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