In the early 1980’s, there was a rush of bands that, inspired by Roxy Music, had somewhat repetitive monikers. Unlike Talk Talk , who distinguished themselves by helping to invent post-rock music and make the world safe for chance music, Duran Duran has made their career in exploring the dark and decadent side of new wave and rock over a career that has led to distinctive songs and a series of successful careers after lineup drama and extended hiatuses, continuing to have success on the album charts and even on the single charts into the third and fourth decades of their careers. Their early music video for “Planet Earth,” not even a hit stateside, managed to inspire the Dandy Warhols in their music video for “The Last High.” There is no question that Duran Duran was not only a successful chart act, but also influenced later generations of bands through their approach. Plus, they made music that is fun to listen to, an aspect of music that should not be gainsaid. After all, their hook for “Notorious” ended up, unsurprisingly, being sampled for a Notorious B.I.G. track. If you can inspire music and videos by musicians as diverse as the Dandy Warhols and the Notorious B.I.G., you must be doing something right.
The Influence Of Duran Duran
For all their success, the way they made gorgeous and groundbreaking music videos, wrote some seriously killer rock, and happened to look handsome while doing it, Duran Duran has not always been a critical darling. That said, they have had a lot of influence on other artists both in their time and afterward. Very quickly they became a leader among the New Wave acts of the early 1980’s. They have defenders and fans as diverse as Moby, the Dandy Warhols, Barenaked Ladies, Korn, The Bravery, Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, and Pink. Some of those acts, it should be noted, have had careers worthy of induction in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame themselves. Their influence has extended far beyond hit songs and stellar album sales, to the point where the band has their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and to the point where the band’s John Taylor became the model for Dante in the video game Devil May Cry . This is influence that extends beyond music and into the larger culture in areas like fashion and attitude. The band was also influential in making MTV appealing during the early 1980’s through their groundbreaking videos to their early hit singles.
Why Duran Duran Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
Aside from their pioneer role in the early days of MTV and their larger cultural influence, aside from the way their music helped set the pace for many of their own contemporaries as well as later bands, Duran Duran had a career of solid quality and chart success. Having sold more than 70 million records in their career, they had top 10 albums in three decades (the 1980s, 1990s, and 2010s), and had three albums go multi-platinum, another five albums go platinum, and two more albums go gold in the United States. Among their singles, they have had two #1 hits on the Hot 100: “The Reflex” and “View To A Kill,” one of the best hits to come out of the James Bond series, along with several top tens: “Hungry Like The Wolf,” “Is There Something I Should Know?,” “Union Of The Snake,” “New Moon On Monday,” “The Wild Boys,” “Notorious,” “I Don’t Want Your Love,” “Ordinary World,” and “Come Undone.” In addition, some of their other top 40 hits, like “Rio,” have become enduring classics of the 1980’s. That is an enviable body of work that makes them an obvious choice for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, whatever critics of the time thought.
Why Duran Duran Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Like many other bands of their generation , Duran Duran did not get a great deal of critical praise because they were judged on their image and not on their obvious musical and songwriting talent. This was a band that had the chops to deserve their popular success, and one that continues to soldier on and produce successful music to this day. Still, they had, and have, pretty-boy looks and that is held against them, as is their context of being a 1980’s rock band.
Verdict: Put them in. Specifically, put in the following members of their line-up: Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Andy Taylor, Warren Cuccurullo, Nick Rhodes, and Roger Taylor, their essential six-member lineup responsible for the band’s most notable periods of success. Even if one hates the 1980’s, there’s no need to punish worthy bands like Duran Duran for the time in which they made great music, music that has endured far better than many peers.
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