Tag Archives: Birmingham

1980 ➤ When Duran Duran put Brummie Romantics on the map

Duran Duran, New Romantics

Duran Duran in 1980: Birmingham’s fluffiest New Romantics

40
YEARS
ON

◼ 40 YEARS AGO TODAY the Birmingham club-band Duran Duran released their debut single Planet Earth, less than two months after signing to EMI. It charted in mid-March, peaked at No 12, and bagged the band a spot on Top of the Pops, Britain’s premier music TV show. They were the first New Romantic band from outside London to make good, and the writer Steve Jansen claims that “inside of three short years, Duran were officially the biggest band on the planet”.

He celebrated Duran’s birthpangs with a thorough survey of their origins titled Switch It On! – Planet Earth & The Launch of Duran Duran, on the blog gimmeawristband.com which though sadly defunct today, is preserved at the Wayback Machine. As a shorter alternative, Shapersofthe80s documented a few key excerpts from his epic account, where Jansen talked to all the key players involved during the run-up to the band’s chart debut. They are published here with his permission…

➢ Previously at Shapers of the 80s:
Read Steve Jansen on how other people’s faith put
the Brummies into the charts

➢ Previously at Shapers of the 80s:
1980, How Duran Duran’s road to stardom began
in the Studio 54 of Birmingham

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➤ Le Bon takes wing during Duran’s return to Brighton

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❚ EXTRAORDINARY! IS IT POSSIBLE THAT Simon Le Bon’s voice sounds better than ever??? Even on an amateur concert video (above, posted at YouTube by Soralella71)) there was plenty of power and range to the tenor voice soaring over The Brighton Centre last night when Duran Duran opened with Before The Rain — all the more impressive since it was injuring his vocal chords that halted the AYNIN world tour in its tracks last May. There are 11 more gigs to play on this UK and Ireland leg of the tour, so fingers crossed.

➢ “Fizzing with the insouciant pop-funk of their most famous Eighties material” — today’s review at The Arts Desk

AUDIENCE VERDICTS AT FACEBOOK

❏ Corinna Scammell: Thankyou for Brighton — totally bloody marvellous and you did Secret Oktober!
❏ Lindsay Franklin: Bloody Brilliant Show last might in Brighton boys — it’s been too long! Last time I saw you was in the 80s. Even better now. Outstanding.
❏ Dan Thekebabman Burgess: Really enjoyed the show last night guys. Great job, simply amazing!
❏ Julie Stalford: Last night in Brighton was a fantastic night guys, thankyou so much, what a great great live band. Loved it.

Duran Duran, UK tour, Brighton Centre, John Taylor,video

John Taylor at Duran’s finale in Brighton last night: “That was definitely worth the wait. Thank you!” (Video grab from Soralella71 at YouTube)

A sentimental postcard from
John in Birmingham

➢ Dec 3: John Taylor on a DD family outing You can’t blame the Brum crowd for their sense of ownership of songs like Planet Earth and Rio, they were written in their back-yard. We have lived in a lot of cities over the years and there have been a lot of places I have called home for a time, but you know, there’s really only one, and that’s the city of Birmingham. It beget us and it made us. Thanks to it for a great night. / Read more online

➢ Ten killer DD vids to say welcome back to the UK

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2011 ➤ Duran’s round-the-world adventure reaches the UK

SXSW, interview, John Norris, Duran Duran

Duran interviewed at SXSW in March: Simon Le Bon checks a runaway thought before the audience jumps to the wrong conclusion (SXSW video grab)

❚ UPDATE, JULY 1: Following the postponement of Duran Duran’s European arena tour owing to singer Simon Le Bon’s vocal problems, consult the band’s website for news… DD have rescheduled all eleven UK concerts to run from Nov 30 Brighton to Dec 17 Newcastle.

❚ UPDATE, MAY 29: Duran Duran now offer a fulsome apology for having to cancel their current UK tour dates — not, as sceptics suspected, because of unsold tickets but because of singer Simon Le Bon’s continuing “laryngeal problems”. Their website today reports: “Following a consultation with both a vocal coach and his team of ENT specialists today, Simon Le Bon has been advised that he needs to continue to rest his voice… Devastated by the news that they will not be able to resume the tour as planned on Tuesday, Simon said ‘We’ve been postponing shows with very little notice, in the hope each day that the improvement would have been significant enough for me to sing again without risking any long-term damage’.”

View John and Nick’s special video apology at YouTube . . . Today too, Roger Taylor blogs on the DD website on the horrible irony of Woody Allen’s famous quotation “If you want make God laugh, tell him about your plans” and he makes the promise: “I know that all the shows are very close to being re-scheduled later in the year.” . . . Read Simon Le Bon’s blog at DD’s website on June 1: “I reckon I got 6 semi-tones wiped off the top of my range and … it’s very difficult not to worry about it.”

❏ Here’s a sparky interview with the band just released by the SXSW festival, recorded in March. With former MTV reporter John Norris in the chair, Nick Rhodes says he still sees Duran as an art-school band and John Taylor reflects on the golden era of MTV. Stills from this interview have been posted at Flickr

Duran Duran, L'Uomo Vogue,Pierpaolo Ferrari
❏ This stylish tuxedoed shot by Pierpaolo Ferrari comes from the current “Long Live the 80s” issue of L’Uomo Vogue, with a feature on DD by former Wag club host Chris Sullivan, translated for the Italian edition.

HERE’S A CATCH-UP ON PREVIOUSLY POSTED
DURAN NEWS FROM THE YEAR SO FAR

❏ It was 30 years in March since the 80s supergroup’s debut single Planet Earth peaked at No 12 in the UK chart… This year their 14-track CD of AYNIN spent five weeks on the UK album chart.

❏ View highlights from Duran Duran’s Unstaged online concert March 23 at the Mayan theatre, Los Angeles, in 1080p HD at the band’s Vevo channel on YouTube /DuranDuranVEVO. Click here to find which global regions are licensed to view highlights at YouTube. The four DD Unstaged concert tracks most viewed via Vevo in the first three weeks after the live webcast drew more than 1.5m views — these are All You Need is Now with 700,930 views, then Notorious 298,505, Planet Earth 290,477, and Friends of Mine 274,935 way out ahead of all other tracks, most of which pulled only four-figure audiences.

John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Duran, Facebook Live, interview, thequietus, SXSW❏ Rhodes and Taylor give a 30-minute video interview on Billboard.com including live Q&A (right) on March 30, 2011.

❏ Rhodes and Le Bon give a seven-minute video history of DD for ABC News, Jan 2011 — “Rio was the album that made us the biggest band in the world. It made us big in America”

❏ Duran have been blessed by an interview at Quietus, its holiness the online magazine whose touchstone is “reverence” and claims “we’re not afraid of surprising our readers”. Writer Simon Price delivers two surprises. Plus this list of post-80s albums the band think most deserve to be listened to: The Wedding Album (1993) … Pop Trash (2000) … Medazzaland (1997) … Astronaut (2004).

❏ On the current AYNIN tour Duran Duran played North America and Mexico March 16–April 27, just before their 11-date UK tour from Newcastle to Sheffield May 18–June 4. They take in Berlin on May 26 and continue across Europe, Paris to Bergen June 10–Aug 28. [Update — These were the original plans, which were substantially cancelled in May and June.] In between they return to the UK for the V Festival on both Aug 20 and 21.

Duran Duran, All You Need Is Now, video, Nick Egan
♫ View Nick Egan’s Bacofoil video for All You Need Is Now, DD’s comeback single at Yahoo Music — available worldwide on iTunes. A 14-track CD package of the same name was released in March for most of Europe, Australia, Far East and North America with South America following in April.

♫ Listen to two new Duran tracks premiered on NYC’s East Village Radio.

➢ Elsewhere at Shapersofthe80s — 1980, How Duran Duran’s road to stardom began in the Studio 54 of Birmingham

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1981 ➤ The day Duran’s fortunes really took flight

❚ HAPPY 30th ANNIVERSARY to Planet Earth. On March 5, 1981, Duran Duran made their first appearance on the nationwide TV show Top of the Pops, a vital consequence of their debut single hitting the UK Top 40. Along with Spandau Ballet and Visage, Duran were the third British band to confirm the gathering force of the New Romantic movement, and TV’s pop flagship was to showcase a rush of new bands as springtime blossomed. Duran’s strongly contemporary electronic style is attributed to producer Colin Thurston, who had co-engineered David Bowie’s “Heroes”, and on his death in 2007 John Taylor paid tribute to Thurston as “a major catalyst for the 80s sound” which he was to reinforce on the band’s first album. “Without Colin’s depth of vision, we would never have become the band we became.”

Duran Duran, Simon Le Bon, Rum Runner, 1980, New Romantics,Planet Earth, video

Simon Le Bon: live on video at the Rum Runner in 1980

In the Planet Earth video mix above we see original footage of DD performing in 1980 at the Rum Runner, home of Birmingham’s then underground New Romantic scene.

The futuristic and stylish official video, shot later in a studio by director Russell Mulcahy, has been spliced in, all overdubbed with the audio track recorded at EMI’s Manchester Square studio with lyrics refreshed opportunistically to include the line Like some New Romantic looking for the TV sound (available as the Manchester Square Demo on the debut Duran Duran album remastered in 2010). One of Duran’s earliest songs, Late Bar, completed the B-side of the single released on Feb 2, 1981. An alternative arrangement of Planet Earth was also released on a 12-inch extended remix as what DD called a “night version” for the dancefloor. The single spent 14 weeks in the chart, peaking at No 12 in late March.

Among comments at YouTube, Jeremy Thirlby, musician and school friend of Nick Rhodes, points out that the dancers we see during the filming at the club were “drafted in actors” because for some reason “most regulars were excluded”! Unknown to everyone at Birmingham’s Rum Runner the very week when Duran were being filmed in July 1980, London’s ITV station was to air its 20th Century Box documentary about the Blitz club house band, Spandau Ballet. Bang! This was the starting gun that signalled the record-industry race to sign up the first of the New Romantic bands.

New Romantics, Duran Duran, Rum Runner, video, 1980, Planet Earth

New Romantics in full fig at the Rum Runner in July 1980: note the tell-tale moves in the Planet Earth video, such as the Ballet sway at 1:20, crucial handpasses at 2:18 and Pierrot’s wonky head at 3:06

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1981 ➤ Birth of Duran’s Planet Earth — when other people’s faith put the Brummies into the charts

Duran Duran, New Romantics

Duran Duran in 1980: Birmingham’s fluffiest New Romantics

Planet Earth, Night Version, Duran Duran◼ 30 YEARS AGO TODAY the Birmingham club-band Duran Duran released their debut single Planet Earth, less than two months after signing to EMI. It charted in mid-March, peaked at No 12, and bagged the band a spot on Top of the Pops, Britain’s premier music TV show. They were the first New Romantic band from outside London to make good, and this week the writer Steve Jansen claims that “inside of three short years, Duran were officially the biggest band on the planet”.

He celebrated Duran’s birthpangs with a monumental survey of their origins titled Switch It On! – Planet Earth & The Launch of Duran Duran, on the blog gimmeawristband.com. As a shorter alternative, Shapersofthe80s has documented a few key excerpts from his epic account, where Jansen talked to all the key players involved during the run-up to the band’s chart debut. They are published here with his permission…

➢ Previously at Shapers of the 80s:
Read Steve Jansen on how other people’s faith put
the Brummies into the charts

➢ Previously at Shapers of the 80s:
1980, How Duran Duran’s road to stardom began
in the Studio 54 of Birmingham

Duran Duran, video, Planet Earth

The New Romantic Jive: Rum Runner regulars Gay John and Lavinya (aka Patrick Black), dressed to the hilt and dancing in the official 1981 video for Planet Earth, co-directed by Blitz Kid Perry Haines and Russell Mulcahy

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