The Story: Duran Duran

Duran DuranDo you struggle with being both lost and found at the same time? Are you concerned that your mouth is alive with juices like wine? Do you smell like you sound? If you’re able to answer all these questions in the affirmative, then I’m afraid we have a positive diagnosis — you’re hungry like the wolf.

The one chance you’ve got is a direct injection of New Romanticism mainlined into your auditory cortex. Stat!

Only Duran Duran can save you now.

Yes, you can find the certain cure for what ails you if you’ve got the Fab Five — Simon, Nick, and the three unrelated Taylors known as John, Andy, and Roger. These guys have a lot more to offer than perfectly coiffed hair and exquisite cheekbones. (The music critics 30 years ago would mightily disagree with my previous statement.) They’ve also got the tunes to make all the teens swoon.

duran duran 80sCoalescing over the course of 1979 and 1980, Duran Duran chose to name themselves after the villain from 1968’s cult sci-fi film Barbarella. Their basic premise as a band — whether intentional or not — involved taking the funky rhythm section of Chic and overlaying it with the guitar sound and energy of the Sex Pistols, the keyboard washes of David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy, and the artsy lyrics and vocal croon of Roxy Music. It took a few years to work out the kinks, and then they took over the world, beginning in their native UK and subsequently helping to lead a second British Invasion in the US.

So, if you know what The Reflex is. And you know what Wild Boys always do. If you know when to save a prayer for. Well, then you’re probably a Durannie already. But just in case, here’s the least you need to know:

duran duran rioRio (1982) Duran Duran’s second album, and absolutely their finest moment, filled with dance club grooves, surprisingly rockin’ guitar, and oblique lyrics about swarming aphids and dancing across the Rio Grande which make no sense but somehow end up sounding sexy and cool. Check: My Own Way & The Chauffeur

Greatest (1981-1997) Inconsistency plagued Duran Duran when it came to their albums, but their singles were stellar. This collection hits you with one after another. Check: Is There Something I Should Know? & Notorious

(If you decide to dig deeper, begin with their self-titled debut followed by 1983’s Seven And The Ragged Tiger and 1993’s Duran Duran aka The Wedding Album. After that, the shovel starts to get heavier.)

Duran Duran’s music videos for the Rio album—along with those for Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which arrived nearly simultaneously—revolutionized the medium and helped to kickstart the 80s aesthetic. Everybody’s earlier videos looked like they’d been shot for a hundred bucks in a warehouse (which they probably were). Duran Duran’s new videos were shot on 35mm film instead of videotape and looked like big budget movies with their on-location tableaux and bold 80s color palette. The band represented glamour, excess, wealth, and escape — but most of all, fun.

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