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Simon Le Bon was lead singer of the 1980s pop group Duran Duran, known for recording the hit song “Hungry Like the Wolf.” He left the group before they later reunited in 2001.
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Beyond the hysteria that surrounded them, Duran Duran had true musical talent and was able to produce infectious, modern-sounding pop music. Le Bon and the rest of the group won two Grammy Awards in 1983 for Best Video - Short Form and Best Video Album. Still Le Bon sometimes faced criticism for his vocals, his dancing style on stage and his weight.
By 1985, Duran Duran was feeling the strain of its success. The group recorded “A View to a Kill” together as the title track for the James Bond film by the same title. That same year, the members of Duran Duran released a number of side projects. While John and Andy Taylor worked with Tony Thompson and Robert Palmer as the Power Station, Le Bon and the remainder of Duran Duran formed Arcadia, which released one album together, So Red the Rose. Andy and Roger Taylor left the group that same year.
On a personal front, Le Bon found himself in a dangerous situation that year. Pursuing his interest in sailing, he had invested in a sailing yacht called Drum. Participating in the Fastnet race off the coast of England, he and the rest of the crew (which included his brother Jonathan) nearly died when the boat capsized, trapping them inside the hull. They stayed there for approximately forty minutes before being rescued. This near tragedy did not stop him from participating in the 1985-1986 Whitbread Round the World Race aboard a repaired Drum. He and his crew came in third overall. That same year, he married model Yasmin Parvaneh. The two started dating after Le Bon saw her photograph and called her agency to get her phone number.
After Roger and Andy Taylor's departures, Duran Duran continued on with its three remaining members, releasing Notorious in 1986, which featured a funkier sound than earlier recordings. The title track was the strongest hit on the album. By the late 1980s, Duran Duran’s popularity began to wane. Their next two studio albums, Big Thing (1988) and Liberty (1990), failed to capture the attention of music buyers and critics. While a greatest hits collection, Decade (1990), sparked some interest, the band really only returned to the charts with Duran Duran (also known as the Wedding Album) in 1993. “Ordinary World” was their first major hit in years.
Their next venture, 1995’s Thank You, did not fare as well. The collection of cover songs was intended to pay tribute to their influences, but critics shredded their versions of songs by Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and others. The next year, Le Bon branched out on his own to support the Bosnian War Child charity. He sang “Ordinary World” as a duet with Luciano Pavarotti and joined Dolores O’Riordan from the Cranberries on their hit “Linger” in concert.
Duran Duran’s next album, Medazzaland (1997), was done without longtime member John Taylor who left in 1996 for a solo career. “Electric Barbarella” was perhaps the only track got some airplay, referencing the science fiction cult film that the group took its name from.
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