The members of Duran Duran believe former guitarist Andy Taylor was the key to their U.S. success.

He left amicably in 2006, long after their ‘80s heyday, but in a new interview with The Guardian, his former bandmates cited his interest in heavier music as the catalyst for achieving radio airplay across the States, which few other British new wave groups managed.

“His record collection disturbed me!” keyboardist Nick Rhodes said. “A lot of real heavy rock things, stuff that you would have avoided the kids at school for.” He added that “Andy’s edge and Andy’s rockiness” helped make Duran Duran distinctive. “It really worked, because it was going completely against the disco grooves and the electronic pulses."

Drummer Roger Taylor noted: “But you collided, and made something really incredible. ... It was what the Americans liked as well. Because they were still playing FM rock in America. We were the only new wave band that had heavy guitar, so it crossed over.”

Rhodes reflected that the ‘80s are best remembered for being an era of “greed and selfishness,” but he argued that "if you look at art and fashion and design, it was absolutely extraordinary. And it was an exciting landscape for music and for being able to create your own sound. None of us would have been seen dead copying someone else’s sound then. Everyone had to have their own identity – that was your badge of honor.”

He added: “The ‘80s was about individualism. Whereas once we got towards the ‘90s, it was more about wearing the same trainers and the same jeans and being part of that clique. … I’ve never owned a pair of jeans in my life!”

 

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