Capably written if predictable rock memoir by bassist Taylor of the 1980s supergroup Duran Duran.
Writing of 1981, Taylor recalls thinking, “We have become idols, icons. Subjects of worship.” Right he was, as Duran Duran became arguably the biggest pop group of the early ’80s, selling million of records worldwide and dominating the then-new medium of music video. All of this was both enchanting and overwhelming for Taylor, a young lad raised in the Birmingham (England) suburb of—oddly enough given Duran Duran’s taste for glamour—Hollywood. With the assistance of Sykes (co-author: Blow by Blow: The Story of Isabella Blow, 2010), Taylor is at his best when describing his working-class roots and his close, only-child relationship with his parents. Eventually, Taylor was “drawn inexorably toward pop music and the culture around it.” He chronicles the forming of the band, their rise from obscurity to superstardom, the inevitable rifts that had the band forming and reforming, and their inexorable fall from chart-topping grace as pop-music tastes moved on. Yet even at the height of Duran Duran’s popularity, Taylor was plagued by powerful self-doubts and unhappiness. “I was struck by the idea that ten thousand people wanted to have a relationship with me and I could barely have a relationship with myself,” he writes. Addictions—to alcohol, drugs, sex, fame—filled the void. In the late 1990s, Taylor entered rehab and has been, not without struggle, clean and sober ever since. He claims that Duran Duran remains a relevant band: “The music never sounded better.”
The book is a familiar tale of rock ’n’ roll, sin and redemption, but Taylor’s capable voice make this a more nuanced and intriguing memoir than might be expected.