In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, and Duran Duran

John Taylor, Author
John Taylor with Tom Sykes. Dutton, $27.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-5259-5800-0
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Duran Duran was one of the most successful pop groups of the early 1980s and is still performing today—outliving such contemporaries as Spandau Ballet and Culture Club. Founding member and bass player Taylor delivers a straightforward look at the band’s career that will be of interest primarily to its still sizable fan base and anyone who once was a Duran fan. Like Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran, guitarist Andy Taylor’s 2008 biography, Taylor covers most of the band’s high points: its groundbreaking music videos that put MTV on the map, its success in America and its starring appearance at Live Aid in 1985. But unlike Andy Taylor in Wild Boy, John Taylor doesn’t back away from describing the heavy drug use that later led to his entering rehab. Taylor offers some fascinating insights into the way London’s pop music scene shifted from punk rock’s “three-chord angry noise” to “New Romanticism,” a revival of 1970s glam rock with a heavy disco beat: “Multimedia, fashion, dance, art. We wanted it all in the mix.” Taylor also insightfully notes that the Live Aid concert—perhaps the band’s peak performance—created “an immense sea change” in pop culture. “Things that you could get away with in 1984, you could not get away with twelve months later” as the stripped-down “indie rock” of bands like the Smiths swept away the excesses of the New Romantics. (Oct.)
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