Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve likely heard of the legendary new wave, synth-pop band Duran Duran.
Upon moments of catching the notorious sounds of punk-rock brutality intermingled with optimistic dynamism, a wave of nostalgia may wash over you, transporting you back in time.
Back to a place where you can’t help but recollect that distinctive eccentricity, characteristic of the New Romantic movement of the 80s.
The band itself has had many transitions in sound, record labels, and artists involved. However, once current lead vocalist, Simon Le Bon joined the fledging group in 1980, Duran Duran catapulted into the mainstream, reaching new heights of notoriety.
A crucial aspect that is somewhat overlooked, however, is that the illustrious and vaunted lead’s passion for performance initially originated in the borough of Harrow, northwest London.
From a young age, Le Bon was recognised for his special artistic talent. His charismatic personality, as distinctive as it was, propelled him towards the world of performing.
Being trained as an actor from the age of 6, Simon delivered several performances for the Harrow light opera company, starring in a few amateur stage productions.
Whilst spending his formative years in and around the borough of Harrow, he’d already started establishing himself as an ardent performer and musician, carving out his path towards stardom. Thus after completing an art foundation course at Harrow School of Art at the age of 20, his ambitions drove him towards pursuing drama at the University of Birmingham.
Le Bon had already achieved many commendable feats before this transition, however. Nameably his appearance in numerous television advertisements and engagements in the performing arts.
He made his West End stage debut in Tom Browns School Days, premiering at the Cambridge Theatre in London in 1978.
And it would be foolish not to mention his earliest ventures into punk-rock music. Le Bon participated as lead vocalist in the punk band dubbed “dog days” at 17, whilst still studying at Harrow School of Art.
It is undeniable then that his upbringing in northwest London hadn’t played a tremendous role in forming the fuel that drove Le Bon’s zeal for the world of the acclaimed stage performer.
Upon being introduced to the band and only after a year of performing nationwide gigs, they received a record label contract with EMI Records. And in 1981 the group released their debut studio album, “Duran Duran”.
The track “Girls on Film”, an immediate success given its controversial nature at the time, is now synonymous with the sound and look of 80’s pop-punk.
The albums that preceded were released steadily year by year. Although each had slight variations in style, the band remained consistent in their tendency to capture the world’s attention.
The acclaim they’d garnered in the U.S. was said to be equivalent to that of “Beatlemania”.
Their second self-titled album released in 1993, notoriously featuring the track “Ordinary World”, is perhaps what contemporary audiences are most familiar with. The melancholic lyrics and backing have an enchanting quality that invites its listeners to feel a vicarious sense of optimistic woe. Heartfelt and deeply profound, Le Bon speaks to the universal experience of longing to fit into a world in which you feel you don’t belong.
Over the course of their illustrious musical career, Duran Duran has not only made waves in the music industry but has been commended for doing so, evinced by the numerous awards they’ve accumulated over the years.
To name but a few, are two prestigious Grammy and Brit Awards, and an MTV Music Award for Lifetime Achievement. Certainly not forgetting their 2004 award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.
It was only then commonsensical that in the class of 2022, they’d be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It would be an understatement to claim that Simon Le Bon’s natural talent and charisma hadn’t solely catapulted him onto the world stage.
The now world-renowned band, Duran Duran, perhaps may never have found its footing without being led by Le Bon’s poetic spirit, charm and vivacity.
However, it would be equally minimalistic not to appreciate that one’s origins don’t make you the person you ultimately become.
In this way, it is certainly by no stretch of the imagination to accredit a portion of Simon Le Bon’s current notoriety to the sentimental roots that tie him to North Harrow.