Duran Duran was awarded an MTV EMA last night in Milan, Italy. The award was given in the new category of “Video Visionary”, and Duran Duran were the first recipients.
In a statement released by the band prior to the ceremony, Duran Duran embraced the award with pride, “It is no coincidence that our rise was paralleled by the growth and ultimate world domination of MTV. The birth of music videos as a way to simultaneously bring our music to a global audience revolutionized the business. We took this new short form of film making and tried to make it our own. We have had some incredible experiences over the years making our videos. We have worked with some of the most talented directors in the world – without whom we would not be honored here today. We are really proud to be the recipients of this new award. Thank you MTV.”
In August of 1981, as MTV was first broadcast, I wasn’t even quite yet a teenager. I’d already heard Duran Duran on my local KROQ radio station and first fell in love with them because of their music. I can’t remember the exact year MTV was actually broadcast in my small(ish) town of Covina, California (and it very well could have been that same year)- but I do know that when it began, Duran Duran were on heavy rotation, and I spent much of my time watching the channel, waiting for videos by Duran Duran and other bands I enjoyed to be shown. MTV continued to open a door to an entirely whole new world of escapism to me, Little Miss Sheltered Teenager. It wasn’t just about the music, it was the entire art – music and visual – brought to life, and I loved every minute.
Later, as tastes changed, and the MTV programming took a turn for the worse, and then coasted down into even much worse, I stopped watching. I prefer not to even give the network a passing glimpse now – an empty shell of what it once was. As much as I am immensely proud that Duran Duran was recognized last night, I am somewhat amused that MTV continues to have awards shows, given that they dropped the “Music” from the name years ago and the fact that they no longer even play music videos. How do they even have enough credibility to honor anyone?!? Perhaps that’s actually the point. Even more frightening, many of the acts they awarded last night are completely unaware that the channel ever played an integral part in music history, unless they’ve bothered to pick up a music history book along the way. That’s alarming.
I didn’t watch the highlights show that was on MTV here in the US last night. I DVR’ed it, figuring that if I heard the band made an appearance on the air – I’d watch. Sadly, even with a two-hour “highlights” show and the first award given out in a brand new category, MTV didn’t find Duran Duran to be relevant enough to be televised, at least not here. However, I did find that it had been televised in other countries, so I am including a clip here that I found on Facebook (thank you to the Duran Duran Argentina board)
I am so incredibly proud of Duran Duran, and not for just the obvious things. They continue to have a fantastic career and they keep pushing themselves to do more, even when I suppose they could just stop and rest on their laurels (please don’t!). I don’t think I’m unlike any other fan out there when I wish rather loudly that they were more respected by their peers. I was one of those teenage fans who screamed for them and hung their posters lovingly on the walls of my bedroom. I also scoured their albums, knew each of their songs note-by-note, and still work to learn as much about their recording process and production as possible. Yes, I was a fangirl. To a large extent, I suppose I still am, among many other titles I also own with pride. To equate an entire fan base as well as a band with not really mattering simply because they had a large female following continues to be an insult that myself and many others like me will keep fighting, because it simply is not true.
Eventually, Duran Duran WILL be respected purely because they cannot be ignored. History will lean heavily on the side of the band. In time that is far too long for my taste, music books will be written about the mark this band left, and continues to leave, on rock and pop history. Until then, they have the outpouring of pride, love, and affection from all of us who have stood beside them for the past thirty-plus years. Well done on your MTV EMA, boys. Very well done.