The twelve months prior to this release saw Duran Duran in hiatus while the members of the group pursued other projects. Some were temporary distractions, such as Nick Rhodes’s interest in photography leading to him publishing the collection Interference, and Simon Le Bon’s purchase of the yacht Drum resulting in his entry into competitive sailing. (Drum famously capsized during the Fastnet race in August 1985; mercifully the Le Bon and the rest of the crew were rescued.) But it was the musical side-projects that caused the most speculation that the nation’s top teen-idol group were about to split permanently.
At the tail-end of 1984, the band united for their appearance on the Band Aid charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas? but by that time they were already involved on separate ventures, facilitated by a gap in their schedule caused by the end of the Sing Blue Silver tour earlier in the year. There was no new album from them that year; they saw 1985 in with Arena, a live album acting as a souvenir for their visits to stadia across the world. Shortly afterwards, the first splinter project, The Power Station, featuring Andy Taylor and John Taylor, delivered their first single Some Like It Hot – a Top 20 hit in several countries including the UK and the US. A self-titled album followed. Arcadia, featuring Le Bon and Rhodes, released their only album So Red The Rose (produced by Alex Sadkin – more tomorrow) in the Autumn. The Promise, their second single, featured backing vocals from Sting in another of his appearances on other people’s records during his own sabbatical from The Police (see article on 6 January).
The difference in musical styles of these two spin-off albums (The Power Station much more rock-influenced, with So Red The Rose more faithful to the core Duran sound) was indicative of the disagreement that was emerging between the five members of the band on the future direction of Duran Duran. As Rhodes later said, “The trouble is, Andy is into rock n’ roll and we are into art n’ roll.” 1 (This quote might also explain why Le Bon later described So Red The Rose as “the most pretentious album ever made.” 2)
Nevertheless, Duran remained as a five-piece for much of 1985. They appeared together at a number of events and ceremonies and A View To A Kill, their title song to the year’s Bond movie, was a major international hit when it was issued as a single. Roger Taylor seemed to keep the peace by contributing drums to both Arcadia and The Power Station (although credited as a full member of the former, he took no part in promoting the records and appeared in only a handful of publicity photos). But during the year, he gradually retreated from the music business and moved to a remote farm in Gloucestershire.
1 Hibbert, Tom. “We Wanna Destroy!”, Smash Hits, EMAP, 3-16 December 1986.
2 Roberts, Chris. “Review of Arcadia – So Red The Rose – Special Edition”, BBC Music, bbc.co.uk, 12 April 2010.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Jan. 13
The ALARM Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke (IRS IRS101)
EURYTHMICS Here Comes The Rain Again (RCA DA5)
ARCADIA (Duran Duran) The Promise (Odeon NSR2)
CLANNAD Additional Vocals BONO In A Lifetime (RCA PB40535)
The COLOURFIELD (Terry Hall) Things Could Be So Beautiful (Chrysalis COLF5)