Formation  |  Development  |  Getting Serious  |  Preparing to Conquer the World  
Chapter 1 : Formation

Nigel Taylor, who'd previously played in Shock Treatment (1977) and DADA (early 1978), enrolled at the Birmingham Polytechnic's College of Art and Design in summer of 1978, where he met student Stephen Duffy. Actually, they were drawn to each other and were talking soon about forming a band. Nigel suggested Stephen to meet with childhood friend Nicholas Bates, and eventually, the three of them founded (what became) Duran Duran.

Names for the band have been discussed. Suggestions for a name have been RAF (Royal Air Force), Arabia, Industry and also Arcadia, but after BBC 1 broadcast the 1968 sci-fi movie Barbarella (on Friday night 20th October), Nigel came up with the idea calling themselves Duran Duran. The film stars Jane Fonda as Barbarella, sent out to find scientist Dr. Durand Durand (Milo O'Shea). Nigel discussed his idea with Nicholas over lunchtime on the very next day in The Hole in the Wall, a local pub in Dale End, city centre of Birmingham. Later that day he met Stephen in the stairwell outside the college kitchen, and also told him about his inspiration. Saturday 21st October in 1978 marks the birth of Duran Duran.

The very first line-up (until April of 1979):
Nigel Taylor (John Taylor) - guitar, backing vocals
Nik Bates (Nick Rhodes) - synthesizer, tapes, rhythms
Steve Dufait (Stephen Duffy) - fretless bass, vocals, rhythm guitar

The three of them made their first recordings on a cassette tape recorder in the space above Nick's mum's toy shop, and called it Dusk and Dawn. The cover featured a black-and-white photocopy of a New York streetscape shot.

The song titles on that very first demo cassette are:
    Aztec Moon Rich*
    Take (The Lines And The Shadows)
    Hold Me/Pose Me
    A Lucien Melody
    Hawks Don't Share*

Additional named songs from that time period are:
    Toy Room To Tokyo
    So Cold In El Dorado
    Lost Decade*
    Big Store*
    Signals In Smoke*

The very first gig (with only the three of them)
happened on April 5th, 1979
in the Lecture Theatre
at Birmingham Polytechnic

Right after the first gig, Simon Colley (a friend of Stephen) joined the band.
This line-up lasted until June:
Nigel Taylor (John Taylor) - guitar, fx, voices
Nik Bates (Nick Rhodes) - synthesizer, tapes, rhythms
Steve Dufait (Stephen Duffy) - lead voice, bass
Simon Colley - clarinet, voices, bass

They played three gigs together:
May 10th University, Birmingham
Together with the band Here And Now.
May 29th - Hexagon Theatre, Birmingham
Initially planned for May 8th, but postponed to May 29th.
The Hexagon was actually used as a puppetry theatre.

June 1st Barbarella's, Birmingham
Duran Duran was opening for Fàshiøn on this date. This was
the first time the band played for a few hundred people, and
none other than Roger Taylor was in the audience.
Barbarella's was a legendary night club and music venue
located in Birmingham.The Barbarella film was obviously the
name giver, when the club opened in 1972.

For whatever reason, after that gig at Barbarella's, Stephen Duffy and Simon Colley left Duran Duran. Together with three former members of TV Eye, Dave Kusworth, David Twist (also ex-member of Nigel's first band Shock Treatment) and Paul Adams, they formed The Hawks, also known as The Subterranean Hawks.


About This Document 

This document refers to the years
of formation (1978 until 1980)
It was compiled and
developed by
Ansgar Thomann
in dedication to
the 40th anniversary
of Duran Duran's birth

* re-recorded by The Devils (Nick Rhodes and Stephen Duffy) in 2002 for the album Dark Circles, which could have been the very first Duran Duran album.

This is the very first Duran Duran live-recording dated 5-4-79. The recording refers to their performance at Birmingham Art College. History tells that the The Devils project started when Stephen told Nick that he had found that tape in his old desk.