Revisiting the Past: Lead Singers

There were lead singers in Duran Duran before Simon LeBon.  I know it is shocking and horrifying!!!  Nonetheless, it is true.  The two that I’m aware of are Stephen Duffy and Andy Wickett.  This week saw a birthday for Stephen Duffy, which led to a brief discussion about which lead singer gave up his rights to some of the songs that he had been involved in writing.  It seems then that now would a good time to revisit who is who and who did what.

Andy Wickett was the lead singer after Stephen Duffy and joined the band in the summer of 1979.  He had previously been a member of the band, TV Eye.  During the time that Andy Wickett was the lead singer, the band recorded their first demos.  Here is one of those demos.  As you can tell, this one has a VERY familiar title!

Some of the other demos included Working the Steel, Reincarnation and See Me, Repeat Me, which was an extremely early version of Rio.

Andy Wickett wasn’t in the band long, though, as he left by late 1979.  By 1981, a legal agreement was made between the band and Andy.  As the band paid him some money for his rights of the song, Girls on Film.

Stephen Duffy, on the other hand, was the lead singer before Andy.  Unlike Andy, Stephen had more contact with the band after he left.  If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you might have read about his involvement in a little project known at the Devils, which you can read about here.

While neither lead singer lasted beyond 1979, both had some impact with the band.  Andy left the band with the skeleton elements of Girls on Film and Stephen impacted the early Duran sound.  I think it is good for us to know that other singers were around before Simon.  I can appreciate what they gave and then appreciate that Simon and the rest of the band found each other in 1980!

-A

*****Edited to add that there have been some Duranie alerts regarding US shows!  I wouldn’t be surprised if the other half of the Daily Duranie would cover some of this in tomorrow’s blog!*****************

8 thoughts on “Revisiting the Past: Lead Singers”

  1. If somebody ever had a doubt about the imput of Simon in the band you can see it right here! GOF was a very ordinary song and he transformed it into one of the biggest hits they had. Somehow it is very fascinating to see how this band had so many different memers over the years. But at the moment Simon was in they never changed really you can hear the spirit of Duran Duran on each album. Probably because the heart of DD is Nick and Simon.

    Pat

  2. I am uncomfortable with the idea that Nick and Simon are the “heart of DD”. So, John and Roger don't matter? Yes, obviously, both left, but…I still think they matter, especially John. He did start the band, after all.

    -A

  3. Amanda, never would I say that John isn't important, he is great as a musician and a cool guy, the same with Roger who has a unique style very organic. All of them together with Andy made what DD is. But for exemple when the formed Arcadia and Power Station, you could still perfectly feel DD in Arcadia and not into Power Station who went in a very different way. At the same time everyone left the boat except Nick and Simon (and not that so sure about Simon at one time). At the end Nick is probably the heart of DD, but of course what made them perfect is the combination of all them. They went into very different lineup but still the spirit of Duran Duran was there you can take Rio, Liberty, The Wedding album, Medazzaland, AYNIN, all very different albums and still you can tell that this is DD. Andy's style is very different from Warren's and Dom's (I still want to see more of Dom presence, guitar is way under use since he is there exception of Mediterranea), but they all integrate with the magic of Duran Duran's concept. But in those clip you offered it is obvious that something important was missing, and we can believe that Simon arrival give them the element that was missing. It was also fascinating to see how Wickett sing a lot like David Bowie. But never doubt I don't like John or Roger those guys ARE Duran Duran as much as Simon and NIck, I do believe that if they weren't gone at one time or having difficulties with life DD would have stand as popular as in the 80's much longer.

    Pat

  4. It's my opinion that it takes all of them to make up the band, and that they are no more the “same” when Andy left as they would be if it were Simon. I recognize that my opinion is in the minority on this one, but I truly believe it takes all 5 of them and that one is no more or less important than the others. Simon's instrument is his voice, and Roger's is the drums. If they got another drummer, I would absolutely notice the difference, and I did. I apologize to those who did not notice, but that doesn't mean the difference didn't exist. The same goes for the rest. I love Dom, everybody knows that. He also plays much differently than Andy, and his contribution changed the band, regardless of whether that's a positive or negative thing – because of course much of that is based on personal taste.

    I know the arguments well: Simon is the voice. Simon's soul is in the lyrics. No one sings like him. All truthful statements. However, I have seen more than one band continue on with different lead singers. In each case, the band changed, but it still continued on. Would it be the same? No. Nor was it the same when Steve Ferrone was on drums or Wes was on bass, or when Dom is on guitar. I suppose the difference for some is that they can shut their eyes and pretend that the band is the same as long as Simon is singing, and while I understand that – I think it shortchanges the rest of them. So no, I don't believe that Nick and Simon are the heart of DD. I think they ALL are. Present, past and future members alike. -R

  5. Love the Lilac Time, definately worth checking out if you aren't familiar and are interested in Stephen Tin Tin Duffy and what he did after DD.

  6. Well trying to get away from the more controversial aspects(I do think there can be a happy medium between “everyone is replaceable and none of them really matter any more than anyone else so long as you stick the name Duran Duran on it”, which imo is too extreme, and “only the ones who've always been there matter”, which is also too extreme), I do think it's not too much to say that Simon's presence improved upon Girls on Film. The lyrics are better. At least Simon's lyrics pay some lip service to the fact that maybe it kind of sucks to be the girls too. That's an almost incomplete sounding song as it was there, some good bones but it's like a bunch of sounds that don't sound bad but don't seem to really have anything binding them together.

    And it think it's fair to at least give Simon some credit for contributing to that. His sense of melody and harmony is mentioned in that Notorious book by a couple of people as being what made him seem like the right fit, it was almost immediately apparent he could strengthen an area they were weak in.

  7. All good points, and I don't think anyone here has trouble giving Simon credit and I don't think that's what Amanda intended by her comments (nor me by my own comments). He is a beautiful singer and has a gift for harmony that has become a Duran Duran trademarked sound at this point.

    Duran Duran wouldn't be the same as it is right now without each of them. I'm pretty sure we can all agree on that. 🙂 -R

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