Tag Archives: Stephen Duffy

Classic Pop Special Edition: The Mark of Greatness and Swimming Against…

Today marks the second to last blog about the Classic Pop magazine special edition for Duran Duran’s 40th Anniversary.  In this blog, I’ll cover two articles:  The Mark of Greatness and Swimming Against the Tide.  The first one focuses on the 2010s including the band’s work with Mark Ronson while the second one is all about Stephen Duffy, the guy who could have been lead singer.

The Mark of Greatness:

Right away, this article made me think.  The author describes how All You Need Is Now made a lot of fans happy in 2011 bu that Paper Gods helped to “turn the heads of those youngsters.”  Interesting.  How do they know that?  What evidence will be shared, I wondered.  Of course, I love Paper Gods but…I am not sure that I see a lot of kids or younger adults into it.

The article describes the making of AYNIN with the band meeting with Mark ahead of time to discuss the vision for the project.  This got me wondering.  Is that not the case of the rest of the albums?  I have always heard/read about how the band goes into the studio and jams until something rises to the surface.  That system seems the opposite of having a vision.  Which is better?  I, for one, loved how AYNIN turned out so maybe planning is?

According to the article, that vision went so far with All You Need Is Now that Ronson had created rules that were stuck to the walls of the studio in order for the band to follow them.  I had never heard that before but I have to admit that the image makes me smile.  No matter how experienced, people need reminders.  Mark claimed that he was a “mouthpiece for 10 million Duran Duran fans.”  He definitely was for me, which I will always be grateful!

Of course, the rest of the album discussion surrounding AYNIN included a song by song description with all of the various contributions from Kelis to Nina Hossain and more.  I will tell you this much.  Reading about All You Need Is Now definitely made me want to put that album on and listen to it.  I remembered how amazing an album it really is (at least in my opinion!).

The article does touch on promotional activities including the band’s appearance for One Night Only in the UK to Unstaged, a concert film produced by David Lynch.  It does mention about how the tour stopped in the summer of 2011 due to Simon’s vocal loss but then matter-of-factly states that the tour resumed in November (I think actually was October) like it was no big deal.  Maybe, in hindsight, it seems like no big deal but it was huge to those of us who lived through that time.  I know that I was not the only one worried that Simon had lost his voice for good and that Duran would be done.

From there, the article goes into the making of Paper Gods.  That said, the vast majority of this piece surrounded AYNIN.  Is Paper Gods too soon?  Historians might say so but music journalists?  Not sure on that one.  Likewise, I’m not sure that the article proved that millennials really bought into Paper Gods.  Some did, for sure.  Many?  I don’t know.

Swimming Against the Tide…:

This article did what I expected it to do.  It gave a little background about Stephen Duffy then dived into information about the Devils before describing some of his various projects over the years.  I, for one, haven’t listened to a lot of his work.  How about the rest of you? Have you listened to his stuff?  What do you think of it?

In the article, he makes reference to the 40th anniversary.  I wonder if he and other former members would be included.  Now, Stephen Duffy is not very controversial but what about the ones that are?  Then, I wonder about how they would be included or should be.  It will be interesting to watch.

-A

Dark Circles Come Alive

Everywhere I look, there are forlorn Duranies, hoping for something new.  Many “veteran” Duran fans know that it is likely to be many more months before we hear the sweet chords of new music. We’ve settled in, recognizing the long haul in front of us. We try to use the time to catch up other favorite bands, see other tours, and expand our horizons.

Or so we all say, right?

Invariably, when we are between albums, I start pulling out music I haven’t listened to in a while. At at least I would be, if my music hadn’t been packed away and put in a storage facility about three hours from me. Oh, the joys of moving.

In any case, my music suggestion for today is The Devils!

I’m sure many of you have heard of them before, but nearly any time I write about them, at least one Duranie will write in, completely flabbergasted. Take a giant step back in time, before “Hungry Like the Wolf”, and even before Simon stepped in as vocalist.

The very first manifestation of Duran Duran included Nick Rhodes on keyboards, John Taylor on guitar, and Stephen Duffy (The Lilac Time) on vocals. Simon Colley also participated, sharing bass duties with Stephen Duffy.  Simon Colley also played my personal favorite instrument – the clarinet! (Who knew Duran Duran once had a clarinet player?!) This group played together for about a year before Stephen Duffy and Simon Colley left the group. (Crushing my future dreams of seeing a clarinet player tour with Duran Duran, I might add)

According to Wikipedia, Stephen Duffy found an old cassette from one of their shows. He and Nick worked together to release an album’s worth of material under the name The Devils, and even played a couple of live shows back in the early 2000s. Simply put, Dark Circles is an audio history of Duran Duran. If you don’t have it in your library yet, you should find it!

One of the songs from this album, “Come Alive” was remixed (Tiga Swears Lies Remix) and appeared on Headman Dance Modern, Eskimo Records, Belgium, released on this date in 2004.

So, if you haven’t heard of The Devils, or haven’t had time to check out the music before – here’s your chance to catch up! Click the link to grab an import copy from Amazon.

 

Happy Listening!

-R

Happy Birthday Stephen Duffy!

On this date in 1960, Stephen Duffy was born. Now, some of you might be wondering why on earth I am bothering to mention this today, and that’s OK. Not every Duran Duran fan is aware of it’s very beginnings…so I’m going to use this as a Duran Duran 101 teaching moment.

Let’s all step into the time machine and head back to Duran Duran’s beginnings. Back before Andy came back, way before Warren stepped in, and even before Simon showed up to sign in pink leopard print pants. Stephen Duffy was in fact one of the first members of Duran Duran. He started out as vocalist, also penning lyrics and playing bass (yes, BASS), while John was on guitar (that’s right, at first John played guitar).  It wasn’t long before Simon Colley joined the band and took over on bass, and then Stephen moved over to drums.

Stephen was only in Duran Duran for about a year before he left, well before Duran Duran was signed to EMI.  Stephen went on to form Tin Tin (amongst a few other variations), and in the 80’s released the song “Kiss Me”. It is this song that most people recognize from him, although I am sure there are others.  See the original video for the song below,

 

Much later, Stephen and Nick came together as The Devils to work on a CD that is essentially the music that led up to Duran Duran as we know it. For the historical value alone, it is worth including in your collection if you don’t already have it. (and it is good music, too)

Happy Birthday Stephen Duffy!!

-R