b. Borrowing their name from a character in the cult 60s science fiction movie Barbarella, this UK pop band achieved global fame in the early 80s thanks to a series of catchy synth-pop tunes, a strong visual image, and expensively produced promotional videos which enjoyed endless rotation on the nascent MTV music channel.
The band's classic line-up featured vocalist Simon Le Bon (b. 27 October 1958, Bushey, Hertfordshire, England), keyboard player Nick Rhodes (b. Nicholas James Bates, 8 June 1962, Moseley, Birmingham, West Midlands, England), guitarist Andy Taylor (b. 16 February 1961, Wolverhampton, England), bass player John Taylor (b. Nigel John Taylor, 20 June 1960, Birmingham, West Midlands, England) and drummer Roger Taylor (b. 26 April 1960, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, West Midlands, England).
Formed by Nick Rhodes and John Taylor in 1978, the early line-ups of the band included Simon Colley (bass/clarinet), Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy (b. 30 May 1960, Birmingham, Worcestershire, England; vocals), Andy Wickett (vocals), Alan Curtis (guitar), and Jeff Thompson.
They established a residency at the Rum Runner in Birmingham, and the club's owners Michael and Paul Berrow became the band's first managers.
Duran Duran came to prominence in late 1980 when they toured with Hazel O'Connor and won a contract with EMI Records.
Firmly in the 'new romantic' bracket, they enjoyed early publicity and reached the UK Top 20 the following year with their debut single, Planet Earth. The follow-up Careless Memories barely scraped into the UK Top 40, but this proved merely a minor setback. Girls On Film, which was accompanied by a risque Godley And Creme video that featured nude models, brought them their first UK Top 5 hit.
Two albums quickly followed and hits like Hungry Like The Wolf, Save A Prayer, and Rio revealed that there was considerable songwriting substance behind the hype.
By 1983, they were in the ascendant, having broken into the US Top 10 three times. Is There Something I Should Know?, a gloriously catchy pop song, entered the UK charts at number 1, thereby underlying the strength of their fan base. They were now, unquestionably, the most popular teen idols in the country.
An impressive run of transatlantic Top 10 hits followed over the next two years, including Union Of The Snake, New Moon On Monday, The Reflex (a UK/US number 1), The Wild Boys, and A View To A Kill, the latter a James Bond movie theme which gave the band their second US chart-topper.
At the peak of their success, they decided to wind down and venture into other projects, such as the Power Station and Arcadia, while Le Bon caused many a teenage heart to flutter when he was almost killed in a yachting accident in 1986.
The same year the band regrouped, minus Roger and Andy Taylor, to record Notorious with producer Nile Rodgers. Although the title track was a big hit the band had by now lost many of their original fans, and excellent follow-up singles such as Skin Trade and Meet El Presidente failed to break into the Top 20 either side of the Atlantic.
The trio of Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor continued recording, however, knowing that they had already secured a place in pop history.
Pointlessly tinkering with their name (to DuranDuran) failed to restore the band's commercial fortunes, and the release of a singles compilation raised question marks about their future.
Guitarist Warren Cuccurullo (b. 8 December 1956, Brooklyn, New York City, USA; ex- Missing Persons ), who first featured on Notorious, and Sterling Campbell became permanent members in June 1989, although the latter left two years later, going on to play with Cyndi Lauper and David Bowie among others.
Renewed interest in Duran Duran came about in 1993 when Ordinary World became a major transatlantic hit (USA number 3/UK number 6). It was followed by Come Undone, which reached number 7 in America.
Both tracks were taken from Duran Duran, which caused critics who had written them off to amend their opinions.
In 1995 they released Thank You, a covers album that paid tribute to the band's influences, although they attracted hostile criticism for versions of rap classics White Lines (Don't Do It) and 911 Is A Joke.
Two years later John Taylor left the band, leaving Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes to carry on with the long-serving Cuccurullo.
Their contract with EMI ended following the record company's refusal to release Medazzaland in the UK, although Greatest, sold well on the back of an 80s revival. Pop Trash, released on the Hollywood label, was a deliberate attempt to escape the pop tag with which Nick Rhodes and Simon Le Bon will forever be associated.
In 2001, it was announced that Warren Cuccurullo was leaving the band and that Duran Duran would reform with all its original members.