Biographic by Steve McGarry for May 14, 2006
Simon Le Bon He was once derided by Rock critics as a new wave Dandy. Today he is an acknowledged elder statesman of rock. Simon Le Bon has spent 25 years as frontman of Duran Duran, the legendary band cited by artists as diverse as Franz Ferdinand and Pink, No Doubt, and Limp Bizkit, and Beck and the Killers as a major influence. Born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, on October 27, 1958, Simon Le Bon was a model by age of 5, appearing in TV commercials for coffee and washing powder. AT 17, he fronted a punk rock band before enrolling at Birmingham University to study drama. During his freshman year, he was recruited to join the fledgling Duran Duran. At the height of their powers, the band recorded the title song to the movie "A View to a Kill" the song becoming the first James Bond theme to top the U.S. singles chart. But tensions within the band were becoming evident. With Duran Duran on hiatus, the camp split into two factions, Le Bon teaming with Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor to form Arcadia while John Taylor and Andy Taylor created The Power Station, recruiting singer Robert Palmer and chic drummer Tony Thompson. By 1986, Duran Duran was reduced to the trio of Simon, Nick, and John Taylor. Guitarist Waren Cuccurullo and drummer Sterling Campbell were recruited to the ranks, but the band's popularity has passed its zenth and Duran Duran began to slip from the radar. In 1993, the band's "Wedding Album" featuring the hit "Ordinary World" saw an upsurge in fortune, but the impetus was soon lost. Following the subsequent departure of John Taylor, the band was now-reduced to the two original members of Simon and Nick, and Cuccurullo, the lineup that soldiered on for the rest of the decade. In 2003, with the original lineup recommended, the band picked up the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award. They have continued to enjoy renewed success and acclaim in 2005, 20 years after starring at "Live Aid" they headlined the Rome concert of the televised "Live 8" extravaganza.