John Taylor Biography

Bassist, Musician (1960–)
Bassist John Taylor first rose to fame in the 1980s as a member of the internationally successful band Duran Duran.


Born in 1960, John Taylor co-founded the band Duran Duran with Nick Rhodes in the late 1970s. The group scored its first hit in 1981 and went on to become one of the top musical acts of the 1980s. He also played with the Power Station in the mid-1980s. In 1996, Taylor left Duran Duran, but rejoined the group in 2001. The band continues to tour and record. They released All You Need Is Now in 2011.

Early Career

A co-founder of one of the top bands of 1980s, bassist John Taylor started out as an art student in Birmingham, England. He formed an experimental, punk-influenced group with friends Nicholas Bates (who renamed himself Nick Rhodes) and Stephen Duffy in 1978. Taylor and Rhodes later brought drummer Roger Taylor into the fold.

After a while, Duffy left to work on other projects, and John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Rhodes pressed on. They met vocalist Simon Le Bon through one of Le Bon's ex-girlfriends who worked at the Rum Runner, a Birmingham night club where their group performed. Guitarist Andy Taylor soon joined the band, which soon became internationally known as Duran Duran.

The band took their name from a character, "Dr. Durand Durand," in Roger Vadium's 1968 sci-fi film Barbarella, starring Jane Fonda. Their music contained futuristic elements, as well as dance and punk influences. "We have always strived to be apart from the mainstream, that's the punk ethic," Taylor told Music Week. The resulting sound was meant to be "night music"—edgy and interesting, yet vibrant enough to get people moving at a club. Their fashion, hairstyle and make-up choices were theatrical, reflecting a glam-rock aesthetic.

"Planet Earth," released in 1981, proved to be their first hit single in Britain. Following the album's release, Taylor and his bandmates traveled to the United States for their first American tour. Duran Duran sold more than 2.5 million copies.

Music Superstardom

With some help from MTV, Taylor and his bandmates became one of the top music acts of the 1980s. The videos for "Rio" and "Hungry Like the Wolf" got heavy airplay on the cable music channel, and the songs both became Top 20 hits in the United States in 1983. The album Rio (1982) went multiplatinum, and "Hungry Like the Wolf" hit the top 10 of the Billboard charts in January 1983. Duran Duran quickly developed quite a following, especially among young listeners. Images of the tall, lanky, floppy-haired Taylor appeared often in teen magazines.

More success for Duran Duran followed with the release of Seven and the Ragged Tiger later in 1983. The album featured such smash singles as "New Moon on Monday" and "The Reflex." The success of "The Reflex" gave the band their first number one single in the United States. The band maintained a heavy tour schedule while continuing to make new music. They scored another number one hit in America with the theme song for the James Bond film A View to a Kill in 1985. Both Andy and Roger Taylor left the group in mid-1980s, but John Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Simon Le Bon continued on as Duran Duran.

By the mid-1990s, however, Duran Duran's enormous popularity had waned. Taylor was battling his own demons during this time. After a successful stint in rehab for drugs and alcohol, he got sober. "In many ways, I'm lucky to be alive. I could have checked out a number of times," Taylor told Britain's Metro magazine. He left Duran Duran around this time, but his exit wasn't permanent.

Taylor returned to Duran Duran in 2001. Derided by critics earlier in their career, Duran Duran picked up a lifetime achievement honor at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. The following year, they played live—the first reunion of the original five members on stage in nearly 20 years—at the BRIT Awards. Duran Duran received the Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award at the event. That same year, the group had a bit of career renaissance on the charts with Astronaut (2004), which sold more than 2 million copies.

Duran Duran—minus Andy Taylor—continues to record and tour together. In 2011, they released All You Need Is Now and hit the road for a two-year world tour, performing at SXSW and Coachella. They released Diamond in the Mind, a live album, in 2012. According to the band's website, Duran Duran is working on a new studio album.

Other Projects

Known for his funk and disco-influenced bass lines, Taylor explored another side of his musical interests in Power Station with singer Robert Palmer, drummer Tony Thompson of Chic fame and his band mate Andy Taylor. This unusual supergroup made the charts with such dance-oriented tracks as "Some Like It Hot" and a cover of the T-Rex classic "Get It On (Bang A Gong)" in 1985. Taylor went solo for the 9 1/2 Weeks soundtrack with the song "I Do What I Do" the following year.

In the 1990s, Taylor paired up with former Sex Pistols member Steve Jones to play as part of the Neurotic Outsiders. The band released one self-titled album together. Taylor has also worked with former bandmate Stephen Duffy, as the Devils.

Branching out into writing, Taylor gave his fans an inside look at his life with 2012's In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death & Duran Duran

Personal Life

Taylor is currently married to Juicy Couture co-founder Gela Nash-Taylor. He has a daughter from his first marriage to Amanda De Cadenet.

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