When Duran Duran formed in Birmingham, England, in 1978, the new-wave/disco band consisted of keyboardist Nick Rhodes and bassist John Taylor.
The band was a quintet in its multiplatinum '80s heyday, but today -- more than 20 years after its inception -- Taylor has gone solo, while Rhodes is a key member of a trio that calls themselves Duran Duran and are readying a new LP.
Rhodes was born Nicholas Bates 37 years ago today in Birmingham. He DJ'd at a club, the Rum Runner, where a co-worker introduced him to singer Simon LeBon. Rhodes and Taylor soon recruited LeBon as vocalist for their band Duran Duran, which was named after a character in the campy '60s sci-fi flick "Barbarella." The group also added drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor. None of Duran's Taylors are related.
"Planet Earth" kicked off the band's string of hits in its native England in 1981. Duran Duran then opened a tour for Blondie in the U.S., where the single "Hungry Like the Wolf" was their breakthrough hit.
From that point, Duran Duran had one smash after another, and they earned a reputation, thanks to the fledgling MTV, for flashy videos that showed the nattily dressed bandmembers cavorting with beautiful women.
The group's hits included "Union of the Snake," "New Moon on Monday" and the U.S. #1 "The Reflex," as well as the title theme to the James Bond movie "A View to a Kill."
One of the most successful bands of the '80s, Duran Duran nonetheless battled drugs and creative differences. But unlike other groups with similar problems who broke apart, Duran Duran spawned two lucrative offshoots: the Power Station, featuring John and Andy Taylor (who had a huge hit with "Some Like It Hot"), and Arcadia, featuring Rhodes, LeBon and Roger Taylor (who scored with "Election Day").
After a dry spell, Duran Duran had a #2 U.S. hit in 1987 with the title track of Notorious. The following year, they had a top-five hit on Billboard's Hot 100 with "I Don't Want Your Love."
In the '90s, former Missing Persons guitarist Warren Cuccurullo joined Duran Duran, which, by then, included Rhodes, LeBon and John Taylor. Their resurgence led to the U.S. top-five song "Ordinary World" and the top-10 track "Come Undone."
In 1997, following John Taylor's departure, Medazzaland featured the single "Electric Barbarella" and such tracks as "Big Bang Generation" (RealAudio excerpt).
Duran Duran toured the UK last year, when they released the Greatest collection. The trio are completing an LP tentatively scheduled for release this year, which will include such titles as "Lady Xanax" and "Hallucinating Elvis."
Other birthdays: Nancy Sinatra, 59; Chuck Negron (Three Dog Night), 57; Boz Scaggs, 55; Mick Box (Uriah Heep), 52; Bonnie Tyler, 46; Mick Hucknall (Simply Red), 39; Doris Pearson (Five Star), 33; Neil Mitchell (Wet Wet Wet), 32 and Rob Pilatus (Milli Vanilli), 1965-1998.