Duran Anniversary Part One

As you all know, we post a “Today in Duran Duran History” fact on here, on our facebook and on our twitter.  It made sense to add this since we are “daily” in our posting.  Plus, I love acknowledging events of the past.  I suspect this might be the historian in me who has always loved the story of history.  The fan in me has always loved the Duran story as well.  I think many/most/all of us could probably describe the story of Duran Duran, at least in general terms.  Some of us would include more details than others but I suspect that the framework would all be basically the same.  Anyway, this historian/fan historian (maybe that should be my dream job!) not only acknowledges the history of the band but acknowledges her own history as a Duranie.  After all, we all have a story to tell about our lives as fans.  In my research on fandom, over and over again, I see that when most fans reach out to make connections with other fans, they discuss their fan histories, so to speak.  When fans introduce themselves, it is common for them to discuss how long they have been fans and what made them become fans.  Fandom research refers to this sharing of one’s beginnings in a fandom as one’s coming out story.  I suspect that there will be a great deal of sharing of coming out stories at the convention.  I hope there will be as I never get sick of hearing/reading about others’ stories about when and why and how they became fans!  This week, my personal “Today in Duran History” saw my Duranie anniversary pass by as April 16th, 1984, is the day I mark my beginning as a Duranie. 

Why April 16th?  It is the day that a certain single was released.  What song?  The Reflex.  It isn’t even my favorite song now but it was so dang important in 1984.  Had I heard Duran Duran before that?  Of course.  I lived in the Chicago suburbs then, which meant that I listened to B96 (Top 40) and watched MTV.  I remember Hungry like the Wolf playing on MTV.  I also remember watching their performance on MTV’s New Year’s Eve in 1982 at my cousin’s house.  I knew that it seemed cool to like them (at least among my older cousins).  I started inching towards being a Duranie when Save a Prayer got in my head and I couldn’t get it out to save my life.  I have a very vivid memory of singing it over and over again late one afternoon as I hung out in my backyard with my best friend at the time.  It was okay, though, because she liked the song, too.  Soon enough, though, Seven and the Ragged Tiger came out and my best friend and I were spending more and more time watching MTV or spending the night at each other’s houses on Friday nights so that we could stay up to watch Friday Night Videos.  At that time, Duran was on constant rotation and certainly the Reflex got played over and over and over and over and over.  We probably saw it thousands of times and that was just in 1984.  To say that we became addicted is an understatement.  We were so addicted, in fact, that I remember how we would call each other up each and every time it aired.  I remember so many times that I would call her while I was setting the table for dinner as the small black and white TV in the kitchen showed the video.

What was it about the song and/or the video?  I remember trying to analyze the lyrics with my friend.  We couldn’t figure it out, which we liked.  It seemed different and made us feel a little smarter.  The video, on the other hand, was all about John Taylor.  While we thought everyone looked good in the video, John caught our attention and hasn’t freed me yet.  That look of his in that video is pretty famous with the blonde bangs, the leather pants, the white jazz shoes.  Perhaps, more importantly, the way he looked into the camera felt like he was looking right at us.  Another element of the video that I remember focusing on was the crowd.  The images of the fans looking cool, rocking out and screaming for the band burned in my head.  The desire to go to a show was born in that video.  Obviously, that still lives on with me to this day as well.  The bigger issue, though, was that it was something I shared with my best friend.  We got excited together.  We squeed together at those essential John Taylor moments.  It created a bond.  Interestingly enough, our brand new fandom put us against the common grain where we lived.

At that time, Michael Jackson was the be all and end all.  Break dancing was common and Duran Duran was made fun of on a daily basis at lunch.  My friend and I spent our time at school defending Duran Duran.  By the time We Are the World came out, I was ready to declare war.  I kept trying, with no luck, to explain that this American song had copied the idea from Band-Aid.  The kids at school wouldn’t hear it.  I tried everything I could to prove that Duran was better.  No luck.  By the fall of 1985, I had moved to a new town.  This small town, unlike the suburbs, had no MTV and no Top 40 radio.  The kids didn’t know who Duran was and certainly didn’t care to find out.  My reaction to all of this was simple.  I held on to my fandom and wouldn’t let go.  While I’m absolutely sure that part of this was my love of the band, part of it was my need to cling to my old home and to my best friend who I missed terribly.  By 1986, I was ready for Notorious and tried to share my excitement with her once again.  She had already moved on.  Things had already changed.  Yet, my fandom remained and continues to this day.  Why does fandom live on?  Anniversaries like this one make me think back to when I fell in love with Duran in the first place but they also make me think about why I stay.  That’s the topic for tomorrow.  Until then, I would love to hear your coming out as a fan story!  When, why and how did you become a fan?

-A

9 thoughts on “Duran Anniversary Part One”

  1. Wow… that was an interesting story, my dear amazing historian!
    My fandom started in early August in the year when the Reflex clip was released. I was fascinated by the waterfall…. then I could “see” the rest in it… LOL… ahem.
    My first love was Roger, but then he left and “replaced” him with Simon until 2004, today I'm a Rog fan, but I still love Simon.
    I think the most intense years of my fandom were the ones when I was in my coma: 1991-1995.
    I love all of their 3 guitarists: at heart I'm an Andy's fan, but I hate being pushed to see differences in the 3 guys as I do respect the all of them.
    Oh, I said Rog fan, Simon's but everyone is talented and is part of the engine. Today who I feel the “most distant” from me is Nick.
    It's just the … intro of the story of my fandom, the best is still yet to come. hehe.. kidding.

  2. When I was in middle school my escape was in discovering new and different music. I lived in a small isolated town with not much social life, so I spent a lot of time exploring the record (yes, record) stores. I will never forget the first time I saw the white cover of Duran Duran- must have been 1983 (it was the version with Is There Something I Should Know). I took it home and parked myself in front of my parent's stereo with headphones on to listen. I will never forget the rhythm of Planet Earth or the creepy (in a good way) feeling I got listening to Nightboat. I was totally hooked! I loved to pick out the different instruments in each song (especially the bass, naturally) and focus on the patterns, the rhythms, and the structure of each song. Then quickly came Rio and staying up all night for Friday Night Videos. Good times! Thanks for the walk down Memory Lane – looking forward to hearing other's stories!

  3. My intro to Duran Duran music, resembles the “Falling Down” video, though it wasn't a detox center. In Sept. '83, when I was 11yrs old, my parents, on the advice of medical doctors put me in a mental hospital. I had spent the preceding month, and a half at a military medical hospital, because of a bone infection in my right elbow. While I was there I kept my natural sleep schedule ( ie. nocturnal ), which for some reason made the doctors think that there was something wrong with me mentally, so they suggested mental care. My parents were abusive alcoholics, and basically used this as an excuse to let someone else raise me for a while. The psychiatrist's eventual diagnosis was that I had a hot temper, and I was hyper active, ( ergo, a typical kid ). While I was there I was forced to listen to modern music, I say forced because at that time the only music I listened to was oldies rock, and had not willingly listened to new music since Dec. “80. Each week we got an hour of radio time, and we had to vote to see what station we listened to, so since I was the only kid to vote for oldies I was always out voted. The only reason I stayed to listen each week, was because I was raised on music, and I need it like I need air to breathe. So, it was during these weekly exposures to modern music that I first heard Duran Duran's song “Is There Anyone Out There?”. I loved this song from the first time I heard it, I could hear in the music just how much joy, and pleasure this band took in simply preforming their music. The song was beautifully wrought, and cleverly written, and I quickly realized that this was a band of intelligent young men, though I had as yet to learn anything about them. From the first time I heard that song to now, I have been a devoted fan, despite times when I was unable to learn about, or acquire new music by them. But even now, as it was then, my answer to their question, “Is There Anyone Out There?”, is still YES ! ! ! !

  4. Yeah, but the catching up on all of the music that I had missed during those 3yrs, was a pain in the butt. I recently put myself through 5yrs of self-analysis, after another much longer bout of depression (16yrs this time) and catching up so far has not gone so well. Though of course catching upon Duran Duran music has been of highest priority. Since the self-analysis, I have never felt better, and I am in a much happier place both mentally, and emotionally.

  5. I think I had a weird intro to Duran. I was 10 in 1982 and heard HLTW on the radio and saw it on MTV, although I wasn't a big MTV watcher at that point. I disliked the song and the video…but then I heard Rio on the radio. That was it. I was hooked! So it really was about the music for me…and then, bam! Save a Prayer…I was completely blown away by it. It was the most beautiful song I had ever heard…and to this day it bothers me that I'm a little sick of it (although that's waned as I've become older and more nostalgic…).
    During all of this, as I mentioned, I was watching very little of MTV. In fact, I think it was the famous “Rock 'n Wrestling” connection that turned me into a bigger MTV viewer in 1985, and by then Duran was on top of the world and View to a Kill was on heavy rotation.

    One other aspect to my intro to DD fandom: I didn't get my first cassette player until the summer of '85. So my only exposure was to the singles…my first two cassettes I bought w/ my panasonic dual cassette player were Rio and Arena…and of course SATRT and DD followed. So I kinda got deluged w/ all the non-singles in a very short time.

    The first DD album I bought when it actually came out was “Notorious” and I remember the video being on all the time and being so excited for it…so, although I was a fan from “Rio,” I feel like I didn't truly experience DD in “real time” until '86. Maybe that explains why I stayed w/ the group and didn't have as much of an issue w/ the changing lineups…

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