The British Invasion
Duran Duran and Depeche Mode were part of the British invasion back in the 80s, both bands starting as New Romantics, a sub genre of New Wave. After some time they have followed different paths: Duran Duran a more pop vibe while Depeche Mode was all about goth-pop style.
The British band Duran Duran was born in 1980 in Essex, England. They played instruments that we call synthpop, joining electronic music and rock, which nowadays is known as goth rhythm.
This group has influenced numerous artists through the decades, fans that turned out to be musicians as well: Smashing Pumpkins, Linkin Park, Lacuna Coll, Deftones, Marilyn Manson, Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Scott Welland, Amy Lee (Evanescence), Robert Smith, Tori Amos, Shakira, Lady Gaga and Johnny Cash. They were formed originally by David Gahan, Martin L. Gore, Andrew Fletcher and Vince Clarke.
In 1981 the band recorded ‘’Speak and Spell’’ that had a few successful hits as ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’. In 1982, without Vince Clarke, the band released ‘Broken Frame’ followed by ‘Construction Time Again’ and the newest record would be ‘Some Great Reward’ a year after.
Back at the year 1986, Depeche Mode produced the ‘Black Celebration’ and had the photographer Anton Corijin as a guest producer on the video ‘Question Of Time’.
The group’s rising came in 87 with the single ‘Music For the Masses’ keeping them on the top hits for a while, later on, they kept making good music: ‘Songs of Faith and Devotion’ (1993), ‘Ultra’ (1997), ‘Exciter’ (2001), ‘Playing the Angel’(2005) and ‘Sounds of the Universe’ (2009) for example.
Finally, personal problems almost dissolved the band: Alan Wilder left the group in 1995 to pursue a solo career and Dave Grahan was in rehab trying to recover from his drug addiction.
New Wave Success
During the same era the pop/rock icon band Duran Duran, was getting close to be one of the most famous and successful bands on this period, coming from the new wave movement (more precisely the New Romantic).
Formed in 1978 in the English city of Birmingham by John Taylor (guitar) and Nick Rhodes (keyboards), Duran Duran expanded its formation by adding Simon Colley (bass) and Stephen Duffy (vocals).
Initially they depended on drums synthesizers, however, the group faced a few changes and the classical formation was lastly defined: Nick Rhodes (keyboard), John Taylor (bass), Andy Taylor (guitar), Roger Taylor (Drums) and Simon Le Bon (vocal).
At the end of the 80s, the band signed with EMI records and on the following year they released their first album ‘Duran Duran’ (this album had the song ‘Girls on Film’ as a single).
In 1982, the band started to get famous around the world. Entitled album ‘Rio’, had great hits like ‘Hungry like the Wolf’, ‘Save a prayer’, ‘Rio’ and ‘My Own Way’. ‘Seven and the Ragged Tiger’ was the third album, marking the start of a new world tour.
The band’s last show as the original group was performing at the Live Aid, in 1980. Right after that, Roger Taylor and guitar man Andy Taylor left the group – The rest of the group remained together, performing with guest musicians – Later on, the band recorded an album called ‘Notorious’ (1986), ‘Big Thing’ (1988) and ‘Liberty’(1990).
In the early 2000s the original members got back together for a few presentations and ended up recording a new album ‘Astronaut’ (out in 2004). The record was a victory and they were listed as number one in the USA and Great Britain.
In 2006 Andy Taylor left the group for the second time. The next year Duran Duran released ‘Red Carpet Massacre’ which didn’t achieve the same success and was disliked by the fans.
Now they are back together once again with the newest album ‘All you Need is Now’ (2011) having Mark Ronson as producer.
On that note, it’s possible to say that Duran Duran was a way more popular band – commercially have had more Top hits than Depeche Mode – and sold more albums. However, Depeche Mode was a more influential band to other rock groups and were really important to the new experiments on music industry (creating the Synthpop). Probably they are not really comparable in music types, but both bands have their strong and weak moments in history.