Duran Duran were one of the seminal bands of the 1980s, had one of their biggest worldwide hits in the 1990s and are now making a comeback with the release of their recent album ‘Astronaut’ in 2004. They released their self-titled debut album in 1981, the first instalment in a career than has generated record sales of over 70 million.

Now, music journalist and biographer Steve Malins has written Duran Duran: Notorious, the first ever biography on this rock supergroup, a rollercoaster of a story, packed with exclusive material, some taken from previously unpublished interviews with the band. Over 50 friends, colleagues and former band members have talked openly to the author, many of them for the first time. Duran Duran: Notorious also contains 16 pages of stunning colour and black and white photographs.

It isn’t just songs such as ‘Save a Prayer’ and ‘Ordinary World’ that has ensured Duran Duran’s fame; their ground-breaking music videos played back-to-back on MTV won them international popularity and cast them as irresistible playboy rockstars. And the band members lived up to the hype, dating supermodels, driving Aston Martins and diving head first into the sort of celebrity lifestyle that most people can only dream of. Then the inevitable happened: a split in 1985, periods in rehab and nervous breakdowns.

In 2001, the original ‘fab five’ reformed and in 2005, embarked on a world tour. Their mixture of synth and swagger has ultimately triumphed, thanks to the core friendships in the band, their flair for memorable pop songs and a sense of ambition that dwarfed most of their contemporaries. Duran Duran scooped the Outstanding Contribution to Music Award at the Brits in 2004 and MTV’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

Duran Duran’s music has dated so much better and influenced far more artists than anyone would have imagined 20 years ago. Scissor Sisters, Goldfrapp, Justin Timberlake, The Killers and Kylie Minogue are all fans.

In Duran Duran: Notorious, Steve Malins charts the incredible highs and horrendous lows of this incredibly popular and phenomenally successful band, from their humble beginnings as pretty boys living in Birmingham to the icons that they are today, managing to create an aura around themselves through sheer force of will. Tatler recently named Nick Rhodes in their ‘Top 30 Coolest People To Have At Your Party’ list.

For every sky-scraping success as the band broke America or romped across Japan, there was a catastrophe: Simon Le Bon’s near drowning while making the ‘Wild Boys’ video and, of course, famously surviving the sinking of his own yacht; their dreadful performance at Live Aid in 1985 which almost killed their career, not to mention their many fashion disasters and battles with drugs and age, weight and hair gel. Yet all of this seems to have made them all the more cherished in the last few years, especially amongst their older, loyal fans.

In Duran Duran: Notorious, Malins looks at the band’s failures and their successes in detail and reveals the way in which they have managed to cultivate an entirely new generation of fans, not only because their sound is now in vogue again (and being copied by the likes of the Killers whose debut album sold in excess of 100,000 copies last year in the UK), but also because the band offers hope to others that you can completely re-invent yourself, hang out with artists and models, make loads of money (even after losing it all) and still be considered cool.

Duran Duran: Notorious is guaranteed to be a must-have for all die-hard fans and the newly-converted alike!

Steve Malins is also author of Gary Numan’s authorised autobiography and biographies on Depeche Mode, Paul Weller and Radiohead. He was a contributing editor for Q Magazine for five years and has also written for the Sunday Times, Time Out and Vox. He has worked on three Gary Numan albums and with artists such as Siouxsie Sioux. He lives in London.

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