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The Duran Duran Timeline
<< 1979 1980 1981 >>

Duran Duran begins its quest for fame in earnest as the band gains a pair of managers, a club gig at the Rum Runner, and a national tour with Hazel O'Connor. In December, the band signs a contract with EMI and begins recording their first album, the self-titled Duran Duran.

Date Event

Jan Duran brings their demo tapes to Paul and Michael Berrow at the Rum Runner, who hit it off very quickly with John and Nick.
Jan Paul & Michael agree to give the band rehearsal space at the Rum Runner, and book them for a few gigs.
Jan The band become resident band at The Rum Runner, 273 Broad Street, Birmingham. They earn £20 a night.
Jan John works the door at the Rum Runner; Nick deejays for £10 a night; Roger works as a glass collector (busboy), and polishes mirrors after hours.
Jan Warren forms Missing Persons with people missing from Frank Zappa's Band. Zappa singer Dale Bozzio, drummer (and ex-Zappa husband) Terry Bozzio, later joined by ex-Zappa bassist Patrick O'Hearn, and ex-Zappa keyboardist and composer Chuck Wild.
Feb 1 Fashion: Aston University, Birmingham, England (with Duran Duran, The Dumb Blondes).
Feb 16 Andy Taylor is 19 years old today.
Feb 18 Duran Duran: Nashville Room, London, UK.
Mar 12 Fashion: Rum Runner, Birmingham, UK (with Duran Duran).
Mar 25 Duran Duran: Holy City Zoo, Birmingham, UK.
? Andy returns from a European tour.
Spring The Beat (Band) films a video for their song "Mirror In The Bathroom" at the Rum Runner. (YT source).
spring Curtis and Thomas Leave after a few months of rehearsing. The Berrows disliked Thomas' vocals and Alan Curtis felt uneasy about the Berrows and didn't like either of them. Jeff Thomas never got along with Paul, so Alan and Jeff leave the band.
Apr 26 The band's advert for a "Live-Wire Guitarist" appears in the April 26th issue of Melody Maker music magazine. This is the legend, but in actual fact the wording of the ad reads: LEAD / RHYTHM GUITARIST (Ronson, Manzanera, Gilmour) Stylish / powerful / inventive to join band with financially strong management. (Image) The ad appears on page 42, in the left hand column.
Apr 26 Roger Taylor is 20 years old today.
Apr Late Andy answers the ad, then sells some of his belongings for a train ticket to Birmingham for the audition.
May 2 Andy impresses John with his guitar chops and Nick with his professional experience; he's told the singer's "on holiday" and is adopted into the band.
May 3 Andy begins polishing mirrors, painting and cooking burgers at the Rum Runner for cash; he floats among friends' couches and beds as he gets established in Birmingham.
May 4? Oliver Guy Watts is recruited as a singer, he lasted less than two weeks. (source).
May Roger works in a factory to make ends meet.
May The Berrows buy new keyboards for Nick, and a new bass for John.
May 8 Fiona Kemp, now a barmaid at the Rum Runner, recommends band to Simon, and vice versa.
May 10? Simon phones Michael Berrow, who arranges an audition with the band.
May 11 Simon auditions for the band, Sunday May 11th. Simon wears pink/maroon leopardskin trousers to his audition; he and the rest of the guys discuss favourite bands. John asked Simon if he had heard the latest Simple Minds album (Real to Real Cacophony) (YT source). Simon says "Nigel was skittish, nervous." "I was really attracted by the shocking fashion styles of Roger and Nick." (YT source (10:49)). Nick says "I thought anyone who looks that stupid and writes Rostrov on the front of his exercise book is positively the one. Although he sounded awful, like a choirboy!". Simon said about Nick: "I'd been told that he was a bit of a weirdo, so I was surprised on just how together he was. He did look weird though: he had a pink glazed cotton jacket and purple trousers on. And blonde hair - very, very, very blonde hair." (source). Roger said “It was the last straw. We thought we might never drop on the right one. Everyone we auditioned sounded like Rod Stewart or Gary Numan. But as soon as Simon walked in, 6ft tall, with his own style, with a lyric book – we knew." (source).
May 12 Simon returns for a second afternoon with the band. The band play "Amy a Go-Go" (Rio (song)), and look at Simon's exercise book with lyrics such as "Underneath The Clocktower","On A Dead Child", "Nightboat" and "The Chauffeur". They discover that Simon's poem "Sound of Thunder", which he'd co-written with Pete Johns, fits "virtually perfectly" on top of a song framework already on tape. The band played him the backing track twice, and Simon went home with it in his head, and worked on the song that night. (YT source (11:08)).
[NOTE - On A Dead Child, as the inspriation for Arcadia's Missing, is a poem by the Victorian poet Richard Middleton; so this entry is potentially suspect.]
May 12? Simon said that initially the Berrow Brothers didn't like him, but the rest of the band voted to let him stay. (source).
May 13 Simon sings the new lyrics for Sound of Thunder, and within half an hour the song was complete. They agree to try each other out for the summer. (YT source (11:08)).
June 4? The band prints tickets for their first show with Simon and Andy, for six weeks hence, July 16th.
Jun 8 Nick Rhodes is 18 years old today.
June Simon writes final lyric to "Tel Aviv" (later stripped down to an instrumental) and "Underneath the Clocktower" (never recorded).
June Duran Duran signs official management contract with Paul and Michael Berrow.
June The Berrows and the band form the Tritec Music company (named after the triangular-themed bar inside the Rum Runner club). It uses the Rum Runner office upstairs from the club as its official address.
June Mid John and Nick sit in the Rum Runner and lay out their plan for world domination:
  • Hammersmith Odeon by '82 (They first play there July 9, 1981);
  • Wembley Arena by '83 (They play five nights, December 18-23, 1983);
  • Madison Square Garden by '84 (They play two sold out dates, March 19 & 21, 1984).
Jun 20 John Taylor is 20 years old today.
? The old rivalry with the Subterranean Hawks appears again, as Stephen Duffy's band (now renamed to "The Hawks") release Words Of Hope / Sense of Ending on the Five Believers label. They also play Big Store, which was written with Duran Duran, about a Birmingham department store. (YT source (Words of Hope)), (YT source (Sense of Ending)), (YT source (Big Store)).
Jul 5 Simon goes to the Edinburgh Summer Festival to perform a show in The Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, Scotland. This is when he decides to become a front man in a band full time. (YT source).
According to Duran Duran: Their Story, this was the first show with the classic lineup, but John Taylor says the band never played this festival.

NOTE - whilst the date's not certain (& it's unlikely that there would have only have been one show), it's established that Simon had a prior commitment to a show at the Edinburgh Festival when joining Duran - so this is almost certainly where the confusion has come in.

Jul 16 Duran Duran: The Rum Runner, Birmingham, England
The first show with the classic lineup, per SLB. (Setlist), .
Jul 19 Duran Duran: Duran Duran: Cedar Club Ballroom, England
Tickets costing £1.50. (Image)
Jul 22 Duran Duran: The Holy City Zoo, Birmingham, England
Jul 25 The Crying Shames Featuring Andy Taylor release That's Rock 'N' Roll. This recording has often been attributed to being Andy's second record, however this has been repeatedly disavowed by Andy in the past; for example - "I have never been in a band called the crying shames, I have never even heard of them, sorry to disappoint but I am clueless about this. AT" (AskKaty on DD.com), (Discogs).
Jul 29 The Berrow brothers sent the boys to AIR studios in London, their first venture into a 24-track studio, where they recorded early versions of Girls On Film and Tel Aviv. Unlike the instrumental version on the album, Tel Aviv was completely different, as was Girls On Film. Duran Duran records "Girls on Film" and "Tel Aviv" (with lyrics: released on Duran Duran (2 CD/DVD)) at the 24-track AIR Studios in London, while the band Japan are recording Gentlemen Take Polaroids down the hall; Michael Berrow plays sax on the recording. (source).
? Missing Persons make a 4-track EP at Frank Zappa's home studio; Utility Muffin Research Kitchen; in LA. The project is financed by Warren's Father. Dale Bozzio's pink hair would be the prototype look for Gwen Stefani, and later Lady Gaga. The studio has been owned by Gaga since 2016.
Aug 6 Duran Duran: The Rum Runner, Birmingham, England.
bootlegged on Rum Runner .
Aug 27 "New Religion" written.
Sep 8 Missing Persons: Bla Rock Cafe, Los Angeles, California, United States. Probably the first live gig of the band, they might have about four songs to play. The possible setlist is: "I Like Boys", "Mental Hopscotch", "Hello, I Love You" (The Doors Cover) and "Destination Unknown". (source)
Sep 16 Duran Duran: Hosteria One, Birmingham, England.
Sep 17 The band recorded more demos at Bob Lamb's Studio on Highbury Road, Birmingham. Planet Earth and Anyone Out There were recorded on this date, followed by demos of "Night Boat", "Sound of Thunder" and "Faster Than Light". These demos contain unfinnished arrangements and some unfinished lyrics. "Right now, look all around". (source).
Sep 25 Missing Persons: Hong Kong Cafe, Los Angeles, California, United States. The possible setlist is: "I Like Boys", "Mental Hopscotch", "Hello, I Love You" (The Doors Cover) and "Destination Unknown". (source)
Oct 3 Duran Duran: Aston University, Birmingham, England.
Oct 4 Duran Duran: Cedar Ballroom, Birmingham, England.
Oct 9 Pauline Murray, John Cooper Clark & the Invisible Girls: Lyceum Auditorium, London, England (with Duran Duran).
Oct 13 Missing Persons: Bla Rock Cafe, Los Angeles, California, United States. The possible setlist is: "I Like Boys", "Mental Hopscotch", "Hello, I Love You" (The Doors Cover) and "Destination Unknown". (source)
Oct 22 Duran Duran: The Holy City Zoo, Birmingham, England
with Mike Berrow on sax.
Oct 24 Duran Duran': Cedar Club Ballroom, Birmingham, England.
Oct 27 Simon Le Bon is 22 years old today.
Nov 9 Duran Duran: Marquee Club, London, England.
Nov Simon pledges to stay with the band, and drops out of university.
Nov ? Band records "Planet Earth" and "Anyone Out There" as a test pressing.
Nov ? Duran Duran plans to release a 45rpm single with "Planet Earth" and "Anyone Out There" on their own Tritec Music label; they print 5,000 labels with a new Duran Duran logo designed by John Warwicker.
Nick now owns the only copy of this record, pressed on acetate. (Image Front), (Rear).
Nov ? Michael Berrow mortgages his house for 15,000 pounds to finance a support tour with Hazel O'Connor.
Nov The Band spend the tour living in a camping bus and earning £10 a week for the duration of the tour.
Nov 14? On this date, Spaundau Ballet perform at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham. It was a Friday night, and afterwards they went on to The Rum Runner. Spandau are introduced to Paul Berrow, and sleep that night on the floor of Margaret, the Run Runner office secretary. This event doesnt make sense if Duran were meant to be in Ireland on this date. (YT source (28:00)).
The band lives in a camping bus and earns 10 pounds a week.
Nov 14 Hazel O'Connor: Ulster Hall, Belfast, North Ireland (with Duran Duran).
Nov 16 Hazel O'Connor: Dublin Grand Cinema, Dublin, Ireland (with Duran Duran).
Nov 18 Hazel O'Connor: Top Rank, Cardiff, Wales (with Duran Duran).
Nov 19 Hazel O'Connor: Apollo, Manchester, England (with Duran Duran).
Nov 21 Hazel O'Connor: Sheffield University, Sheffield, England (with Duran Duran).
Nov 22 Hazel O'Connor: Lancaster University, London, England (with Duran Duran).
Nov 23 Hazel O'Connor: Colston Hall, Bristol, England (with Duran Duran).
Nov 26 Hazel O'Connor: Top Rank, Brighton, England (with Duran Duran)
cancelled; Simon had a throat infection
Nov It was during this tour that the band were spotted by EMI A&R man Dave Ambrose.
Nov 27 Hazel O'Connor: Odeon, Birmingham, England (with Duran Duran).
Nov 28 Hazel O'Connor: Liverpool University, Liverpool, England (with Duran Duran)
Nov 29 Hazel O'Connor: Odeon, Edinburgh, Scotland (with Duran Duran).
Dec 1 Hazel O'Connor: City Hall, Newcastle, England (with Duran Duran).
Dec 2 Hazel O'Connor: De Montfort Hall, Leicester, England (with Duran Duran).
Dec 3 Hazel O'Connor: Leeds University, Leeds, England (with Duran Duran).
Dec 4 Hazel O'Connor: University of East Anglia, Norwich, England (with Duran Duran).
Dec 6 Hazel O'Connor: Dominion Theatre, London, England (with Duran Duran)
Simon Le Bon joins Hazel O'Connor on stage for a performance of "Suffragette City". Later released on O'Connor's "Time" single.
? During the Hazel O'Connor tour, a bidding war erupts between three record companies to sign Duran Duran; eventually it comes down to EMI and Phonogram. Nick Says: "Phonogram offered us a better deal, but we were patriotic, we thought EMI, English company, the Beatles... We got appallingly ripped off." -- Nick Rhodes.
Dec 8 Warren Cuccurullo is 24 years old today.
Dec 8/9? A&R man Dave Ambrose from EMI signs Duran Duran; the band retains creative control over music, videos, album covers, etc. The band earns an advance of £42,000 pounds for album, tour, and video production, and a retainer of £50 pounds each per week.
Dec 8 Duran Duran records "Anyone Out There", "Planet Earth", "Friends of Mine", and "Late Bar" demos at EMI's Manchester Square studios in London, with recordings released on Duran Duran (2 CD/DVD).
Dec 8 John Lennon is killed in New York. "I remember two things about recording "Planet Earth". Staying in a horrible hotel in Fulham where I got very sick, and John Lennon dying." -- John Taylor
Dec 8 Duran Duran: "Wasted Talent Agency Presents" showcase event - Dingwalls Rhythm'n'Booze, Camden Lock, London.
Cancelled; the line-up from the November flyer is "Midnight & The Lemon Boys, Duran-Duran, plus others" - but they clearly dropped out of this showcase to play the Marquee Club instead.
Dec 8 Duran Duran: Marquee Club, London, England
First headlining show after the record deal; standing in for The Associates.
Dec 10 Duran Duran: 101 Club, London, England
This date has appeared from an advert from the time listed on eBay, with support from Midnight & The Lemon Boys.
Dec 11 According to Paul Gambaccini, Nick and John approached him to review The Venue show at an after-party for Gary Newman at 'Legends' nightclub. He said the show was 'tomorrow night'. (YT source).
Dec 12 Duran Duran: The Venue, London, England
This gig is sponsored by Rusty Egan, former Rich Kids drummer, now a popular London DJ. According to Paul Gambaccini, Simon was struggling to find his pitch that night. (YT source).
Dec 13 Journalist Betty Page of Sounds magazine writes the first article about the band, labelling them as part of the embryonic New Romantic movement involving Spandau Ballet and others

NOTE - this isn't strictly true as the article from The Observer magazine in March 1981 about the Rum Runner club & New Romantics in Birmingham was clearly written earlier (with Duran Duran being describes as the "house band" & no mention at all of them having been signed), but not published until later for some unknown reason... This also suggests that there were some extra shows at the Rum Runner that do not appear on any known list.
Dec 14 Duran Duran: Bow Wow Wow party, [venue?], London, England
Another Rusty Egan gig.
? Perry Haines (who co-founded British style magazine I-D, and coined the term "new romantic") takes charge of the band's image.
Dec Mid Band records "Planet Earth" and "Careless Memories" for the Duran Duran album at Red Bus Studios (34 Salisbury Street, London (Building)), with producer Colin Thurston.
Dec Mid Other tracks for Duran Duran completed at Abbey Road, Utopia Studios (7 Chalcot Road, London (Building)), and Chipping Norton Studios (26/30 New Street, Chipping Norton) (Wiki).
Dec Duran meets director Russell Mulcahy and Gerry Laffy (then acting as Russell's assistant); Andy asks "what the hell is the guitar player from Girl doing here?", and John and Gerry become great friends.
Dec The band filmed and interviewed while waiting outside of a London studio, wearing clothing similar the Planet Earth video. This is their first ever video recorded interview. (YT source).
Dec Video for "Planet Earth" shot at St. Johns Wood with Russell Mulcahy.
Dec Video for "Careless Memories" shot in Soho, directed by Perry Haines and Terry Jones. This is the original 'Car' version of the video. It was re-edited with staircase footage in 1983 for the Duran Duran (1983 video) album. (YT source), (YT source).
<< 1979 1980 1981 >>

Timeline duran duran wikipedia discography archive collection MESSAGE BOARD PRO

1950s · 1960s · 1970s · 1978 · 1979
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2020 · 2021 · 2022 · 2023 · 2024 · 2025 · 2026 · 2027 · 2028 · 2029