Duran Duran

Published on January 25th, 2019

Duran Duran

No less an observer than David Bowie reportedly once said, “Disco never sucked in the U.K.” Maybe what he had in mind were bands like Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran leading the New Romantics wing of the ’80s dance-music Britpack. Among the crop neo-romantic scenesters who claimed Bowie as a big influence, Duran Duran were far and away the best known — early chart toppers and telegenic darlings of the burgeoning medium of music video.

By 1984 these stars of audio-visual bonbons such as “Rio” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” had utilized MTV and the band’s own fashion-industry ties to achieve superstar status — until fashion, as fashion does, betrayed them. As the ’80s wound down so did Duran Duran, shed by their audience like a jacket with pointy shoulders. The teased-hair titans of new wave and pop metal were cleared out by a vanguard of hip hop and grunge, and it all seemed very over for the boys at the shoot: frontman Simon Le Bon, instrumentalists John and Roger Taylor, and keyboardist Nick Rhodes.

Then came a self-titled rebound in 1993 — sometimes called “The Wedding Album” — and a luminous single, “Ordinary World,” that lofted Duran Duran into the rare air of pop fandom plus critical reappraisal. A big deal in two decades, Duran Duran now belonged to an elite confederacy including the likes of Depeche Mode and The Cure, meaning they could have gone on touring on their laurels and playing hits to affectionate audiences night after night.

But Duran Duran have kept on creating, trying on new genres and expanding on their foppish new wave charms. They’ve put out as many albums since 1993 as they did to that point, and 41 years into their existence they can boast a diverse group of descendants on the sound-and-style continuum, from Gwen Stefani and Beck to Barenaked Ladies and P!nk.

Side projects and outside interests have come and gone, but in the end it’s always back to what Le Bon boldly called “the band to dance to when the bomb drops.” What’s not to like about that?

Duran Duran play 8:30pm February 12 at the Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater. SOLD OUT! duranduran.warnereprise.com ~ Tim Moffatt

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