I’m sitting on the fence with Duran Duran (figuratively that is, I don’t live on the next farm over from Simon Le Bon). On one hand, they’re an empty, vacuous bunch of hairdressers masquerading as musicians, dressed like cheap Parisian hookers, and only bettered in the depths of awfulness by the turgid Spandau Ballet. On the other hand, they’re got a fair few fantastic songs, and they always seem to be surrounded by hot chicks (mainly due to that great Girls On Film video).
They also recorded one of the better ‘80s Bond themes – regardless of Le Bon’s inability to reach those high notes when playing the song at Live Aid. This faux pas on a global (jukebox) scale is something the band have tried to keep under wraps – like Zeppelin’s performance, it doesn’t feature on the Live Aid DVD, but lives on in all its wonky-noted glory on YouTube (at 2:54 on this clip).
The link to Nile Rodgers is also a tick in their box – he remixed The Reflex and went on to play guitar on the Notorious album. But still, without all those good things going for them, they still manage to vex me.
Not too long ago, I watched a special on TV where the band was playing in front of their adoring middle-age female fans in a TV studio. Their fans – all bimbo women of varying ages, but weighted to the mid- to late-40s – danced badly to the band playing through their greatest hits. If smell-o-vision was available on the current batch of smart TVs, you would have been able to smell the fake tan and cheap sparkling wine wafting off the crowd.
I guess that’s what annoys me most about Duran Duran – they were once fashionable, a horrible example of when New Wave transformed into the full-on ‘80s pop sound – but that doesn’t translate into musical respect. I may be wrong, but as far as I know bands aren’t lining up to get Andy or John Taylor to do a guest appearance on their album.
Simon Le Bon has a cracking voice though – and his wife is hot! Damn hot!
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