On Duran Duran and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2022
Note: A version of this article originally appeared in PJ Media on 2/3/22
“What a surprise and an honor! To be nominated by such a highly esteemed organization is truly special in this, our fortieth, year. For decades now Duran Duran have been inspired by the incredible support of our beautiful and diverse fanbase around the world. To be considered by the Hall of Famers is truly next level. Let’s hope we make the cut!” — John Taylor, Founding Member & Bass Guitar
Let’s hope indeed.
As you may have heard, the nominations for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2022 were announced on Wednesday and to the delight of Durannies young and old around the world including myself (old), the mighty and enduring tour de force that is Duran Duran finally made the list. I say finally because it is indeed overdue. For as much as I adore recent Hall of Fame inductees like The Cure and Depeche Mode, I always thought it would be most appropriate that the Durans be the ones leading the 80’s-born pop sensations into The Hall. Alas. But here we are now, justice about to be done. And YOU have a vote. What a great moment.
Founded in Birmingham in 1978 by the aforequoted funk-bred bassist John Taylor and brilliantly quirky keyboardist Nick Rhodes, eventually to be joined by edgy rocker type guitarist Andy Taylor, steady-handed and mannered drummer Roger Taylor (it seems to be law that at this point in any article about Duran Duran one has to note that none of the Taylors are related. None of the Taylors are related) and vocalist, lyricist, poet and bon vivant Mr. Simon Le Bon, their great looks, unique fashion sense, funk-pop blend and stunningly fresh, etherial lyrics demanded attention. Within two years they were signed to EMI. One year later, they were at the top of the charts and practically owning the then-fledgling MTV with exotic — and in the case of “Girls on Film,” racy — videos from their smash debut, Duran Duran. Duran Duran made MTV. This fact is undeniable.
Now, having recently released their 15th studio album Future Past, over 40 years and 100 million albums sold worldwide and an untold amount of awards and honors ranging from Grammys to a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame later, comes the one glaring, missing honor: nomination for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Similar to very few of their contemporaries — The Cure, Depeche Mode, U2 come to mind — Duran Duran has never slipped. Sure, they have had their ups and downs, members have come and gone (the band’s current lineup is all original members, save for Andy Taylor, who left the band 1986, returned to the delight of fans in 2001, and left again, sadly, in 2006) but as far as I know, they’ve been selling out major venues steadily for over 40 years. They never, like Tears for Fears, Billy Idol and Adam Ant to name a few, were relegated to small or mid-sized venues (no disrespect, I love all three and loved seeing them in small venues but that’s not the point). The music has always been fresh, and no two albums sound the same. And the fan base, ever growing, has always been steadfast. More than steadfast. I don’t even have a word for it.
The extra special thing that separates Duran Duran from all of their contemporaries with the possible exception of The Cure is that being a Durannie is more than being a fan of the music. It’s almost a way of life. For example, like many original “day one” Durannies like me, they have influenced me culturally and stylistically since I was in my early teens. I came to learn about Andy Warhol, on whose life and career I have come to be known as a sort of expert, by reading something Nick Rhodes said in a magazine when I was 14. I came to love the work of the late Patrick Nagel because of the cover of their 2nd smash album, Rio. A giant signed limited edition print of his hangs in my living room behind me as I write. I learned about the importance of Chic, Roxy Music, and many other artists I probably would have missed from Duran Duran. For crying out loud, my first published feature as a writer came in the form of a Q&A feature with Nick Rhodes for a now-defunct Southern California lifestyle magazine called élan when I was 16. And I’m not ashamed to say that even today, at age 52, when I go to the salon my instructions to the stylist more often than not involve a photo of John Taylor on one of his many phenomenal hair days over the years.
Duran Duran is about so much more than consistently great music and performances. They are a phenomenon. That’s my point. And that is why I insist that the nomination is long overdue. It is hard if not impossible to overstate their global musical and cultural impact. There is no artist or band more deserving of induction.
Agree? Then join me by casting your vote in the Hall’s “Fan Vote” ballot. Of the 18 nominees, you can vote for 5 per day with just a few clicks of a mouse up until April 29th. While I’ve no doubt that Duran Duran will make the cut and ultimately be inducted, the nominee field this year is undeniably strong. In addition to the Durans, there’s Dolly Parton. Lionel Richie. Judas Priest. Eurythmics. Carly Simon. Pat Benatar (who as of this writing just one day into the voting is the leading fan-vote getter). Dionne Warwick. Eminem. And other deserving artists and bands. Crazy!
So vote early and vote often. Spread the word. Burn the Ground!