Nick Rhodes Biography

Musician (1962–)
Nick Rhodes is the keyboardist for Duran Duran, one of the biggest bands of the 1980s.


Born in 1962, Nick Rhodes grew up in Birmingham, England. He co-founded the band Duran Duran with John Taylor in the late 1970s. Duran Duran first made the charts in 1981 with "Planet Earth" in England. The following year, Rhodes and his bandmates had an international hit album Rio. He continues to record and tour with Duran Duran. The group released All You Need Is Now in 2010.

Early Career

As the keyboardist for Duran Duran, Nick Rhodes became one of the top music stars of the 1980s. He grew up in Birmingham, England, as the son of building contractor. As a teenager, Rhodes started playing in a band with longtime friend John Taylor in the 1970s. Rhodes, Taylor and Stephen Duffy formed a group that would evolve into the international sensation known as Duran Duran. At Taylor's suggestion, he changed his last name from Bates to Rhodes.

After Duffy left the group, Rhodes and Taylor brought in drummer Roger Taylor. Vocalist Simon Le Bon came aboard based on the recommendation of his ex-girlfriend, a bartender at Birmingham's Rum Runner club. They found guitarist Andy Taylor through an ad in a trade newspaper. The band took their distinctive name from the villain "Dr. Durand Durand" in Roger Vadium's 1968 sci-fi cult classic Barbarella, starring Jane Fonda.

Duran Duran began their ascent to superstardom in their native England in 1981, with the single "Planet Earth." That same year, the group released the album Duran Duran, which sold more than 2 million copies. Music critics may have been less than thrilled by the band, but Duran Duran started to attract quite a following with their "sinewy stew of rock, funk and electronica," as a writer for Keyboard magazine once described their sound.

Duran Duran

With 1982's Rio, Duran Duran became one of the most popular rock acts in the world. The videos for such songs as "Hungry Like the Wolf" and "Rio" got frequent airplay on MTV, which gave fans a chance to see the band in action. A big part of Duran Duran's image was their personal style and artistic sensibilities. Rhodes became famous for his dyed locks and heavy use of eyeliner. All of the band members found themselves the subject of adoration by their teenage fans and their images often adorned the pages of teen magazines.

Duran Duran continued to win over listeners with their danceable modern rock with Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983). Outside of the group, Rhodes pursued other interests. He published a collection of his abstract photography, Interference, around this time. Rhodes also became famous for dating models, frequenting nightclubs and hanging out with artist Andy Warhol.

By 1985, however, the band's nonstop touring and recording schedule was causing internal problems. Both Roger and Andy Taylor had walked away from the band by the time the group released 1988's Big Thing. The album proved to be a commercial disappointment, but Duran Duran continued to soldier on.

With 1993's Duran Duran (also known as the "Wedding Album"), the group returned to the charts with such singles as "Ordinary World" and "Come Undone." Even after John Taylor left the group in 1996, Rhodes stayed on with band mate Simon Le Bon. They brought Warren Cuccurullo in to handle some of the bass and guitar parts. This lineup released a few album together, but they never matched Duran Duran's earlier success.

In 2004, Rhodes and Le Bon reteamed with the three Taylors—John, Roger and Andy—for Astronaut. They lost Andy Taylor while making Red Carpet Massacre (2007), but the remaining four are still going strong. The band released the studio album All You Need Is Now in 2010, and they play numerous concerts around the world each year.

Personal Life

Rhodes was married to Julie Anne Friedman from 1984 to 1992. They have a daughter, Tatjana, together. He has saved all of his clothes from his Duran Duran days over the years, and he has even loaned out some his outfits for museum exhibitions.

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