You might have missed one or two of their comebacks. In fact, you maybe just assumed they always stayed on top. Regardless, they remain the archetypal, decade-defining band of the 1980’s. Their five vintage band-members tell their story in Zoe Dobson’s BBC-produced Duran Duran: There’s Something You Should Know, which is now available on Showtime.
The timing was perfect for Duran Duran. They burst onto the British scene just as the so-called New Romantic thing was going mainstream. They broke out first in the UK, but their look was tailored-made for MTV. Indeed, it is nice to see Russell Mulcahy (director of Razorback and Highlander) get credit for directing the “Hungry Like A Wolf” and “Rio” videos that were so instrumental in solidifying the band’s image and putting them in teenagers’ homes on a daily basis.
Throughout Dobson’s profile, we hear extensively from the “classic period” band-mates: Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, and Andy Taylor. Coincidently, they had three Taylors, none of whom were related. They also had their one or two of their own Stuart Sutcliffes, but we don’t hear about them. Weirdly, Dobson and the band also skip over their James Bond theme song, “A View to a Kill,” which was a pretty big hit, even though it was written for the worst bond film ever.
Still, the Duraners are pretty forthright about their struggles with drugs, alcohol, depression, and the rest of the usual Behind the Music stuff. They also aged pretty well and come across as surprisingly likeable blokes. Frankly, watching Something You Should Know makes it pretty easy to understand their enduring popularity. There is a whole lot of the band unfiltered, with very little background noise from other talking heads, aside from their contemporary, Boy George, and their close collaborator Nile Rodgers, whose presence most fans would not begrudge.
The hour-long running time moves along at a brisk clip, but it definitely feels abbreviated. Nevertheless, it provides a comforting serving of pop culture nostalgia for Gen-X children of the 80’s. The truth is it makes us miss MTV, from its music video prime. Recommended more as a nostalgia trip than as a film or TV production, Duran Duran: There is Something You Should Know is now available on Showtime.