Dubbed the “Fab Five”, Duran Duran were pop’s poster boys of the 80s, releasing a string of multi-platinum-selling albums and singles that continue to pack dancefloors to this day, including Rio, The Reflex and Planet Earth. In the 90s, there came a critical renaissance with one of the decade’s classic comebacks, Ordinary World, and its parent album, Duran Duran (aka “The Wedding Album”), and, into the 21st century, the group continue to craft critical and commercial hits while building a formidable legacy as standout live performers. Think you know all about a band whose legacy stretches back more than four decades? Here are 10 Duran Duran facts that might surprise you…
Listen to the best of Duran Duran here, and check out the Duran Duran facts you need to know, below.
1: Duran Duran released the first-ever paid-for digital single
Duran Duran have a long history of innovation – seizing the new opportunities offered by the MTV age, or fusing different musical genres to blend a sound that’s uniquely their own – and, in September 1997, they issued the world’s first-ever paid-for digital single. Electric Barbarella came out on the long-forgotten Liquid Audio format and caused controversy in the music industry. The track, issued in a unique remix for the platform, was taken from the band’s Medazzaland album, which wasn’t even issued in the UK, and the bold format move was blamed for the album’s relatively poor performance stateside, with physical-music retailers spooked by the group’s decision to embrace the internet. Electric Barbarella would later turn up on the band’s hits compilation Greatest, and Medazzaland was finally issued on CD and vinyl in the UK in 2022.
2: For two decades, they were the only James Bond theme chart champions
Paul McCartney And Wings couldn’t manage it; Carly Simon came close; and Shirley Bassey tried three times, but, across the first two decades of the James Bond film franchise, none of its themes ever made it to No.1 on the transatlantic singles charts… until Duran Duran. Recorded for the 1985 Bond film of the same name, A View To A Kill made top billing in the US and peaked at No.2 in the band’s homeland (it wouldn’t be until 2015 and Sam Smith’s Writing’s On The Wall that the UK would crown a Bond chart-topper). One of the best James Bond theme songs of all time, A View To A Kill was the group’s 13th single and the last recording with their original line-up until their 21st-century reunion. Though one of the band’s most famous songs, it’s less known among Duran Duran facts that the track was written with legendary composer John Barry and recorded with a 60-piece orchestra.