Happy Birthday Andy Taylor (Duran Duran)

Probably Best known as a member of Duran Duran and The Power Station, the English Guitarist, singer-songwriter & Record Producer Andy Taylor was born on this day 16 February  in 1961. He began playing guitar at the age of eleven, and was soon playing with local bands, even producing one at the age of sixteen. He dropped out of school early to tour England and Europe with several different bands, playing working men’s clubs and air force bases. Then in April 1980, as Taylor puts it, “I made that fateful train journey down to Birmingham”.

Duran Duran

Duran Duran began their rise to fame at a Birmingham club named the “Rummrunner”. The club was owned by their managers and mentors, brothers Paul & Michael Berrow. It was centred on the music and ostentatious fashion of the era, particularly dance & disco music, which had fused with punk and electronic to create the sound and look adopted by various “New Romantic” acts of the time. The band was heavily influenced by the 12 inch cuts of the day. Taylor says… “Anybody who is familiar with early DD (Duran Duran) will be aware of the Night Versions concept… the underlying influence of the 12″ mix – Edwards & Rodgers – Giorgio Moroder … It was all part of the matrix – we tested our first hits on the dance-floor before going anywhere near the radio – it was the way you defined your style and who you were, through the club you were associated with – where you hung-out … I’m a rock fan, but the girls hung-out at the disco – I recommend a large portion of both.”   The band signed to EMI Records in December 1980 only seven months after completing the line-up. Their debut single “Planet Earth” was released shortly after that, with their self-titled debut album, Duran Duran, released in June 1981. By 1983, the band was a global success story, and went on to have many other hits including  Union of the Snake, Girls on Film, Rio, Wild Boys, The Reflex, Hungry like a Wolf and New Moon on Monday

Robert Palmer & the Power Station

While Duran Duran were on hiatus in 1985, Andy Taylor and bassist John Taylor joined renowned session drummer and former Chic member Tony Thompson and Robert Palmer to form the band Power Station. Their eponymous album, recorded mostly at the New York studio for which the band was named, reached the Top 20 in the UK and the Top 10 in the US, and spawned two hit singles with “Some Like It Hot”  and a cover of the T. Rex song “Get It On (Bang a Gong)”. Palmer performed live with the band only once that year, on Saturday Night Live. The band toured, and even played Live Aid with singer Michael Des Barres after Palmer bowed out at the last moment to go back into the studio to further his newly revitalized solo career. Taylor also performed with Duran Duran at the Live Aid event.   Palmer recorded the album Riptide in 1985, recruiting Thompson and Andy Taylor to play on some tracks and Power Station producer Bernard Edwards, who worked with Thompson in the group Chic, to helm the production. Robert recruited Wally Badarou, another Compass Point Star who had laid synthesizer tracks on the Power Station album, plus his long-term drummer, Dony Wynn, for this production as well.

Reunions

In 1994 Taylor participated in the reunion of Power Station and They recorded a second album “Living in Fear” for EMI, then In 2001, Taylor reunited with the other original members of Duran Duran to record their first new music together since 1985. The band secured a new recording contract with Sony Records. Their ensuing album, Astronaut, featured a blend of Taylor’s heavy guitar with the synth hooks of the classic Duran Duran sound. Months prior to the album’s release, the band played their largest ever UK tour in the spring of 2004, which was followed by a world tour in 2005, including Asia, Europe, and North America. The band also performed at Live 8. However In 2006, whilst recording a new Duran Duran album, Taylor once again parted ways with the band. In November 2007 Taylor co-founded RockAffairs.com alongside Sarah Eaglesfield, the former Flightside vocalist and webmistress at duranduran.com. RockAffairs was developed to allow unsigned artists to sell MP3s and merchandise, promote their band and keep 100% of the profit. It also pioneered a maverick Profit Share Scheme where 100% of income from listener signups was distributed amongst bands who sign up for the profit share scheme.