Call It Paradise: Memorabilia

Jason Lent with Hard Rock Director of Memorabilia Chase McCue

Home to the world’s largest collection of rock-n-roll memorabilia, if anyone had some cool Duran Duran pieces, it had to be the Hard Rock, right? Their legendary “vault” full of music history sits in a nondescript warehouse not far from the company’s already iconic guitar-shaped hotel in Hollywood, FL. The amazing team that cares for this music collection invited me down to check out a few Duran Duran pieces and I took my camera!

Wow. As a life-long Duranie, well since I was 10 at least, holding the guitar from “Save A Prayer was an absolute rush of adrenaline. The band’s most watched video on YouTube remains an absolute masterpiece from the golden age of videos. Any fan of the band can picture the scenes vividly from the beach to the river, to atop a temple in Sri Lanka. Signed by Simon, and not John who plays it in the video, the signature includes a short message about how out of tune the guitar was for them. It is also decorated with different images from Simon that hints at the band’s history (check out the snake).

The most unexpected Duran Duran item in the Hard Rock’s astounding collection was a set list full of notes that was used by Nick Rhodes. Of course, it says “CLOTHES” at the top because Nick keeps his priorities in order. Being a massive fan of Big Thing and seeing that tour, I turned into a total geek analyzing this piece of Duran lore. The lyric notes for “Drug” were especially interesting! Of course, I looked up the song stats from the tour and then the show I saw in 1989 (Miami Arena). Wow, “Too Late Marlene” didn’t get played most nights but I was one of the lucky crowds that heard it. Holding that piece of memorabilia, I could almost feel myself back at that show that my father took me to.

Finally, I held one of the guitars Andy Taylor used in the 1980s. What?! Look, I am an Andy Taylor apologist. I firmly believe that Duran Duran would not have broken America without his six-string muscle. The band’s blend of funk, dance, and pop was built upon the rock-n-roll that runs in Andy’s veins. The weight of his guitar felt like tangible proof of his impact in music history. It was an electric moment.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the kind invitation from Hard Rock’s Director of Memorabilia, Chase McCue, and his rock-star team who pulled these items out of their massive vault. I’ve intentionally not looked up where other Duran Duran memorabilia resides in the Hard Rock Cafes and Hotels around the world. I want to be surprised when I find it; just like that rainy afternoon last year when I came across John Taylor’s bass hanging in the Hard Rock Hotel in London.

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