Duran Duran founding member and keyboardist Nick Rhodes turns 56 today

He founded the famous band in 1978 and together with John Taylor has been the only constant member on it

Duran Duran founding member and keyboardist Nick Rhodes turns 56 today

Nicholas James Bates was born on June 8, 1962 in Birmingham, West Midlands, England. He left school in 1978 at the age of sixteen, and founded Duran Duran with school friends Stephen Duffy (vocals), John Taylor (who then played lead guitar), and Simon Colley (bass). During that period he changed his name from Bates to “Rhodes” after the brand of electric piano. As the band coalesced into its final line-up in 1979-80, with Simon Le Bon, Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor, Duran Duran started playing at a local Birmingham club called “The Rum Runner”. Nick Rhodes had a pivotal role on defining the Duran Duran sound. An unschooled musician, he experimented with the sounds his analogue synthesizers were capable of, but shied away from the “novelty” sounds of some other early synth bands. The distinctive warble of “Save A Prayer”, the keyboard stabs of “A View to a Kill”, and the string sounds of “Come Undone” and “Ordinary World” are some of his most recognizable creations, as well as the futuristic oscillating synth that characterized Duran Duran’s self-titled first album. Recognizing the potential of the music video, he pushed the band to put more effort into their early videos than seemed warranted at the time (before the advent of MTV). During the 1980’s Rhodes cultivated an androgynous and sometimes flamboyant image, wore heavy makeup, and changed his hair color at whim. He also became enamored of the art world early in his career, making friends with Andy Warhol and The Factory crowd, and attending exhibitions worldwide. At the end of 1984, he released his own book of abstract art photographs called Interference. With his bandmates Simon Le Bon and Roger Taylor, Rhodes formed the side project Arcadia while Duran Duran was on hiatus in 1985. The band had a moody, keyboard-heavy sound, far more atmospheric than Duran Duran. By the late 1990’s, Rhodes had begun writing lyrics for Duran Duran, as well as music. Duran Duran remain one of the 1980’s most successful bands still in activity. Nick Rhodes has been together with John Taylor the only constant member of the band who has recovered their most famous line up now, with Le Bon on vocals, Roger Taylor on drums, John Taylor on bass and Rhodes on keyboards. He turns 56 today.

Look back at one of Duran Duran’s biggest hits “A View To A Kill”, theme song from the 1985 James Bond movie

Also watch, a rare 1985 video of Nick Rhodes and Andy Warhol

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