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APRIL 2020 ISSUE 200
" .. While they had their heyday in the 80s - think blusher and cheekbones, lush lipgloss and perfect pouts, swaggering shoulderpads and big bouffant hair, freako sci-fi videos and effervescent disco-rock tunes, Duran epitomised the bulletproof battleship confidence of British pop in the first half of that decade as they effortlessly conquered America and the rest of the earth - they have scarcely slowed down over the years .. If you’ve never appreciated the sheer talent and determination it takes to be riding the wave .. have a listen .. "
Want to feel really old? Oh, go on then. Duran Duran turn 40 this year: the band, that is, not the members. For them it’s worse: Simon Le Bon is 61, John and Roger Taylor, each 59, and Nick Rhodes, the baby, 57. As you would expect of a pop group who always appeared happiest hanging off a yacht in ruffled Antony Price suits, accessorised with a supermodel and a cocktail, they intend (or at least they had intended) to celebrate in style, until this bloody virus bollocks came along. The plan, announced not too long ago, was that on 12 July, exactly 40 years since their first gig at the Rum Runner in Birmingham, they would perform in Hyde Park, headlining a bill that includes Nile Rodgers & Chic. Hey, who knows .. it may happen at some point.
The Duran boys 40 year longevity is the kind that would make anyone, in any industry, jealous, and in the music industry it’s practically unheard of (Rolling Stones aside). “It’s not the kind of job you get into if you’re concerned about what you’re going to be doing in middle age,” John Taylor once said. “People who are drawn to pop music are not the ones who are concerned about the long life of a project. It’s all about the moment.”
Duran Duran, though, has had several moments. While they had their heyday in the 80s - think blusher and cheekbones, lush lipgloss and perfect pouts, swaggering shoulderpads and big bouffant hair, freako sci-fi videos and effervescent disco-rock tunes, Duran epitomised the bulletproof battleship confidence of British pop in the first half of that decade as they effortlessly conquered America and the rest of the earth - with a string of hits like Rio, Save A Prayer and Girls On Film, which carried them into the 90s with Come Undone and Ordinary World (the list goes on and on), they have scarcely slowed down over the years. In 2015 they returned with their 14th studio album, Paper Gods, although when you’re Duran Duran and fans are focused on your past body of work, it can be hard to get people to notice.
The collaborations on that album highlight what Duran Duran does best: create danceable pop music that somehow transcends eras and genres. Despite the fact that they have a proven formula that works, the band’s willingness to evolve may account for their longevity and their influence.
The band maintains the thrill of making a new record has yet to grow old. According to Roger Taylor, “It’s exciting when [an album] is actually finished and you can lie in bed and listen to it on your little ear things .. it’s a pleasure that’s not changed at all since we made our second record,” (Rio), which came came out around the time Taylor acquired his first-ever Sony Walkman. He recalled the very first time he listened to cassette mixes of the album in Sri Lanka, where the band filmed the Hungry Like the Wolf video, and the exhilaration of thinking, “That’s us!”
Having succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest expectations, 100 million albums sold, sprawling houses, fast cars, and the whole pinup lifestyle, they don’t need to revisit any territory.
If you’ve never appreciated the sheer talent and determination it takes to be riding the wave for over 40 years, have a listen to Duran old and new and read John Taylor’s autobiography In The Pleasure Groove to see how crazy the game of being famous can get.
So there it is, the Duranies have finally made the cover of MCQ. We’ve featured them loads over the years and had intended to give them the cover at some previous point in our journey, but events (somehow) conspired to prevent it .. until now. Enjoy the selection of cuts this playlist, and as we say .. we make no apologies for choosing the hits.
ALSO THIS 200th ISSUE .. We have new material from MCQ faves The Chats, Seazoo, Baxter Dury (more from those three in part two) plus snippets from the forthcoming Ashley McBryde and Róisín Murphy albums. There’s archive material from Happy Mondays, Chic, Elvis sideman and all round guitar legend James Burton, Bryan Ferry and Iggy & The Stooges.
We return in a couple of weeks with the second instalment of this 200th edition.
Playlist / Suggested Listening:
DURAN DURAN - PRESSURE OFF
DURAN DURAN - NOTORIOUS
DURAN DURAN - SAVE A PRAYER
HAPPY MONDAYS - 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE
ROISIN MURPHY - MURPHY'S LAW
CHIC - I'LL BE THERE
BAXTER DURY - I'M NOT YOUR DOG
DURAN DURAN - IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW
DURAN DURAN - RIO
DURAN DURAN - HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF
SEAZOO - PASSING PLACE
ASHLEY MCBRYDE - FIRST THING I REACH FOR
JAMES BURTON - POLK SALAD ANNIE
THE CHATS - ROSS RIVER
BRYAN FERRY - SHAME, SHAME, SHAME
IGGY POP & THE STOOGES - SEX & MONEY
DURAN DURAN - WILD BOYS
DURAN DURAN - THE REFLEX
SEAZOO - I SEE BEAUTY
BAXTER DURY - SAY NOTHING
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