|Simon Le Bon|
|Birth name||Simon John Charles Le Bon|
|Born||27 October 1958|
Bushey, Hertfordshire, England. (age 61)
|Genres||New Wave, Rock, Alternative Rock|
|Instruments||Voice, acoustic guitar, jazz & blues harmonica, ocarina|
|Associated acts||Duran Duran|
Simon John Charles Le Bon (born October 27, 1958) is the lead singer and lyricist of the pop band Duran Duran. He was born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, England and was raised in and around London.
Upbringing[edit | edit source]
Le Bon was a member of the local church choir from a young age, but was also trained as an actor. He appeared in several amateur stage productions such as The King and I when he was 7, Bless the Bride with the Harrow light opera company, Little Lord Fauntleroy and A Man For All Seasons. Simon went to Pinner County Grammar School, the same high school that Elton John attended some years earlier. He worked as a theater porter at Northwick Park Hospital accident and emergency, and also auditioned for a punk band at Harrow College of Science and Technology. He appeared in a few television commercials and also in several theatre productions making his West End stage debut in Tom Brown's Schooldays, which premiered at the Cambridge Theatre in London (UK) on 9 May 1972. He worked on a kibbutz -- an Israeli collective community -- in the Negev desert in Israel in 1978, and then returned to England to attend drama school at the University of Birmingham.
Simon first performed with a punk band called Dog Days when he was 17, at one gig they were fourth on the bill and were not allowed to play on the stage, they had to play on the floor!. Simon also sang with Bolleaux - a pub style R&B band, Eddie and the Hotrods - a rock band and a Electro punk band called Rov Ostrov before meeting the fledgling band Duran Duran.
Duran Duran[edit | edit source]
Duran Duran had been founded by childhood friends John Taylor and Nick Rhodes along with singer/songwriter Stephen Duffy in 1978, but Duffy left a year later, convinced they weren't going anywhere. The band had been through a long succession of lineup changes since Duffy's departure, but had recently settled on a guitarist and drummer. The band had a powerful pop sound flavored with disco, funk, and electronics, built on a solid rock rhythm section, and all they needed was a charismatic singer with a distinctive voice.
Le Bon's ex-girlfriend Fiona Kemp (a barmaid at the Rum Runner nightclub where Duran Duran was rehearsing) introduced him to the band in May of 1980, recommending him as a potential vocalist. As band legend has it, he turned up for the audition wearing pink leopard-print trousers, and carrying a notebook containing a large collection of poetry he had written - some of which would later become tracks on the early Duran Duran albums. After listening to the songs the band had already composed together, Le Bon spent some time fitting one of his poems ("Sound of Thunder") to one of the instrumentals, and found they had a good match. Le Bon agreed to "try [Duran Duran] out for the summer" and his first show was on the 16 July 1980 at the Rum Runner club in Birmingham. Within six weeks the band was playing steadily around Birmingham and London, and a national tour supporting Hazel O'Conner led to a record deal with EMI Records in December. Le Bon never returned to his acting career.
The band's first album, Duran Duran, was released in 1981, and they quickly shot to fame as part of the New Romantic movement. Three more albums followed in quick succession: Rio (1982), Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983) and Arena (1984). Each album release was accompanied by heavy media promotion and a lengthy concert tour. By mid-1984, the band was ready for a break. Duran Duran's only other work that year was an appearance on the 1984 Band Aid charity single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?.
Family[edit | edit source]
That year, Le Bon wooed the young fashion model Yasmin Parvaneh after seeing her face in a magazine and phoning her modelling agency to track her down. They married on December 27, 1985 and Yasmin Le Bon has gone on to enjoy a supermodel career of unusual longevity-- more than twenty years. After suffering two miscarriages, the couple had three daughters: Amber Rose Tamara Le Bon (born August 25, 1989), Saffron Sahara Le Bon (born September 25, 1991) and Tallulah Pine Le Bon (born September 10, 1994).
Yachting[edit | edit source]
While Duran Duran was on hiatus in 1985, Le Bon drew media attention when his maxi-yacht Drum lost her keel and capsized during the Fastnet race, just off Falmouth, along the southern coast of Cornwall. Before being rescued, Le Bon and other crew members were trapped underwater, inside the hull, for forty minutes. Despite the accident, Le Bon and Drum went on to participate in the 1985-1986 Whitbread Round The Race coming in third overall in elapsed time. Le Bon and his partners eventually sold Drum; the events surrounding Drum and the races were chronicled in a 1989 movie entitled Drum - The Journey Of A Lifetime.
Twenty years after his accident, in 2005, Le Bon made public his desire to race again. During a touring hiatus in August 2005, Le Bon again raced Drum in the Fastnet race, borrowing the vessel from her current owner to participate, and raising funds for the RNLI charity. Unfortunately, Le Bon had to leave the race unfinished, as light winds were slowing Drum (and Drum's competitors), and would have delayed the boat's arrival at Plymouth, interfering with Le Bon's obligation to perform in Japan at a sold-out, 60,000-seat show.
Arcadia[edit | edit source]
Before Duran Duran reunited, Le Bon formed the band Arcadia with fellow Duran Duran members Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor. Arcadia released only one album, the multi-platinum So Red The Rose (1985), and the band never toured.
Duran Duran again[edit | edit source]
Following the departures of Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor, Le Bon, Rhodes, and John Taylor continued on as Duran Duran, recording and releasing Notorious (1986), Big Thing (1988), and Liberty (1990), but the band's success had begun to wane in the late 1980s.
Duran Duran had a resurgence in popularity in 1993 with The Wedding Album. Several months into the intensive concert tour supporting this album, Le Bon suffered from strained vocal cords, and the tour was postponed for six weeks while he recovered.
In 1995, Duran Duran released the covers album Thank You, and Le Bon had the chance to cover some of his favorite artists, (Jim Morrison, Lou Reed, and Elvis Costello), but the album was severely panned by critics from all quarters. That year Le Bon also performed Duran Duran's 1993 hit "Ordinary World" with opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti during a "Children of Bosnia" benefit concert for War Child.
When bassist John Taylor left the band in 1997, Le Bon and Rhodes remained as the only two members who had been with Duran Duran from the beginning. The following two albums without any Taylors, Medazzaland (1997) and Pop Trash (2000) were not commercial successes.
In 2001, Duran Duran's original five members reunited to record a new album, "Astronaut", for Epic Records. "Astronaut" was released worldwide on 11 October, 2004. The album was preceded by the single "(Reach Up For The) Sunrise", their first UK Top 10 single for a decade.
Solo excursions[edit | edit source]
While Le Bon has been in Duran Duran for the band's entire history, he has also dabbled in solo outings. In 1985, for the Whitbread Round The World Race, he contributed a song entitled "Grey Lady Of The Sea" (released as a single in Japan in 1988) and narrated a video of that year's race called Drum - The Journey Of A Lifetime (1987).
In 1989, for Jonathan Elias' Requiem For The Americas project, Le Bon contributed "Follow In My Footsteps", with Susanna Hoffs on background vocals. The track was released on 7" single in Italy that year.
In 1991 Simon and Nick form the record production company SYN Productions.
In 1998,along with friend Nick Wood and wife Yasmin, he set up SYN Entertainment (Simon Yasmin Nick) in Tokyo, Japan. Having first conceived the idea in 1988, Le Bon is currently described as SYN's "Founder and Chairman", while Wood is "Founder, President and Creative Director".
In 2000, SYN Entertainment founded SYN Records which has released a number of compilations, some of which have included contributions by Le Bon. Another solo track, "Dreamboy", was featured on the SYN-released soundtrack to the Mario Van Peebles movie Love Kills.
In 2005, Le Bon participated in the Live 8 concert in Rome with Duran Duran.
In October 2005 Dutch trance DJ Ferry Corsten released the track "Fire", with vocals by Simon Le Bon. It was a remix of the lesser known Duran Duran single Serious, from the album Liberty. (full credits: Ferry Corsten feat. Simon Le Bon - Fire (Flashover remix), on Flashover Recordings)
In late 2006, Simon became a member of Shinzou Sound, and took part in the Japan-based online manga project, Synesthesia, by co-writing the theme song "Nobody Knows" along with Nick Wood. Shinzou Sound is a group of creative collaborators specializing in manga, music, web design, and popular culture. They joined forces with the simple concept of merging their talents in an effort to deliver the new entertainment of music and manga in an innovative way. Exclusive songs, inspired by the manga story were commissioned from international and Japanese DJ's, and the story was launched in fortnightly episodes on the Net, with the individual songs available free through iTunes Japan.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Le Bon attended Birmingham University at the same time as Blancmange lead singer Neil Arthur. This fact came up during a Smash Hits interview of Blancmange done by Chris Heath. According to Arthur, Le Bon recognized his old university classmate immediately upon running into him backstage at a Top of the Pops taping, and the two met up for a drink and friendly chat.
- As a teenager, he was a next-door neighbor to actor Derek Fowlds.
- In addition to providing lead vocals, Le Bon also plays the acoustic guitar for the live versions of Save A Prayer and Leave A Light On, the harmonica which is heard during Is There Something I Should Know?, a tambourine during the live version of New Religion as seen in Live from London and an Ocarina during The Chauffeur.
Discography[edit | edit source]
- 1971 - Simon Le Bon, First Record with the Church organist in Pinner.
- 1972 - Soundtrack, Tom Brown's Schooldays
- 1980 - Hazel O'Conner, "Time" (vocals on "Suffragette City")
- 1981 - Duran Duran, Duran Duran
- 1982 - Duran Duran, Rio
- 1983 - Duran Duran, Seven and the Ragged Tiger
- 1984 - Duran Duran, Arena
- 1984 - Sister Sledge, "Lost In Music" (backing vocals)
- 1985 - Arcadia, So Red the Rose
- 1986 - Duran Duran, Notorious
- 1988 - Duran Duran, Big Thing
- 1988 - Simon Le Bon, "Grey Lady Of The Sea"
- 1989 - Compilation, Requiem For The Americas ("Follow In My Footsteps")
- 1989 - Duran Duran, Decade: Greatest Hits
- 1990 - Duran Duran, Liberty
- 1990 - Compilation, SYN Sampler
- 1993 - Duran Duran, The Wedding Album
- 1995 - Duran Duran, Thank You
- 1996 - Luciano Pavarotti, Pavarotti & Friends: Together For The Children Of Bosnia
- 1996 - Compilation, Nescafe Excella: Sounds of Summer
- 1996 - Nile Rodgers, "Do That Dance"
- 1997 - Duran Duran, Medazzaland
- 1997 - Hideaki Matsuoka, Eyes Of The Einstein Zoo (co-writer)
- 1997 - Tony Hadley, Tony Hadley (vocals)
- 1998 - Duran Duran, Greatest
- 1998 - Simon Le Bon, "Dreamboy"
- 1998 - Simon Le Bon, "Already Gone"
- 1999 - Chic, Chic: Live At The Budokan (Japanese version)
- 2000 - Duran Duran, Pop Trash
- 2001 - Nick Wood - Passion (co-writer)
- 2002 - Compilation, From The Heart
- 2002 - Norico, Lovely World (co-writer)
- 2003 - The Dandy Warhols, Welcome To The Monkey House (backing vocals)
- 2004 - Zwei, Pretty Queen (co-writer)
- 2004 - Beautiful Small Machines, Simple Joys (vocals)
- 2004 - Compilation, The Square by the Hilton Tokyo Bay
- 2004 - Duran Duran, Astronaut
- 2005 - Zwei, Z (co-writer)
- 2006 - Simon Le Bon, "Nobody Knows"
- 2007 - Compilation, Songs & Scores
- 2007 - Duran Duran, Red Carpet Massacre
- 2008 - Compilation, Cafe Bossa
- 2009 - tck tck tck, "Beds Are Burning" (vocals)
- 2010 - Mark Ronson & The Business Intl., Record Collection (co-writer, vocals)
- 2010 - Duran Duran, All You Need Is Now
- 2014 - Soundtrack, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part. 1 (vocals on "Kingdom")
- 2015 - Duran Duran, Paper Gods
- 2016 - Simon Le Bon & Nick Wood, "Eiffel Tower"
Film and TV credits[edit | edit source]
- 1986 - Disney's Living Seas
- 1988 - Drum - The Journey Of A Lifetime
- 1998 - Love Kills ("Dreamboy")
- 1999 - Hunting Venus
- 2009 - High Altitude: Series 1, Episode 7
Books[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
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