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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 February, 2004, 16:16 GMT
The return of Duran Duran
By Joanna Wilson
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Duran Duran
The early days... Duran first hit the charts in 1981
Last year, Duran Duran - who are being honoured for their contribution to music at the Brit Awards - celebrated 25 years together as a band.

The recognition from the UK's music industry comes as the newly-reformed band revives its career with gusto.

Last year, Duran Duran played a series of critically-acclaimed comeback shows in the US and Japan, and they recently toured with Robbie Williams in Australia.

In October they were given a rapturous reception at the Forum in London - their first UK gig featuring the band's original line-up for 18 years.

Now they have sold 120,000 tickets for their UK arena tour in April, and an album of new material is to follow.

But wind the clock back a few years and it was a different story.

Obscurity

Duran Duran
Duran recently picked up lifetime awards from MTV and Q magazine

Frontman Simon Le Bon and keyboardist Nick Rhodes were carrying on under the Duran banner.

The pair had been going it alone since bassist John Taylor's departure in 1996. Drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor were long gone - having quit in 1985.

Le Bon and Rhodes had been joined for over a decade by guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, but they had not enjoyed a big hit since the success of Ordinary World and Come Undone from 1993's Wedding Album.

Despite support from some loyal fans - and a handful of sell-out shows in the UK during the late 1990s - it seemed Duran were fading into obscurity.

But in 2001, there were rumours of a reunion.

The following year, the three Taylors - John, Roger and Andy - joined Le Bon and Rhodes in the south of France and the five began working on new songs together.

Mini-tours in Japan and the US were soon under way - and Duran were back in business.

Memories

The success and media attention surrounding the comeback concerts has revived memories of the band at the height of their fame in the mid-1980s.

Duran Duran
John Taylor and Simon Le Bon at their UK comeback concert in London last year
Back then they were notching up hit after hit - including two UK number ones, Is There Something I Should Know? in 1983 and 1984's The Reflex.

The pouting good looks of Simon Le Bon and John Taylor ensured their faces regularly appeared on the covers of every pop and teen magazine around.

The hysteria surrounding the US leg of their Sing Blue Silver tour in 1984 reached epic proportions - with comparisons to Beatlemania.

In the spirit of the 1980s, their personal lives were full of glamour and excess - with marriages to models and dalliances with designer drugs.

Exotic and extravagant videos made them MTV favourites while they performed the theme tune to 1985 Bond movie A View To A Kill.

Twenty years on, the screaming teenagers are now in their 30s and the band are approaching middle age.

But their recent reunion has rekindled some of the Duran magic of old.

Whether or not their new material wins over a new generation of fans, their place in British pop history is already assured.


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