On the 15th of June, 1981, Duran Duran released their self-titled debut studio album, which reached No.3 on the UK Albums Chart and remained in the UK top 100 for 118 weeks. It was released by Capitol-EMI. In the US the album reached No.10 on the Billboard 200, and spent 87 weeks on that chart. Singles from the album included the UK top 10 hits ‘Planet Earth’ and ‘Girls on Film’.
Influenced by artists such as David Bowie, the Human League, Japan and Chic, Duran Duran, features a mixture of synthesiser-led pop tunes and more atmospheric experimental tracks, with elements of disco, punk and dance. Le Bon’s lyrics cover topics from youthful torment and confusion to the band’s goals and ambitions. The cover artwork for the album and singles were designed by Malcolm Garrett. Album cover photo by Fin Costello.
Produced by Colin Thurston, the album was recorded in London and Oxfordshire, between December 1980. and January 1981.
John Taylor later said: “Colin was absolutely the right producer for us. He knew how to take what was best about us and magnify it, and boy, did he take our sound to another level”. “Planet Earth” was chosen as the debut single.
Planet Earth video, directed by Perry Haines & Russell Mulcahy
Duran Duran was formed in Birmingham, England, in 1978, by singer and bassist Stephen Duffy, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, and guitarist/bassist John Taylor. With the addition of drummer Roger Taylor, the following year, the band went through numerous personnel changes before May 1980, when they settled on their most famous line-up by adding guitarist Andy Taylor and lead vocalist Simon Le Bon.
The critics complimented the band for creating a modern sound that spearheaded the New Romantic movement.
Innovators of the music video, Duran Duran were catapulted into the mainstream with the introduction of the 24-hour music channel MTV. The group was a leading band in the MTV-driven Second British Invasion of the US in the 1980s. Photographer Denis O’Regan, who captured the band during their 1984 tour, commented “Duran Duran in America was like Beatlemania.
Simon Le Bon has a theory as to why the band are still friends, and still making music for four decades: “We’ve always written music that turns us on; we’ve never tried to tailor it to any kind of taste.”
Duran Duran (1981)
Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983)
Big Thing (1988)
Duran Duran (1993)
Thank You (1995)
Pop Trash (2000)
Red Carpet Massacre (2007)
All You Need Is Now (2010)
Paper Gods (2015)
Future Past (2021)
Awards: Grammy Award for best video-short form, Recording Academy, 1983; Grammy Award for best video album, Recording Academy, 1983; Brit Award for best British video, for “Wild Boys,” 1985; Ivor Novello Award, 1993; star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1993; MTV Video Music Award for Lifetime Achievement, 2003; Q Magazine lifetime achievement award, 2004; Brit Award for outstanding contribution, 2004; Icon Award and Video Visionary Award, 2015.
Among many more awards and nominees, Duran Duran was honoured for services to Birmingham and presented with a Lord Mayor’s Award. The band were presented with the Lord Mayor’s Award before their homecoming gig at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham city centre on the 5th of May, 2023.
The award was made in rccognition of Duran Duran’s outstanding achievement and exceptional service to Birmingham and its people through inspirational and dedicated work as world-renowned musicians, writers, and producers of music, which has raised the city’s reputation for music and creativity.