Duran Duran has recorded 15 songs for its reunion album, which will feature the band going back to its modern rock-meets-dance music roots, Billboard.com has learned. Speaking from a London studio whe
Duran Duran has recorded 15 songs for its reunion album, which will feature the band going back to its modern rock-meets-dance music roots, Billboard.com has learned. Speaking from a London studio where the band is recording the still-untitled set, producer/Chic founder Nile Rodgers says the song "Taste of Summer" appears to be a frontrunner for the first single.
Rodgers says the album sounds like "the Clash meets Blondie meets the Ramones with smooth songwriter stuff thrown in, but it's still very much Duran Duran. There's a sophisticated smoothness, which is at the essence of their songs."
The five members of the original Duran Duran lineup last worked together in the studio on the 1985 single "A View to a Kill," the James Bond film theme which hit No. 1 in several countries. Guitarist Andy Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor quit the group the following year, and bassist John Taylor exited in 1996 (the three Taylors are unrelated). Lead singer Simon LeBon and keyboardist Nick Rhodes have been with the band since its 1981 debut.
Rodgers previously collaborated with Duran Duran on the 1984 hit singles "The Reflex" (the band's first No. 1 song in the U.S.) and "Wild Boys," as well as the platinum-selling 1986 album "Notorious." He says, "It's not like I've had a bad track record with Duran Duran. Every single record I've produced with them has been a hit."
He observes that the songwriting dynamic of the band "hasn't changed all that much. It's like going back to the way it was, just picking up where we left off before. Andy is still the bad boy," he laughs.
Considered one of the pioneering acts of the music video era, Duran Duran has sold in excess of 60 million records around the world. The group's recording career was primarily with EMI/Capitol but it parted ways with the company in the late '90s. In 2000, Duran Duran released its first post-EMI album, the experimental "Pop Trash," on Hollywood, but that deal was ended less than a year later.
Rodgers says that Duran Duran is "very close" to announcing a new label home, on which the reunion album is expected to be released in the fourth quarter of this year. A tour in support of the set is also in the works.
"There are two big dreams of mine: one is to produce a Van Halen record with David Lee Roth on vocals, and the other dream was to produce an album with the original Duran Duran lineup," Rodgers says. "One of those dreams has come true. The guys in Duran Duran look and sound amazing. Doing this album has been a phenomenal experience for me."
At the height of its popularity, Duran Duran splintered off into side groups -- John and Andy Taylor with the funky hard rock band Power Station; LeBon, Rhodes, and Roger Taylor with the avant-garde pop outfit Arcadia. Rodgers says those musical differences have been resolved with the new album, and he hints that the new music is more open to the guitar-oriented, funky side of the group.
"The Power Station was a direct release for John and Andy," he says. "I can say this: knowing where the band is at and the direction that Duran's music has taken, there's no reason for John and Andy to leave the band now."