This week in 1980, Duran Duran were finishing up a tour supporting Hazel O’Connor with shows in Leeds, Norwich, and the grand finale at the Dominion Theatre in London on December 6th. It was during this run of shows when war broke out amongst the record labels for the band’s signature. After that London show, the band would sign to EMI and record their debut album. Life would never be the same again.
For those fans lucky enough to see them before they graduated to a major label and started headlining clubs, it must have been a special time. The band would have been a lot more accessible and the sheer energy of a band about to break feels like the undertow of a giant wave about to rise up from the ocean. I imagine that a lot of people at the shows were there to see Hazel O’Connor and left with a new favourite band. It has happened to me more than a few times!
One show that has stayed with me a long time was The Killers supporting Stellastarr* in April of 2004 at a bar in Denver, CO. At the time, The Killers had just released “Somebody Told Me” but there wasn’t a lot known about them. I mistakenly assumed they were from England because they reminded me of New Order with a hint of Duran Duran. They played with an energy and determination that made it clear where they wanted to go. There was no denying that the band had the frontman and the hooks to make it huge. And they did.
On Sunday, I was lucky enough to end up on a radio show discussing Duran Duran and other 1980s bands. As I arranged the songs for the show, I realized how quickly it happened for bands like Duran Duran. From supporting Hazel at the end of 1980 to becoming the stars of MTV a little over a year later, time was moving faster than light (hehe). For the most part, the energy and excitement of the Second British Invasion was starting to wane by the end of 1985.
I’ll leave you with a taste of that final Duran Duran show supporting Hazel O’Connor in 1980. And if you need an 80s fix this week, you can stream a replay of my radio show here. I snuck three Duran Duran songs into the show and talk about our Daily Duranie leaders Amanda and Rhonda a few times.