List of Duran Firsts and Achievements
Duran Duran have often broken new ground over the generations they have performed together. Here are just a few of the Firsts and Achievements to date.
- 1980-present - Sold more than 100 million records across the globe. They’ve scored 30 top 20 singles in their native UK, as well as 21 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. (Source).
*(Note: Many sources claim only 70 Million in authenticated record sales, but these records do not include South America, or even some Eastern European countries (like Switzerland, Austria), as the record sales for some countries only became official in the 1990's. These figures also ignore online sales, and digital downloads on i-tunes etc - around 30M online sales since 2005.).
- 1980-2007 - Albums and singles combined, they hit Number 1 in the charts 37 times. (Again, not counting South America). (source).
- 1980-present - The band have performed over 1,429 concerts and shows, according to Setlist FM. Hungry Like The Wolf is the most played song. (Stats Source), (Complete concert list).
- 1980/1981? - Invented the Arena Tour; with a screen mounted behind the stage showing video clips. Before this, bands had played Stadiums and Theatres but the idea of playing Arenas with huge video screens was brand new.
- 1980/1981? - Pioneered the use of 'found sound' samples within pop music. Examples include the Nikon Camera used at the start of Girls on Film, rattling keys, sampled laughter, and even a clip from a wildlife documentary during The Chauffeur. The use of sampling goes back to The Beatles again with their backwards birdsong on Tomorrow Never Knows, but this technology was largely forgotten until the Fairlight CM came along as the very first commercial sound sampler in the world. Duran Duran were there at the very start of the modern sampling revolution; which was unheard of back then, but today is commonplace.
- 1981/1984 - Pioneered the MTV video scene, with exotic videos for HLTW, Rio, and Save a Prayer. Before this, videos were often not part of the album making process, and most bands didnt bother with videos until DD came along. Suddenly people started to experiment with videos, and MTV took off. They didnt invent the music video format, but just like The Beatles and Queen, they took the development of the Music Video to the next level. The release of their first album was virtually simultaneous with the launch of MTV.
- 1981-2006 - Longest sustained fan Mania / Screaming / Hysteria for a pop band, in history. Most fans scream at bands they see on the stage, but maintaining a constant hysteria has happened to few bands. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Bay City Rollers, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Take That might have had fans screaming at them for 5 years or so, but non of those musicians endured 25 years of almost constant hysteria; with fans trying to rip their cloths off. Runner up on this list is Michael Jackson, 1979-1993, with 14 years of hysteria.
- 1981-present - Duran Duran have been Banned from the BBC at least 3 times, usually because of swearing.
- 1981-present - Their material has been Banned or Censored several times.
* 1981 - The original Girls on Film raunchy video created an uproar, and it was consequently banned by the BBC and heavily edited for MTV.
* 1983 - The first issue of Is There Something I Should Know? single was withdrawn, and a new version of Faith In This Colour is produced, this time without using Star Wars samples.
* 1983 - The band start to be banned from hotels around the world, but particularly in LA and New York, as fans camp outside of hotels; screaming, singing, chanting, and banging drums all night.
* 1987 - Skin Trade had its sleeve banned in several countries, as it featured an airbrushed naked female buttock.
* 1995 - Ball of Confusion. They censored the 'F-word' from their song before release.
* 1997 - Electric Barbarella. MTV, VH1 and the BBC refuse to air the Electric Barbarella video, on the grounds of decency. They insist cuts are made.
* 1997 - Radio station across America refuse to play the new single Electric Barbarella, especially in the South, because of the subject matter.
* 2007 - Falling Down. UK newspaper The Mirror prints the story that the semi-nude version of the Falling Down video has been banned. It will now not be shown to the public.
- 1982 - My Own Way is the first video to feature an animal performing with a band, and is only the second music video in history to feature a live animal, in this case, a parrot. Animals may have been seen in the background of music videos before, but this is the first time an animal has 'performed on stage' as part of a live act. The first music video to feature an animal was of course Penny Lane; where The Beatles ride horses.
- 1982 - Inspired the Rambo headband. Yes its true! In interviews, Silvester Stallone was asked where the headband idea came from. He said "Well, the head band idea came from a video I saw of a British pop group on TV; while I was in a bar during the first week of shooting [Rambo]. They were a bunch of guys, and they were all wearing headbands. I thought 'Thats a neat idea', and I thought it made the character more macho and tough." Footage of this interview is no longer on youtube. He didnt say it was Duran Duran, but given Spandau Ballet ripped off the headband idea from DD, it seems the trail as to who started this idea leads back to Duran. In a further twist to this story, Ralph Macchio (who played Daniel in The (1984) Karate Kid movie) said he wanted a headband to be like Rambo. Head bands were not common in Kung-Fu movies until this point, as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan never wore one, but today they are in Kung-Fu Panda and all the others. Similarly, Arnold Schwarzenegger wore a large head band in Conan The Barbarian (1982) which was cut back to a simpler design by Conan The Destroyer (1984). The idea of Tough Guys wearing head bands in movies seems to have originated in the early 1980s, where before this they only appear in Japanese samurai movies. The head band itself was invented as the Sweat Band, by British tennis player Fred Perry. To this day, many Argentinians wear red headbands at Duran Duran concerts.
- 1982/1983? - Inspired the 1980s two-tone with one side swept back hairstyles. (Example). Simons hair inspired UK Princess Diana's hairstyles. (Example).
- 1982-present - Have had their own comic strips, cosmetic lines, action figures, line of perfume, manga animations, and Funko characters made in their likenesses.
- 1983 - First use of CGI in a commercial music video. The Reflex is the first music video to be produced with the help of a computer. Effects include computer generated static, and at one point, a waterfall appears to pour out of the video screen above the stage to soak the audience. The computer graphics used to achieve this were cutting edge at the time, but rapid advancement in the field quickly made the effect look dated. (Source).
- 1984 - The band awarded the very first Grammy Award for Best Music Video, for Girls on Film and Hungry Like the Wolf. (Source).
- 1985 - A View to a Kill is the first (and so far only) James Bond theme to hit No.1 in the charts. The song peaked at No.1 in 7 countries around the globe, and became a top 4 smash hit in 14 countries - reaching no.2 in the UK, and No.1 in the USA. (Source). It is probably the most covered James Bond theme of all time, and is the most played live: - the band themselves having played it 747 times to date (Oct 7th 2021)(Jet-Setters!) (Source).
- 1986-present - Sprog spawn list (to date). The band members have spawned 12 children, many of whom are daughters!
Simon 3 daughters, Andy 3 daughters, Nick and John both have 1 daughter. Roger has four children; Ellea, Julian, Elliot and James. Non-member Dominic Brown also has one child - a daughter!.
- 1987 - The band is the second White act to appear on Black American TV Show Soul Train, after Spandau Ballet.
- 1993 - Duran is one of the first Western bands to play in South Africa after the fall of apartheid
- 1995 - Released (perhaps second ever?) scented Scratch and Sniff Single cover for Perfect Day; which smelled of strawberries. Only a handful of musicians have released Scratch and Sniff album covers previously; including Stevie Wonder, Ringo Starr, The Dammed and Pete Tosh. I found one 12" scented single, and one other 7" scented single - Strawberry Letter by The Brothers Johnson in 1977. Duran Duran may hold the title of second ever scented 7" Single sleeve in history?
- 1997- First Commercial Digital Download. Electric Barbarella single available for download in Liquid Audio format from the Capitol Records website for 99¢. (Note: Although music had been available to buy digitally independently on the internet since 1992.)
- 1993 - Awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They appear among a very small number British artists, including: The Beatles, Phil Collins and Queen.
- 2000 - Video for Someone Else Not Me is the first music video created entirely in Macromedia Flash animation, by web design firm.
- 2001 - After repeated delayed landings for bad weather, the crew of the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis are awakened with a broadcast of Duran's "Hold Back the Rain" (it worked -- the weather cleared and the shuttle landed safely).
- 2004 - Their music has been played on Mars. Is There Something I Should Know? was featured on Day 11 of the Opportunity Rover investigation of the surface of the planet Mars. However, as Opportunity wasnt the first Mars rover, the Duran song is more likely the 33rd song ever played; on the same date as "Back In The Saddle Again" by Gene Autry, on the Sprit Rover. Duran are arguably the 11th British band to have a song played on Mars, behind the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Elton John and Phil Collins. (Source).
- 2006 - First approved commercial music in a podcast. John and Nick launch the UK Guardian newspaper’s Film & Music Podcast series. This mini-podcast-within-a-podcast makes UK media history, becoming the first time music from the major record labels and music publishers has been officially approved for use in a podcast.
- 2008 - The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is built and managed by the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center, sends the names Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor and John Taylor to the moon.
- Various Lifetime Achievement awards, Icons of style award (Italy), honoured in Spain (2005?)
- 2021 - Five Years video is a first of its kind, with the virtual reality team painting ethereal imagery using Tiltbrush, and then, using the Unity game engine, put it all in a timeline for the crew to merge with the imagery of the band. This is the first time anyone has ever shot each member of a band separately and then hand-painted a world in virtual reality around them.
- 2021 - Invisible video was created entirely by Huxley and was "untouched by human hands". The first time an artificial intelligence has 'dreamed' a music video into existence.
- 2021 - Anniversary video is the first to feature a large group of live celebrity impersonators in a music video. Several videos had featured one or two impersonators before, notably Two Tribes, but this was the first time a large number of live lookalikes had gathered to promote a song. This had already been done with puppets with Spitting Image's The Chicken Song (Watch).
- 2021 - „Future Past” becomes a term. The earliest pop culture reference of this term seems to be a 1987 movie of the same name, although the origin may have come from 18th Century poetry. The first album to be called "Future Past" was made by Duncan James in 2006. In 2021, the term (along with a line-dropped first quote), became popularised, and used in advertisements. Although not the original founders, Duran Duran commercialised the term, and crested the wave as it arrived (or was delivered) into popular conciousness.