Nick Rhodes and John Taylor form Duran Duran in the late 70s.
1978 line up: Stephen Duffy (vocals and bass), John Taylor (guitar), Simon Colley (bass and clarinet), Nick Rhodes (synthesizers, tape and rhythm machines)
1979 line up 1: Andy Wickett (vocals), John Taylor (bass), Roger Taylor (drums), Alan Curtis (guitar), Nick Rhodes (synthesizers)
1979 line up 2: Jeff Thomas (vocals), John Taylor (bass), Roger Taylor (drums), Alan Curtis (guitar), Nick Rhodes (synthesizers)
1980 line up: Simon Le Bon (vocals), John Taylor (bass), Roger Taylor (drums), Andy Taylor (guitar), Nick Rhodes (synthesizers)
In early 1980, the band bring their demo tapes to Paul & Michael Berrow, who run the Rum Runner night club. The brothers agree to give the band rehearsal space and jobs in the club so they wouldn’t have to take day jobs. (John works the door, Nick DJs, Roger works as Busboy).
In April, 1980, Duran Duran take out an advert in Melody Maker music magazine for a “Live-Wire Guitarist.” Andy Taylor answers the ad, auditions and impresses Nick, John and Roger with his talent and professional experience, having toured Europe as a teen. He gets the job and moves from his hometown of Newcastle to Birmingham, where the band is based.
A bar maid at Rum Runner recommends her ex-boyfriend as lead singer for Duran Duran. Simon Le Bon shows up to his May, 1980 audition in pink leopard-skin trousers. He wins over the band with his showmanship and book of lyrics they feel fit perfectly with their songs. The book has the name of his previous band on the cover (ROV OSTROV). The lyrics to the song which would eventually become “The Chauffeur” are in that notebook.
The band write their first ever song together at the Rum Runner, “Sound of Thunder.”
The Berrow brothers form a company Tritec Music (named after the triangular-themed bar inside the club) in June, 1980. The band sign a Production deal with the Berrows, who also become their managers.
Duran Duran (classic line up) play their first show together on July 9, 1980 at The Rum Runner, Birmingham, England.
Kahn and Bell design clothes for bands early performances.
Duran Duran go in to the studio to record “Girls on Film” and “Tel Aviv” (which is a completely different version than the instrumental featured on their debut album) at AIR Studios in London
Betty Page of Sounds magazine writes the first National article about the band, classifying them as part of the New Romantic movement.
Simon Le Bon drops out of University to perform with Duran Duran full time.
Duran Duran record demos with Producer Bob Lamb, which include the songs “Planet Earth” and “Is There Anyone Out There.”
The band do a photo session with photographer Andy Earl in Milton Keynes; one of his photos is used as the 12″ cover photo for “Planet Earth.”
Duran Duran plan to independently release a 45rpm single with “Planet Earth” and “Is There Anyone Out There” on the Tritec Music label; they print 5,000 labels with a new logo designed by John Warwicker.
John Warwicker designs a triangular shaped Duran Duran poster that are plastered all over the city centre of Birmingham.
Duran Duran get the support slot with Hazel O’Connor and are on the road from November until early December, 1980. The band start to get encores and the girls in the audience are starting to scream.
The tour reaches London where Hazel’s show at the Dominion Theatre is recorded. Simon joins her on stage and sings backing vocals on her encore performance of the David Bowie song “Suffragette City.” This is later released as a B-Side to one of her singles.
While on tour with O’Connor, a bidding war erupts between Phonogram and EMI to sign Duran Duran; the band eventually sign with EMI records, persuaded by A&R man Dave Ambrose, who had signed The Sex Pistols and Kate Bush
Duran Duran return to Birmingham and record more demos for their first album at Bob Lamb’s studio.
The Band play some more UK dates and prepare to go into the Studio with Producer Colin Thurston, who had previously worked as an engineer with David Bowie and Iggy Pop, as well as having produced the first Human League album. They record at Red Bus Studios, London and Chipping Norton Studios in Oxfordshire, as well as trying out Abbey Road for a few days. The debut Duran Duran album is mixed at Utopia Studios.
Paul Edmond does a photo session at the studio in Chipping Norton.
Duran Duran end the year 1980 by unknowingly ushering in a new trend – they film the video for “Planet Earth” at St. Johns Wood with Russell Mulcahy and the video for “Careless Memories” in Soho, which is directed by Perry Haines and Terry Jones.
1979-1980 Tour Dates:
April 5, 1979 Polytechnic Dept of Foundation Studies, Birmingham, UK
May 29, 1979 Cannon Hill, Hexagon Theatre, Birmingham, UK
June 1, 1979 Barbarellas, Birmingham, UK
October 11, 1979 Golden Eagle, Hill Street, Birmingham, UK
November 13, 1979 University, Cellar Bar, Birmingham, UK
November 14, 1979 University, Cellar Bar, Birmingham, UK
November 18, 1979 Red Star Club, Essex Street, Birmingham, UK
December 15, 1979 Bewdley, Little Lakes Caravan Park, Worcester, UK
February 1, 1980, Aston University, Birmingham, UK
February 18, 1980 Nashville, Kensington, London, UK
March 12, 1980 Rum Runner, Broad Street, Birmingham, UK
July 16, 1980 Rum Runner, Broad Street, Birmingham, UK
July 19, 1980 Cedar Ballroom, Birmingham, UK
July 22, 1980 Holy City Zoo, Birmingham, UK
August 6, 1980 Rum Runner, Broad Street, Birmingham, UK
September 16, 1980 Hostaria Wine Bar, Hurst Street, Birmingham, UK
October 3, 1980 Aston University, Birmingham, UK
October 4, 1980 Cedar Ballroom, Birmingham, UK
October 9, 1980 Lyceum, London
October 22, 1980 Holy City Zoo, Birmingham, UK
October 24, 1980 Cedar Ballroom, Birmingham, UK
November 9, 1980 Maquee, London, UK
November 18 Top Rank, Cardiff, UK
November 19, 1980 Apollo, Manchester, UK
November 21, 1980 Polytechnic, Sheffield, UK
November 22, 1980 Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
November 23, 1980 Colston Hall, Bristol, UK
November 24, 1980 Top Rank, Reading, UK
November 27, 1980 Odeon, Birmingham, UK
November 28, 1980 University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
November 29, 1980 Odeon, Edinburgh, UK
December 1, 1980 City Hall, Newcastle, UK
December 2, 1980 de Montfort Hall, Leicester, UK
December 3, 1980, University, Leeds, UK
December 4, 1980 University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
December 6, 1980 Dominion Theatre, London, UK
December 11, 1980 The Venue, London
December 22, 1980 Cedar Ballroom, Birmingham, UK
The band record an appearance on the Richard Skinner Sessions on BBC; they perform “Sound of Thunder,” “Is There Anyone Out There,” “Friends of Mine,” and “Careless Memories.” The BBC later airs a three-minute profile on Duran Duran.
Duran Duran perform at The Sundown Club in London.
Duran Duran’s first single, “Planet Earth” (with B-Side “Late Bar”) is released in UK. The “Planet Earth” single (with B-Side “To The Shore”) is released in America. The band’s first single hits #12 on the UK charts and #8 on the Australian charts.
Finn Costello shoots the cover for the first album.
Duran Duran begin their first headlining tour of the UK, in support of the the album.
In March the band perform “Planet Earth,” “Careless Memories” and “Girls on Film” on the Midlands (UK) music show LOOK HEAR!
The band play “Planet Earth” on Noel Edmonds’s Multi-Coloured Swap Shop Saturday TV show.
Duran Duran perform on BBC’s Top of the Pops for the first time on March 19, 1981 with a performance of “Planet Earth.”
Duran Duran support their album in the UK with concerts at Aston University (Birmingham), Brady’s Club (Liverpool), Manchester Polytechnic, Sundown Club (London), Rock City (Nottingham), Top Rank (Cardiff), Leicester Polytechnic (Leicester) and Top Rank (Sheffield).
In April “Careless Memories” (with B-side “Khanada”) is released in UK; the 12″ single includes a cover of David Bowie’s “Fame.”
Duran Duran perform “Careless Memories” on Top of the Pops.
In May, Duran Duran appear on their first magazine cover Smash Hits UK.
The Nite Romantics EP is released in Japan, containing Night versions of “Planet Earth” and “Girls On Film” along with “Fame” and “Khanada.”
Duran Duran fly to America for the first time for their North American Club Tour. The first date of the tour is at Spit in Long Island, NY. Among the tour stops are 4 performances at the Roxy in Los Angeles and 2 shows at the Ritz in New York City.
The band’s eponymous debut is released worldwide; the first US pressing did not include “To The Shore.”
The band appear on The Peter Powell Show on BBC Radio One, performing “Nightboat,” “Girls on Film,” “Is There Anyone Out There” and “Like An Angel.”
The Duran Duran album peaks at #3 in UK; remains in the charts for 118 weeks.
The band begin the “Faster Than Light” tour of the UK with dates that include the Brighton Dome, Gaumont (Southampton), Rock City (Nottingham), Apollo (Manchester), City Hall (Newcastle), Tiffany’s (Glasgow), Odeon (Edinburgh), Royal Court Theatre (Liverpool), Hammersmith Odeon (London), New Theatre (Oxford) and the Birmingham Odeon.
The “Girls on Film” single (with B-Side “Faster Than Light”) is released worldwide in July.
Duran Duran make a third appearance on Top of the Pops, performing “Girls on Film.”
The band film the “Girls on Film” video at Shepperton Studios on August 13th with directors Kevin Godley and Lol Crème; Antony Price designs the clothing the band wears in the video. The song becomes the world’s first extended video, edited to the Night Version of the song. Due to it’s “x-rated” content, the video is banned by both MTV and the BBC.
Duran Duran begin International promotion to support their first record, visiting and performing in Belgium, France, Sweden, Netherlands and Germany. Bus loads of fans from the UK came to support the band on their date in Paris.
WLIR on Long Island become the first US station to play Duran Duran.
Duran Duran fly to America in September for their first headline tour of North America. Dates include The Channel (Boston), Bayou Theatre (Washington, DC), Eastside Club (Philadelphia), Le Club Montreal, El Macambo (Toronto), First Avenue (Minnesota), Parkwest (Chicago), The Metro (Boston), Nitro (Detroit), Pirate’s Cove (Cleveland), Park West (Chicago), I Beam (San Francisco), Peppermint Lounge (New York City) and Danceteria (New York City).
Andy Warhol brings Duran Duran to The Factory.
Duran Duran perform at the Underground Club at The Savoy, New York City. Andy Warhol attends. He later takes the band to Studio 54.
The band do a record signing at Vinyl Fetish in Hollywood, CA.
Simon, Nick, John & Roger do an interview with Rodney Bingenheimer on KROQ radio, Los Angeles.
Before leaving America, Duran Duran visit with MTV, who had a staff of 16 people at the time. They discuss airing their videos and future programming ideas.
Duran Duran begin their first headlining tour of Germany; dates included Die Wartburg (Wiesbaden), Markthalle (Hamburg), Ballroom Blitz (Hannover), Kant Kino (Berlin) and more.
In November, EMI present the band with their Gold and Silver discs in recognition of sales for the Duran Duran album.
The “My Own Way” single (with B-Side “Like An Angel”) is released as a stand-alone single worldwide, (ex-US) in November. The single was designed to capitalize on the Top 5 success of “Girls on Film.” The 7″ single and 12” versions were recorded in October 1981 with Colin Thurston, well before the rest of the Rio album, where the song would later appear. “My Own Way” was another hit, reaching #14 on the UK Singles Chart, and in Australia, where it became Duran Duran’s second Top 10 hit at #10. Malcolm Garrett and Peter Saville designed the cover artwork.
The band perform “Girls on Film” on Rock Pop Germany.
Duran Duran perform at the Chichester Festival. The performance is filmed for television.
The “Careless Memories Tour”’ begin on November 29th at Gaumont, Southampton, England.
Duran Duran perform “My Own Way” on Top of the Pops.
The band end the year at home in England with performances at Hammersmith Odeon, London and 3 shows with band Talk Talk supporting at the Odeon, Birmingham.
Duran Duran’s Night Versions EP, including “Girls on Film” and “Planet Earth,” is released in Australia.
The band perform “Anyone Out There” and “Nightboat” live on Old Grey Whistle Test in England.
The first broadcast of Off the Record, a Duran Duran concert recorded at Chichester Festival in November 1981, airs on TV.
Duran Duran is nominated for “Best Newcomer” at the British Rock & Pop Awards; they perform “Girls on Film” and “My Own Way” at the show.
The band begin recording the Rio album at Air Studios, London with producer Colin Thurston. Paul McCartney is in another one of the Studios with George Martin and the band Japan are also recording an album there at this time.
Artist Patrick Nagel is commissioned to create a painting for the cover of Rio. He makes two images for the band to choose from, one is used for the album, the other is only ever seen on the Japanese single issue of “My Own Way.”
The band and their management agree to hire director Russell Mulcahy, who directed “Planet Earth,” to work on several more videos. It is Russell and Producer Eric Fellner who suggest the band shoot on location in Sri Lanka.
Duran Duran commission director Ian Eames to make a short black and white film to accompany the song “The Chauffeur.” The band elect not to appear in the video. It is a highly stylized clop inspired by the images of photographer Helmut Newton.
Duran Duran film the video for “My Own Way” in St. Johns Wood; Russell Mulcahy directs.
Nick stays behind in London to complete the final mixes on the Rio album, while the other band members fly off to commence work on the videos in Sri Lanka. He catch up with them several days later, bringing a cassette of the finished album with him.
In Sri Lanka Duran Duran film videos for “Hungry Like The Wolf,” “Save a Prayer,” and “Lonely in Your Nightmare.”
Duran Duran tour Australasia for the first time behind the Rio album. All dates are sold out.
Duran Duran and Director Russell Mulcahy fly to Antigua to film the “Rio” and “Nightboat” videos.
Duran Duran perform “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Lonely in Your Nightmare” and “Hold Back the Rain” on Peter Powell’s Get Set for Summer show in the UK.
Due to Andy’s illness from Malaria, the European dates for June and July are postponed.
The “Hungry Like the Wolf” single is released with the B-Side “Careless Memories (Live).”
Duran performs “Hungry Like the Wolf” on Top of the Pops.
Duran Duran perform “Hungry Like the Wolf” on Dance Fever.
Rio is released worldwide on EMI, May 10/11. In the US, the album comes out on the Harvest label.
“Hungry Like the Wolf” hits #5 on the UK Singles Chart.
Rio album reaches #2 in UK.
The band return to North America to support the release of Rio; dates include The Meadowbrook (New Jersey), Ontario Theatre (Washington, DC), Pier 42 (New York City), Mann Music Center (Philadelphia), North Stage Theatre (Long Island), Chance (New York City), Peppermint Lounge (New York City), Paradise (Boston), Le Club (Montreal), Concert Hall (Toronto), Heaven (Pittsburgh), Clutch Cargo (Detroit), Parkwest (Chicago), Palms (Milwaukee), 1st Avenue (Minneapolis), Playhouse (Winnipeg), Dinwoodie Lounge (Edmonton), McEwan Hall (Calgary), Commodore Ballroom (Vancouver), Showbox Theatre (Seattle), Kabuki Theatre (San Francisco) and The Greek Theatre (Los Angeles).
Andy Taylor marries the band’s hairdresser, Tracey Wilson at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles, CA.
Duran Duran get the opening slot on Blondie’s Tracks Across America tour. The CNE venue in Toronto has over 30,000 fans in the audience, the largest the band have ever played to up to this point. They get an unexpected encore but have played all of their songs so they have to repeat one of them.
Simon and Nick film commercial for MTV.
Duran Duran perform “Save a Prayer” on Top of the Pops.
“Save a Prayer” reaches #2 on the UK Charts.
Duran Duran begin working with David Kershenbaum in Los Angeles on remixes of several tracks from Rio for the Carnival EP to be released in America, Japan and several other countries.
The Carnival EP is released. Each territory had a different selection of 4 songs (except Japan, who had 5 tracks) with Night Versions.
US Radio begin playing dance versions from the Carnival EP.
The band play rescheduled shows including Draken Theatre (Stockholm), Drammenshallen (Oslo), Turku Concert House (Finland), Falkoner Theatre (Copenhagen), Rotation (Hannover), Zeche (Bochum), Trinity (Hamburg), Sektor (Berlin), Oz (Stuttgart), Music Center (Utrecht), Brielpoort (Deinze), Le Palace (Paris) and more.
The initial success of the Kershenbaum remixes spurs Capitol Records to issue a re-mixed and re-mastered version of the Rio album for North America featuring the David Kershenbaum remixes.
The single for “Rio” is released worldwide with the B-Side “The Chauffeur (Sing Blue Silver).” The single version for US, France and Germany has the B-Side “Hold Back the Rain.”
Duran Duran embark on a sold-out 25-date tour of the UK; dates include Caird Hall (Dundee), Apollo (Glasgow), Edinburgh Playhouse (Edinburgh), 2 nights at the Hammerstein Odeon (London; where Steve Harley of Cockney Rebel joins them on stage for “(Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile” ), 2 nights Apollo (Manchester), De Montfort Hall (Leicester), 2 nights at the Empire Theatre (Liverpool), 2 nights at City Hall (Newcastle), 4 nights at the Odeon (Birmingham) and more.
Duran Duran perform “Rio” on Top of the Pops.
The band are interviewed by Paula Yates for the TV Programme The Tube.
“Rio” single reaches at #9 on the UK charts
The “Hungry Like The Wolf” single (Kershembaum remix) is re-released in US.
Duran records “Is There Something I Should Know,” at Good Earth Studios in Soho, London. The band produce the song with Ian Little. It is mixed by Bob Clearmountain in New York, but the band decide the sound is not exactly what they are looking for and hire Producer Alex Sadkin to remix the masters in London at RAK Studios.
MTV places “Hungry like the Wolf,” on maximum rotation; it goes on to become one of the most played videos ever.
Duran Duran break the US, with “Hungry Like The Wolf” reaching #3 on the US charts.
Duran Duran perform on MTV’s Rockin’ Eve New Year’s show at The Palladium in New York City.
Princess Diana declares Duran Duran her favorite band.
Duran Duran’s Mega-Mixes is released in Germany.
The band are awarded Best Album and Best Group, and Simon is awarded Best Male Vocalist, at the British Rock & Pop Awards.
John appears as panelist on the Pop Quiz game show in UK.
John is featured on Rockschool, demonstrating the “Planet Earth” bass line; the show includes an interview with Chic’s Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers.
Nick produces the Kajagoogoo album White Feathers at Chipping Norton and Utopia studios, with Colin Thurston. The single “Too Shy” reaches #1 in the UK.
Simon, Nick and Andy appear on the television programme Saturday Superstore in the UK.
Rio album goes Gold in the UK.
Duran Duran’s Video Album is released on VHS, Beta, and laserdisc.
“Is There Something I Should Know” is released as a standalone single around the world except in US; It goes straight in to the UK chart at #1, becoming the only the 4th single in history to accomplish that feat.
Duran Duran fly to New York City and perform “Hungry Like The Wolf” and “Girls on Film” on Saturday Night Live.
“Hungry Like The Wolf” peaks at #1 in Canada.
Duran Duran’s Video 45 with videos for “Girls on Film” and “Hungry Like The Wolf” is released in US. The VHS contains the MTV-friendly version of “Girls on Film”, while the Beta format has the uncensored Night Version.
At a video signing at the Video Shack in Times Square in New York City, the band is mobbed; twelve mounted police are called in to break up the crowd and the band have to be smuggled out the back of the shop. John, Roger and Nick are interviewed by New York’s Channel 7/ABC News about the mob scene at the signing.
“Rio” single ( Kershenbaum 7″ remix) is re-released in US, B-Side “Hold Back The Rain (remix).”
Duran Duran Duran perform “Is There Something I Should Know” on Top of the Pops.
Duran Duran Duran perform “Is There Something I Should Know” on the Kenny Everett Video Show.
Duran Duran Duran perform “Is There Something I Should Know” on the Riverside Show.
The band’s first album is repackaged with “Is There Something I Should Know” and re-released worldwide (“ITSISK” has replaced “To the Shore”). This release also becomes the first Duran Duran album available on CD.
Rio goes platinum in the USA.
Simon and Nick are Guest VJs on MTV; Andy Warhol stop by as their guest; the rest of the band appears at the end to present a Rio album to MTV as a thank you for helping them break in America.
The re-release of Duran Duran album reaches #10 on the US Charts.
The band begin writing their third album; several demo tracks are recorded.
The single “Is There Something I Should Know”is released in US with the B-Side “Careless Memories.”
Duran Duran start recording their third album at George Martin’s Air Studios in Montserrat.
“Is There Something I Should Know” reaches #4 on the US Charts.
Duran Duran perform for the Prince’s Trust at the: Old Dominion Theatre, London, England. Princess Diana, who loved the band, and Prince Charles were in attendance. It was later discovered that the IRA had planned, but failed, to blow up the theatre in an assassination attempt on the Royals.
The re-released Duran Duran album goes Gold in the US .
Duran Duran perform at the Aston Villa Football Grounds, Birmingham, England to raise money for MENCAP charity. When it is discovered that the financial goal of the charity wasn’t reached, the band and their manager donate a huge sum of money to the charity.
After another stay recording in Montserrat, the band finish recording and mixing at 301 Studios, Sydney, Australia with Producer Alex Sadkin.
Duran Duran film the video for “Union of the Snake” near Sydney using 35mm film; Once again, Russell Mulcahy is the Director.
Simon and Nick work at mixing “Union of the Snake,” up until delivery, leaving themselves only 24 hours to write, record and mix “Secret Oktober” for the B-side.
The band decide to fly in a Bengal tiger to Australia for the photo shoot of the Seven and the Ragged Tiger cover.
In another first, the band decide to release the “Union of the Snake” video to MTV a week before radio receives the single, amid much protest from radio stations.
The “Union of the Snake” single is released worldwide with B-Side “Secret Oktober.”
John, Roger and Nick accept an award for “The Most Popular International Act” in Australia.
The band begin rehearsals for their first worldwide tour at the Sydney Showgrounds.
Duran Duran perform “Union of the Snake” on Top of the Pops.
“Union of the Snake” reaches #3 on both the UK and US charts.
The SING BLUE SILVER Tour begins in Australia. All dates are sold out:National Indoor Sports Centre, Canberra, AustraliaSydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, AustraliaFestival Hall, Brisbane, Australia – 2 nightsMelbourne Sports and Entertainment Center, Melbourne, Australia – 2 d nightsMemorial Drive Tennis Courts, Adelaide, AustraliaEntertainments Centre, Perth, Australia
Seven and the Ragged Tiger released worldwide; the album enters the UK charts at #1.
SING BLUE SILVER tour comes to the UK:Apollo, Manchester, England – 2 nightsQueens Hall, Leeds, England – 2 nightsRoyal Highland Exhibition Hall, Edinburgh, ScotlandNational Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England – 2 nights; show is filmed for The Tube TV show, along with interviews with Simon, Nick and JohnBrighton Centre, Brighton, England – 2 nightsWembley Arena, London, England – 5 nights