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A LIFE LESS ORDINARY

DURAN DURAN HAD BEEN ONE OF THE EIGHTIES’ BIGGEST BANDS, THE NEW ROMANTIC PRINCES WHO BECAME CHART KINGS. BUT AS THE NINETIES DAWNED WITH ONLY THREE ORIGINAL MEMBERS ON BOARD, THEY WERE AT RISK OF MUSICALLY LOSING THEIR WAY…
A decade of change on the way: Warren Cuccurullo, Sterling Campbell, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Simon Le Bon
Michel Linssen/Redferns

For Duran Duran, the Nineties didn’t start well. Violence Of Summer (Love’s Taking Over), the initial single from 1990’s Liberty album, struggled into the No.20 position on the UK charts even after appearances on Top Of The Pops and Wogan. Serious, the follow-up, only scraped into the Top 50, peaking at No.48, and neither single did well in the US. The Liberty LP fared slightly better, entering the chart at No.8 before making a sharp exit. Faced with the potential embarrassment of playing to half-empty concert venues and receiving less-thanecstatic reviews, Duran chose not to tour in support of Liberty and instead embarked on a promotional tour of radio and television stations in Australia and New Zealand, where they were pretty well guaranteed blanket media exposure.

Even Duran’s position as the premier video band of the MTV generation was under threat. The group had made its name internationally via expensive promos filmed in exotic locations, with the Fab Five kitted out in designer clobber. Knocking off a quick studio shoot in a day could conceivably do them more harm than good and Capitol Records cancelled the videos for First Impression and Liberty, the subsequent US and UK singles. As the UK 45 was also the LP title track, it was apparent that the album was well and truly dead.

Warren Cuccurullo had joined Duran in 1986 as Andy Taylor’s replacement. Having relocated to London, the guitarist had a studio built into his newlypurchased home and invited Nick Rhodes over to check out the feasibility of recording the next album there. Demos went well and EMI cautiously agreed to an advance on the proviso that they wanted to hear what the band were up to as they went along; if they liked it, more cash would be forthcoming.

The song that swung EMI was Ordinary World – arguably Duran’s best-ever ballad – which grew out of an acoustic guitar line that Cuccurullo came up with that he, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Simon Le Bon worked up into a song.

EVERY TOWN WAS AN EXCUSE FOR A BLOW-OUT. I COULD NEVER STOP AFTER ONE DRINK. IT WAS HORRIBLE.

JOHN TAYLOR

John Taylor and Amanda de Cadenet share an intimate moment at a party in the early Nineties
© Dave Hogan/Getty Images
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About Classic Pop Presents

In the latest 132-page special edition of Classic Pop Presents, we celebrate 40 years of Duran Duran. Inside, we explore the band's roots in the New Romantic movement and take an in-depth look at their phenomenal success in the Eighties when they defined the decade with a string of chart-topping hits across the globe. We also tell the story of their critical and commercial rebirth in the Nineties and bring things bang up-to-date with the band fully enshrined as elder statesmen of pop. Elsewhere, we profile the band's best albums including the timeless Rio, Seven And The Ragged Tiger and Notorious plus we look through the lens at their blockbuster videos that shaped the MTV generation. We also hear from the band themselves through numerous archive interviews as well as a rare chat with former member Stephen Duffy. For your ultimate Duran Duran playlist, Classic Pop serves up the band's Top 40 greatest songs. The music. The videos. The style. The decadence – it's an unmissable treat for any Duran Duran fan.