Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Reunite and Conquer; Two Decades after They Last Recorded Together, Duran Duran's Original Line-Up Is Back on Song

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Reunite and Conquer; Two Decades after They Last Recorded Together, Duran Duran's Original Line-Up Is Back on Song

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN AIZLEWOOD

THE Eighties is the decade that popular music forgot. A time when Shakin' Stevens, Marillion and Johnny Hates Jazz could - and did - have number-one albums and Howard Jones was regarded as a musical giant.

Loved by both Princess Diana and Andy Warhol, Duran Duran were arguably Britain's most popular band of the decade. After forming in Birmingham in 1978, they went on to sell more than 70 million records, had 13 Top 10 singles and eight Top 10 albums. They conquered the rest of the world, including the US, in their spare time.

Comparing them with, say, The Thompson Twins seems somehow foolish.

Now the line-up which sailed through the glory years in an orgy of aspirational hedonism is back. Time and the good life have taken their toll upon the five former peacocks, but singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes and the three unrelated Taylors (guitarist Andy, bassist John and drummer Roger) have a shiny new album, Astronaut, along with a new purpose.

As those who have trudged their weary way through Medazzaland (the band's only album not to chart in Britain) and the disastrous covers album, Thank You, will attest, recent years have not been kind to Duran Duran.

The decline began in 1986, when Roger Taylor retired to tend his Gloucestershire estate and Andy began a farfrom-successful solo career.

Along the way, they lost John and ambled along until June 2001. Then, after a date in Osaka, one by one, the Taylors re-entered the fold. Within weeks, the reconvened quintet were recording - in St Tropez, of course - and last summer they embarked on a 25th anniversary tour.

Yet the fact that so much time has elapsed between those St Tropez sessions and the arrival of Astronaut, finally released on 11 October, suggests a difficult-birth. Certainly, a succession-of managers, producers and potential suitor labels have come and gone. …

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