TAYLOR MADE
Bass Player|October 2021
A new book on Duran Duran’s Rio album highlights the role of bassist John Taylor, a hero in our community. Author Annie Zaleski digs deep into the pleasure groove
Annie Zaleski

There’s much to love about Duran Duran’s landmark 1982 album Rio: Hit singles ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ and ‘Save A Prayer’, the mysterious Patrick Nagel cover art, and John Taylor’s nimble, sinewy bass-lines. Driven by a desire to emulate the low ends propelling Chic, Japan and Roxy Music, the Birmingham, UK native veered between moody pulses (‘New Religion’) and spring-loaded dancefloor bursts (‘Hold Back The Rain’).

One of the newest volumes in Bloomsbury’s acclaimed 33 1/3 book series is dedicated to Rio. The book, out now, features new and exclusive interviews with four-fifths of the group’s lineup circa Rio—John Taylor, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, drummer Roger Taylor, and guitarist Andy Taylor—and dozens of other people involved in the band’s success back then, including video directors, label employees, radio DJs, and MTV VJs.

Via extensive cultural analysis and research, the volume positions Duran Duran as a sophisticated and influential rock band that balanced art and commerce like few others. Here’s an excerpt from the book focused on how Duran Duran’s laser-focused work ethic—and impeccable influences—helped the band grow and evolve during the Rio era... Andy Taylor’s confident, spot-on musical instincts and advanced songwriting abilities especially buoyed Duran Duran in those days. Roger Taylor observed that his bandmate could ‘knock up the backbone of a song in 10 minutes,’ while John Taylor noted Andy ‘brought an entirely different kind of musical experience’ to the band. ‘The rest of us were like punks that were adjusting to this new vibe, this new thing that was happening, which was much more groove-oriented, much more R&B-influenced.’

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