My fandom for Duran Duran predates their stratospheric rise that began in 1982-3 [at least in America]. They were a band working in their field [Post-Punk danserok] like plenty of others I was listening to in the ’81-’82 window. They were not the finest of their ilk, nor were they an embarrassment. They were workmanlike, with occasional stabs at something more. It was a shock to my system when they managed to blow up all over the world, even including America, where bands I would like to hear never got the time of day from the backward US mediascape.
After that, the band would always be judged through the lens of their fame and media reputation. When contemplating Duran Duran, the approaching listener would have to hack their way through a miasma of slick videos, groupies, rabid screaming fans, more cocaine than you can imagine, questionable fame behaviors, and a plethora of supermodels. All of this to the detriment of their music. Ostensibly the reason why they existed in the first place.
My wife casts a jaundiced eye towards the Birmingham band and if I had not encountered them in their brief pre-fame phase, I can’t say I would not be right there with her. As it is, I have a lot of mental eye-rolling I do as a fan, while their output over the years has varied widely in quality; almost randomly. But when they hit their marks and produce a great song, then I have to cut them some slack; at least artistically. I could not help but think that their reputation ultimately works against them with some real beautiful work hidden in the margins of their canon that deserved better treatment. With that in mind, I thought that one could compile a discs worth of subtle moments that might not be the first thing to come to mind when the name “Duran Duran” was dropped, but whose merits were completely obscured by the band’s obnoxious gadabout playboy image.
Next: …From The Beginning