.

Duran Duran Go Back to the Eighties With Mark Ronson

Producer helps band revive its classic sound on first LP since 2007

January 12, 2011 4:25 PM ET
Duran Duran Go Back to the Eighties With Mark Ronson
Photograph by Stephanie Pistel

The first time Mark Ronson met Duran Duran, he would've loved to work with them — the only problem was that he was just a kid. "I was way into them," says Ronson, 35, whose mother was friends with the band. "I found out that [bassist] John Taylor was going to come by our house and I freaked out — I kept making excuses so I could stay up past my bedtime to meet him." Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Ronson's childhood dreams are coming true: He produced Duran Duran's new LP, All You Need Is Now, which was released on iTunes in December (a CD with more material will be out in February). "I felt like I was just a mouthpiece for 10 million Duran Duran fans who know just what they want them to sound like," says Ronson.

Video: Duran Duran Talk New Album, Working With Mark Ronson

All You Need Is Now brings back the New Wave keys and driving bass lines of the peak Rio years. "That's a certain sound that Duran Duran really own," says Ronson, "and don't get a lot of credit for." It will be a major relief for fans bummed by 2007's beat-heavy Red Carpet Massacre, a poorly received record produced by Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. "On that album, we were guitarless," says Taylor. "We really needed that. Duran Duran is a delicate ecosystem. We are synth-pop, with guitars."

This article appears in the January 20, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is available now on newsstands and in the online archive.

Ronson and the band went into the studio in the spring of 2009 to see how the collaboration would work. "Ronson would never be just a passive observer," says Taylor. "He'd be banging a cowbell or playing guitar. He made us feel very special, like we still had something to say." The first single is the clanging title track, marked by a seesawing synth riff and a chorus that works as a mission statement for the LP: "You sway in the moon, the way you did when you were younger/When we told everybody, 'All you need is now.' " Says Le Bon, "It's a message, really, from the band to our fans, saying, 'Keep the flame burning.' "

Review: Duran Duran's All You Need Is Now

The Scissor Sisters' Ana Matronic sings on the Talking Heads-style disco cut "Safe (In the Heat of the Moment)"; Kelis coos backup on the electro-pop tune "The Man Who Stole a Leopard," inspired by the 1965 Terence Stamp horror film The Collector; and Arcade Fire collaborator Owen Pallett contributed string arrangements. "It's full of great words and beats," says Le Bon of the LP. "It will get you up and dancing and make you want to take your clothes off."

Duran Duran are planning to tour the world in 2011, including some special shows in the U.S., where they'll play the new LP front-to-back. "Writing and recording a new album is the most challenging part of the job," says Taylor. "Now we can relax and plan our year on the road."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com