I admit it. I was a big Duranie in the early 80’s. In fact, Duran Duran changed my life (more on that later). So it’s no surprise that when I heard John Taylor (my personal favorite) had written an autobiography, I HAD to read it!
I really liked Taylor’s simple prose as he walked through his past, telling stories of his rise to super-stardom and all the surprises and stumbling blocks in between. He is introspective, and extremely kind in his reflections of friends, business partners and fans. While there was lots of hard work involved, Duran Duran’s seemingly overnight success seems to be a Cinderella story. Except, instead of a fairy godmother, they had EMI and MTV.
The summer of 1982 was an important transition for the band and for me. Duran Duran was an established pop success on the verge of making it to the big time. They were still playing small venues and I had the privilege of seeing them in concert three times that summer. I was spending part of the summer in New York City with a friend and we had caught them at The Pier in a double bill with Split Enz. My friend’s sister had an agent friend who happened to stop by the apartment later. He quizzed us about our fascination with Duran Duran. “Who’s your favorite band member?” He asked us. My friend told him of her admiration for Nick Rhodes. “Do you want to talk to him? I can get him on the phone for you,” he told her. While we really didn’t believe he could do this, it wasn’t long before he handed her the phone. SHE WAS TALKING TO NICK RHODES! As it turned out, they were playing the Peppermint Lounge and Nick Rhodes invited us to come to the show. Not only did we have the opportunity to see a great concert, but we were admitted backstage as well! I was amazed. Here we were, backstage, WITH DURAN DURAN, and I was just feet from my dream idol, JOHN TAYLOR! Needless to say, I was beyond shy and probably just stood there smiling the whole time.
As I read the book, I hoped Taylor would mention at least one of the concerts I had attended. And on page 190, there it was. A photo of Taylor of visiting with Robert Palmer backstage at the Peppermint Lounge. I had been there! In fact, I have a photo my friend took of Taylor’s fateful meeting with Palmer that night. (Later, Robert Palmer would be the front man to Taylor’s band Powerstation). As I said, I was shy. So, I watched and listened, and when it was time to go, a voice screamed inside my head that this was my only chance and I had better take it. I walked up to John Taylor, put my hand on his shoulder and said “I have to go now, I just wanted to say thanks for a great show and goodbye.” He said “thanks”, KISSED ME BRIEFLY ON THE LIPS and said goodbye. How did this change my life? For starters, up until now, this was the best thing that ever happened to me, and it made me realize that anything was possible. From that point on, I decided that I wanted to attend college in New York City, and I applied to NYU and was accepted. I also decided I wanted to join a band, which I also did. Somewhere between college and the band, I began working in the entertainment industry and I decided I preferred the behind the scenes work. But the point is, my whole life’s direction changed that summer. Who I am today, who I married and my children, would not have happened if not for my experiences with Duran Duran.
And like mine, John Taylor’s journey (albeit more exciting and drug-filled) has taken him to a good place. I enjoyed reading about his life so far, and I was tickled to have the trip down memory lane. I recommend this book for Duran Duran fans and for anyone interested in the life of a pop star.
3 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2012
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