Category Archives: solo careers

The Survey Says…

Last weekend, I did a little blog in which case I questioned the depth of fans’ Duran Duran collections, which you can read here.  In that blog, I asked fans to participate in 4 surveys, including the Duran albums they own, albums they heard completely, side/solo projects they own and side/solo projects they have heard completely.  As people participate, one factor became obvious.  I should have probably listed the extent of the side and solo projects.  For example, Power Station had two albums during their existence.  Thus, the results might not be as accurate as they could be. That said, this was all in fun so not a big deal.

Duran Duran Albums Owned:

For this survey, the question was asked:  Which Duran Duran albums do you own?  The results surprised but also did not surprise me.  The most commonly owned album?  Rio.  I would expect everyone who identifies as a Duranie to own that one.  Here are the results by most owned to least owned:

Rio
Seven and the Ragged Tiger
The Wedding Album
Self-titled/Arena/Paper Gods
Astronaut/All You Need Is Now
Notorious/Red Carpet Massacre
Greatest
Big Thing/Decade
Thank You
Liberty
Medazzaland
Pop Trash
Live from London
A Diamond in the Mind

I will describe my reaction to this list tomorrow, including when/where the big drops in ownership were.

Duran Duran Albums Heard Completely:

Ownership is different than having heard albums.  For example, some fans might have heard various albums but never bought or no longer own certain albums for whatever reason.  Unlike albums owned, there are not huge gaps between albums heard and albums heard a lot less.  Again, here is the list of which albums people have from the most to the least:

Rio/Seven and the Ragged Tiger
Astronaut/Paper Gods
Notorious/The Wedding Album/All You Need Is Now
Self-titled/Red Carpet Massacre
Big Thing
Medazzaland
Liberty/Thank You/Pop Trash

Like the first survey, the results surprised me and did not surprise me.  More reactions from me to follow on tomorrow’s blog.

Side/Solo Project Owned Completely:

Like the previous two surveys, the results both matched and did not match my expectations.  When I made the list, I left out Warren’s solo work simply because I forget about him (and I’m not really a fan).  Perhaps, if he had been included, the results might have been different.  Here are the most owned to the least owned by fans:

Arcadia
Power Station
John Taylor
Neurotic Outsiders
Devils/Simon Le Bon
Andy Taylor
TV Mania
Dom Brown
Freebass

Side/Solo Project Heard:

For this question, I asked fans which side/solo projects they have heard completely, have heard some of, and have heard none of.  Let’s start with the ones fans have heard completely from most to least heard:

Arcadia
Power Station
The Devils
Neurotic Outsiders
John Taylor
Simon Le Bon
TV Mania
Andy Taylor
Dom Brown
Freebass

Have heard some of from most to least:

Simon 
Andy
John
Power Station
TV Mania
Dom Brown
Neurotic Outsiders
The Devils
Arcadia
Freebass

Have heard none of from most to least:
Freebase
Dom Brown
Neurotic Outsiders/The Devils/TV Mania
Andy Taylor
Simon Le Bon
John Taylor
Power Station/Arcadia

All in all, I found the results fascinating.  I will dive into the results and give my reaction in tomorrow’s blog.  Before I do, what do you think of the results?

-A

You Have to Make a Choice

Last week, I blogged about diffuser.fm’s ranking of Duran Duran albums, which you can read here.  While I wrote the blog, I began to wonder if all Duranies who read this blog own all of the band’s albums.  The hypothesis that I created in that blog is that there are some Duranies who do not actually own all of the band’s albums.  For example, I suspect that there are some who don’t own Medazzaland and Pop Trash.  Instead of just guessing that, I figured that I would create a survey to find out if my guess is accurate, which is below.  In the survey below, please click on all the albums you OWN.

Are there fans who don’t own the albums but have heard them?  Let’s find that out!

Beyond the band’s albums, I also wonder how many of the band’s side and solo projects fans have, too.  Maybe they have heard more than they own?  I want to know that, too, so I created more surveys to find out!

After I give everyone a chance to participate, I will do another blog to share what I learned or what I think I learned.  Of course, if you have predictions (and I bet you do!), please share them!  What will we find out with these surveys?

-A

P.S. If I have forgotten a side/solo project, just let me know.  I’ll add it with a separate survey.

Today in Duran History – Techno for Two

On this date in 2001, John Taylor released Techno for Two.  Our comments have been VERY quiet lately…so if you have this (Amanda you do not count!) or know about it, please share with the rest of the class!!  Whenever we post something about John’s solo efforts, or for that matter – anything that doesn’t have to do with Duran Duran directly, we receive comments that they didn’t even know such a thing existed.  Here is your chance to learn.  Look it up.  Check it out.

-R

Today in Duran History – I Do What I Do and American Top 40

On this date in 1986, American Top 40 featured John Taylor’s I Do What I Do.  In the past, when we have mentioned how certain songs were featured, people weren’t sure what we meant.  This means, in my understanding, that the song was played or mentioned during this broadcast.  It doesn’t mean that the song was number one or even in the top 10.  It was just played.  For those of you who are not familiar with the American Top 40, it is a radio program that began in 1970 to count down the songs on the charts.  Over the course of its history, I’m sure there were plenty of Duran Duran songs or Duran Duran related songs played.  I know that I often listened to it when I was a kid, during the 1980s.  Now, I could care less due to the songs that actually chart these days.

All of that said, how did John’s first solo song do on the charts?  Here is what I found, which may or may not be accurate.

According to Wikipedia, it reached number 23 on the Billboard Top 100 and number 42 on the UK singles chart.  Does this seem accurate?

-A

 

Today in Duran History – I Do What I Do Broadcast

On this day in 1986, the Rock Over London broadcast featured John Taylor’s first solo song, I Do What I Do.  Like many Duranies then, when this song came out, I rushed to get a copy.  In fact, I still have my original 45 of this song.  As a John Taylor fan, it was a must have.  I knew that the song was connected to the movie, 9 1/2 Weeks.  I also knew that my 10-year-old self had no chance of actually seeing the movie.  Did I want to see the movie?  Of course, I did!  I didn’t want to see it because of the stars of the movie, the storyline or even the sex.  Oh no, I wanted to see it solely because of the connection there was with John Taylor and because he liked the movie!  Yeah, at that time, I really did think that anything the band was into must be good!  I hadn’t learned that I could still be a fan and not like everything connected to them.

As for the song itself, I remember just being so excited to HEAR John!!!  Before this song, every piece of video was watched and rewatched countless times to see if I could even SEE John sing.  I loved every video moment of him talking, whether it was in the video for Nightboat, an interview, or in the hallway scene of Arena.  Then, this song came out and I didn’t have to try so hard to hear him.  Of course, now, we have a large solo catalog in which to hear John.  I would also argue that he has come a long way from this song in 1986 to his solo career in the late 1990s.  If you don’t have John’s solo stuff, I would highly recommend hunting down each and every album.

What are your memories of this song?  What did you think of it?  What do you think of it now?  In case you forgot what this song sounds like, here’s the video:

-A

Side and Solo Project Videos

Yesterday marked the end of the set of daily questions about people’s favorite song of any Duran related side or solo project.  It came out exactly as I thought it would with Arcadia’s The Promise on top as the favorite.  This didn’t surprise me for a couple of reasons.  First, most Duran fans have heard Arcadia and are familiar with them as opposed to projects like The Devils or Neurotic Outsiders.  Second, when we asked about favorite side or solo project, Arcadia came out on top of that, too.  Thus, it would make sense that whatever favorite song of Arcadia’s would win.  Now, we turn to the videos connected to the various side and solo projects of Duran Duran.  In order for people to participate, I will post the videos that I will be asking about and clips, if I can find them.

Power Station—Some Like It Hot

Power Station—Get It On

Simon LeBon—Grey Lady of the Sea

Arcadia—Election Day

Power Station—Communication


Arcadia—The Promise


Arcadia—Goodbye Is Forever


John Taylor—I Do What I Do


Arcadia—The Flame


Arcadia-Missing


Andy Taylor—Take It Easy


Andy Taylor—When the Rain Comes Down

Arcadia—Say the Word


Andy Taylor—I Might Lie


Andy Taylor—Don’t Let Me Dies Young

Simon LeBon—Follow in my Footsteps


Neurotic Outsiders—Jerk


Power Station—She Can Rock It


John Taylor—Feelings Are Good


Simon LeBon—Dreamboy


John Taylor—Anon


John Taylor—Hey Day

The Devils—Dark Circles


TV Mania—Beautiful Clothes

TV Mania-Euphoria


I did my best to put these in chronological order by when they came out.  I probably missed a few as well.  If you know of a song that has a video that I forgot, let me know so that I can add it.  Until then, please, enjoy the videos and I look forward to all of you voting each day until we finally get a favorite video from a Duran related side or solo project.  🙂

-A

Favorite Songs from Side and Solo Projects

As you all know, each day we ask a question related to Duran Duran on Facebook and Twitter.  The most recent sets of questions revolved around the side projects and solo projects that members of Duran Duran have done that were officially released.  We went through each one, song by song, until each side project and each solo project had a favorite song as voted on by the fans.  We included Power Station, Arcadia, Andy Taylor, John Taylor, Neurotic Outsiders, The Devils, Dom Brown and TV Mania.  Now, though, I’m curious as to how these favorite songs would do going against each other, in order to just make the fan favorite side/solo project song.  Thus, in order for people to be able to participate, I’m going to not only list the previously voted on favorites but also include videos for people to be able to hear them.  Let’s face, not everyone has copies of all of these side and solo projects.  This would give people an opportunity to participate, which is what we want.

Power Station–Some Like It Hot



Arcadia–The Promise


Andy Taylor–Take It Easy




John Taylor–Immortal


Neurotic Outsiders–Jerk


The Devils–Big Store


Dom Brown–Amazing

Here is a link to Dom’s Facebook page.  Amazing is the first song on the playlist.  🙂


TV Mania–Beautiful Clothes


Now that you know all the previous winners and can listen to each of the songs, you can vote!  Voting starts today and there will be as many rounds as possible in order to determine a big winner from this very cool list.  I look forward to the results!

-A

Wasn’t Long Ago…

Everyday, I post a “today in Duran history” fact.  Earlier this week, I posted something that had happened in 1988 or 1989.  This particular fact prompted one of our facebook friends to comment that if she could go back to see any tour, she would like to go back to see this one.  As I read the comment, I pondered.  If I could go back to any time in Duran history, when would I want to go?  Why?  Right away, I knew that I wouldn’t necessarily go back to 1988/1989.  First, I was sort of around then.  I was a fan then.  Could I really express my fandom?  Nope.  I was living in a small town and knew that I couldn’t push my parents into driving up to the city to see shows.  Yet, I am not sure I missed that much.  Big Thing isn’t my favorite album and…their looks wasn’t really what I like.  Let’s face it.  John Taylor was thin.  Super thin.  Simon’s hair was all over the place.  Even Nick’s look wasn’t his finest, in my opinion.  On top of that, from the shows I have seen from that era on DVD, there were some interesting choices made.  Perhaps, things like the dancing done during All She Wants Is was cool then, but now…I don’t think so.  Thus, if 1988/1989 wasn’t the era to go back to, which one was and why?

My initial thought or reaction to this was to go back to 1984.  After all, who wouldn’t like to say that they saw Duran plan at Madison Square Garden in New York City at the peak of their popularity?!  I think that most of us who weren’t able to be there would have wanted to be there.  Plus, who wouldn’t like Duran all over the media from TV to magazines.  Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  This could be especially great to be an adult as I am now, as opposed to the kid that I was.  I could afford to buy all the magazines and merchandise.  I could go for those great seats at iconic venues like MSG.  Yet, I would hesitate to go back to that era.  Fans were young.  There was mass hysteria.  While it would be fascinating to study fandom then, I think I would also be frustrated by some/a lot of the behavior.  We have all watched those scenes in Sing Blue Silver with the fans passing out at the show or being totally smushed in order to get as close as possible.  We are all aware that the band couldn’t often hear themselves play because the screaming was so loud.  Then, what about those fans trying to get into their limo?  Pretty crazy, to say the least.  I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the band then.  While I would love the exposure, I would be frustrated by the hysteria.  So what era would I want to go back to?

I have two answers, one that seems obvious and one that doesn’t.  The obvious answer is simple.  I would love to go back and live in Birmingham in 1979/1980/1981.  Who wouldn’t?  There are a couple of reasons for this.  First, the music scene then seemed just awesome.  I love so much of the music of that era.  In fact, that was one of the coolest things about being in the UK for the tour that didn’t happen in May of 2011.  We were lucky enough to be in Birmingham on one of the nights in which Only After Dark is held, which works to recreate some of the scene of the Rum Runner with the music of that time.  I loved it.  So, the music would be a strong reason to pick that era.  Of course, though, the biggest reason is to be a witness to the formation of Duran Duran.  I would love to see them before they became famous, before they became what they are today, before fans screamed for them.  Like Rhonda, I’m incredibly fascinated by the relationship between us (Duranies) and them (Duran Duran).  How were they with their first fans?  How were the first fans with them?  How did the fame, the screaming, the hysteria affect both groups?  Besides all of that, wouldn’t it have been so cool to see them up close at the Rum Runner?!?

The second choice of eras that I would like to go back to would be the era of John Taylor’s solo days (1997-2001).  Like the Big Thing era, I was obviously a fan then.  Yet, I wasn’t part of the fan community then.  My life didn’t allow for fandom.  I was too busy trying to start my career and pay my bills.  This era wouldn’t interest me much on the Duran front.  Medazzaland didn’t knock my socks off and neither did Pop Trash.  Those albums didn’t feel like the Duran that I knew and loved.  They felt different.  That said, I wish that I had been following John’s solo career.  It is no secret that I adore his solo work, in all seriousness.  I feel very fortunate that I was able to collect everything despite not really being around then.  Anyway, I’m well aware that he played very small venues.  I would have loved to have seen him then and in those small clubs.

Would life as a Duranie be different during those eras?  Of course.  In the first one, fans would have been very small in number, if any.  In the second one, there would also be very few fans around.  In that case, for many fans, their lives as Duranies had come to an end and they were busy with their own lives.  I think I would have enjoyed that significant difference in the fan community.  However, I do feel very lucky to have had the peak of my fandom since 2005.  I would even go further to say that the peak of THE peak of my fandom has been since 2010.  I have had a ton of fun the last couple of years and have gotten to do so much.  The future, though, could be even better.  Goodness knows that Rhonda and I aren’t backing up or stopping.  We are moving forward to do more.  Duran Duran 14 could be the best album.  Their tours and live performances seem to be getting better and better.  On a personal level, I have a lot of Duranie friends whom I could see on tour, which could make the next tour the best tour.  My point here is simple.  While I would have loved to have been around in 1979 Birmingham or in 1998 Los Angeles, I feel lucky to have been around since 2010.

What about the rest of you?  Which era would you want to go back to and why?  Are there eras you would want to avoid?

-A

I’ll Cross That Bridge When I Find It

As you all probably know, we ask a “daily” question on Facebook and Twitter.  For a long time, those questions have been brackets of sorts with the goals being that people pick the favorite or preferred one over the other.  The one that gets less votes is eliminated and the winner goes against another choice until all but one has been eliminated.  We have done this for favorite song per album, favorite overall Duran song, favorite video, etc.  As part of this, we have been asking about side and solo projects lately, most specifically John Taylor.  A couple of things have been made clear to us by observing the responses.  First, there are a lot of people who truly are not familiar with the majority of John’s solo work, which makes me a little sad as I think his solo work has a lot to offer.  Second, people then vote when and on the songs that they have heard. This was very obvious this past week when once again the song, I Do What I Do, came up in the daily question.  This daily question got a lot of votes in comparison to other questions about John’s songs.  Then, I Do What I Do won as it has every time it has been included.  Why is that?  Is this really one of John’s best songs?  I would vote no and I suspect that if John was asked, he would agree with me.  It definitely stands out as being VERY different than the rest of his solo catalog.  It doesn’t showcase his vocals, musical ability or lyrics.  Off the top of my head, every single person I know who is familiar with the majority or all of John’s solo catalog agrees with this.  I don’t blame people for voting what they know.  I love that they want to participate.  We want them to participate.  However, one thing that we hope would happen is that people would want to explore John’s work by these questions.  In some cases that has happened.  In other cases, we have had people contact us to express frustration at finding his stuff as it is not on iTunes, which everyone, I think, would agree be good.  Thus, this blog post has a two-fold purpose.  First, as we move very close to picking the favorite John Taylor song, I thought it would be good to try and post some videos so people could vote with some knowledge behind that vote.  Second, I thought I might also share some places to look for his stuff.

The John Taylor songs that are still in the running are:  The Panhandler, Fields of Eden, Hey Day, Immortal, Just Good Friends, This is the Moment, I Do What I Do and Anon.  Here are the songs that I could find on youtube:

The Panhandler–Here is the link.  For some reason, I could put up the video here.

Fields of Eden:

Hey Day:

Immortal–Another one that won’t let me post the video.

I couldn’t find a video for Just Good Friends.  🙁

This is the Moment:

Anon:

Now, everyone can vote with a solid understanding of the songs behind the vote.  This makes my John fan heart happy.  🙂

Of course, the other purpose of the blog is to explain a few places to look for John’s albums, which include the following titles:


Where can you find these?  Unfortunately, Trust the Process, John’s old website, no longer exists. There is no store to buy the albums directly.  I wish there was for the people who are interested in catching up.  Yet, I encourage people to take the time to hunt them down.  Some places I have found his work includes eBay (USA), Amazon (USA) and Duran Duran Collector’s Store.  Now, I already hear some of you responding to this list, which I’m sure is in no way a complete one.  Some of you are pointing out to me that his work is really expensive on these sites.  In some cases, that’s true.  For example, eBay right now has his Meltdown album for $48, but I also see Feelings Are Good for $10.  Amazon has Techno for Two.  If you want a new copy, you could pay $61, but used is available for $25.  I remember trying to find Autodidact.  It was the last album to complete my collection.  I would see it on eBay every once in awhile but I really didn’t want to spend over $60 for it.  Thus, I kept waiting and watching.  Eventually, I saw it on Amazon for $15.  I can’t say that it will be cheap and I can’t say that completing one’s collection will be fast but it can be done and it will be SO worth it.  Another place that often has some of his stuff is Duran Duran Collector’s Store, which you can find here.  When I did a quick search over there, I saw albums like Techno for Two, Meltdown and more.  Again, they might not be cheap but they can be found.  
On that note, I hope that everyone does some online purchasing and listens to the songs posted above in order to make those educated votes.  I would love to increase everyone’s appreciation for John Taylor’s solo career.
-A

Happy Birthday Mr. Taylor!

This is a first for me!  I am actually writing this year’s birthday post for our favorite bass player, John Taylor!  Of course, as Rhonda mentioned last week, we switched days in order for her to write Dom’s birthday post and for me to write John’s.  Frankly, I suspect that this blog will not live up to the high standards that John’s birthday post should meet.  I will do my best, though.  As I begin this post, I think about all that John is and has been.  It is clear that he is much more than a bass player.  He is more than a founding member of our favorite band.  Obviously, his musical talents have expanded far beyond Duran Duran as he has been involved in side projects (Power Station and Neurotic Outsiders) as well as his own solo work.  He has also been involved with other musical projects as a guest like his vocal performance on Koishii and Hush’s C’est Tout Est Noir.  John isn’t all music, either.  He has been an actor and, this past year, we saw him become a best-selling author as well.  In fact, it is truly difficult to hit on all aspects of John Taylor’s successful career.  I will attempt to the best I can here, though, because he deserves the effort!  Besides, his fans deserve to celebrate everything he has given us, too!

Obviously, most of us became fans of John Taylor through Duran Duran.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m thankful on pretty much a daily basis that John discovered music as a kid and had the desire to form a band.  Then, of course, he had determination and ambition to do what he needed to do in order to be a success.  These qualities can be seen from the very earliest days of Duran to Duran today.  To me, these qualities along with his absolutely outstanding bass playing make him such an important piece to the Duran enterprise.  Yes, I’m sure that there are people out there reading this who want to remind me and others that John left the band and the band continued.  While that’s true, it is clear that the band would not have survived much longer with that line-up.  Simon, in particular, was open about how much he missed John.  For John fans like myself, it was really hard to get excited about anything Duran without him there.  All of this said, this blog post is about celebrating John and what he brought and brings to Duran Duran and their fans.

Clip of John discussing playing Planet Earth from the early 1980s-

An acoustic performance of All You Need Is Now from 2011-

Of course, for many of us, when we think about what John does best, we often think about live performances.  As a kid, I will never forget seeing the live video of The Reflex.  There was just something about him that caught my attention.  Yeah, yeah, I’m sure those flattering camera angles didn’t hurt.  Nonetheless, as an adult, I have learned that he truly does a tremendous job during their live performances.  Of course, one thing that I truly love about John live is that he is always interacting with either Simon or Dom.  I am a big fan of both the JoSi and the DoJo–honestly, partly, because it seems to me that they sincerely love performing together!
The Reflex-

Careless Memories from A Diamond in the Mind:

Now, of course, John hasn’t just performed with Duran Duran.  He has been involved with two side projects.  The first one, Power Station, is probably one that most Duranies are familiar with.  Yet, I would also recommend Neurotic Outsiders.  I suspect that this project did John a lot of good.

Power Station’s Some Like It Hot-

Jerk by Neurotic Outsiders (live)-

I happen to think that John’s most important musical work outside of Duran Duran is his solo work.  If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend it.  John’s solo catalog reveals so much about his musical open-mindedness, skills and passion.  Perhaps, just as, or more, importantly, his solo work is so personal.  I often say that the majority of Simon’s lyrics are either pure poetry or a story about someone else.  The exact opposite is true of John’s.  Most of his songs are intensely personal.  It shows a lot about what kind of person he is to share so much of himself with the world.  Of course, his autobiography did that as well.  Someday, I’ll do a blog of must hear John songs.  In my personal opinion, all serious John fans should familiarize themselves with his solo stuff.

John’s song Fields of Eden-

Beyond music, John has been been both an actor and an author.  How many people out there can claim all of this (musician, actor and author)?!  His acting appearances were always entertaining to me from when he played an English rockstar in Sugartown (that sounds familiar…) to a badass rock star who enjoys trashing his hotel rooms in Strange Frequency to a hitman in Four Dogs Playing Poker.

John in Strange Frequency-

Of course, last year, we all had the pleasure of reading John’s autobiography.  I have read it multiple times and continue to be impressed by his writing skills as well as his ability to be so open.  If you haven’t read it, you totally should.  It provides such insight into John but also into Duran Duran, the Birmingham scene, fame and more.  
John reading the chapter on Coachella from his book-

I adore this final chapter of the book.  Why?  It feels to me that John really gets it.  He understands his role–to make music, to connect with us when they are on stage and we are in the audience.  Clearly, he understood the importance of connecting, including the band to us but also fans connecting to other fans.  In the end, that is what it is all about—making connections, long lasting, lifelong connections.  Thus, on this day, we celebrate John’s birthday but we also celebrate all that he has given us–his music, his voice, his talent, his words, his creativity, his soul and, through all of that, each other.  Truly, June 20th is one date to celebrate.
Happy Birthday John!!
-A