creme on the Eiffel Tower. That was hilarious.”
Their fourth studio album, “Notorious,” (1986) featured an opening title track that was later famously sampled by Notorious B.I.G. for the posthumous album “Born Again” (1999).
“I don’t mind who they think it is,” Le Bon said. “It really doesn’t matter to me, as long as they listen to the song. ‘No, no, notorious’ has just become part of the parlance, hasn’t it? We’ve become a part of the wallpaper of people’s lives!”
After their fifth album “Big Thing” (1988) and sixth album “Liberty” (1990), the band delivered the platinum album “Duran Duran (The Wedding Album)” (1993), with hits like “Come Undone” and “Ordinary World,” which is my personal favorite Duran Duran song.
“I did have something in mind when I wrote it, but that’s become superseded so much more poignantly by how it’s affected other people in their lives, how it’s made people feel that they’re not alone in their troubles sometimes and there is somebody out there with their voice,” Le Bon said. “Everybody has their own interpretation and that is a wonderful thing.”
You can hear all of these songs and more at Capital One Arena in D.C. in September.
“Hey D.C., come on out, it’s exciting out there, it’s the best place to be, Duran Duran on tour, can you miss it? The answer is, ‘No!’ I’m gonna be there — and so are you.”
Courtesy WTOP News