Simon Le Bon, lead singer of the 1980s band Duran Duran, was a special guest at the Brevard Cultural Alliance’s 2019 Cultural Summit in Melbourne
Tim Shortt, FLORIDA TODAY
Two months ago, Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon and John Taylor inducted Roxy Music into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during a gala ceremony in New York.
But Duran Duran — the iconic 1980s British new wave band synonymous with MTV and remembered for No. 1 hits “The Reflex” and “A View to a Kill” — remains outside the hall looking in.
“If by any quirk of fate or chance we did get inducted, we would be incredibly proud,” Le Bon told an adoring audience Thursday during an appearance in Melbourne, Florida.
“And we’d welcome it with open arms,” he said.
Duran Duran’s lead singer packed the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place ballroom for a question-and-answer session during the Brevard Cultural Alliance’s 2019 Cultural Summit.
Fans cheered and screamed, waved copies of the hit 1982 “Rio” record, and encouraged him to perform at the King Center for the Performing Arts. A few sported Duran Duran tattoos. They also held up so many phones to film Le Bon that he joked, “I think they’re watching Wham videos.”
Le Bon met one of his namesake fans: Rio Ricardo, a 9-year-old fourth-grader from Dade City. He brought Rio on stage and hugged her while her mother, Jill, wiped away tears.
“I’ve been a fan since 1982. First song I heard on the radio was ‘Hungry Like the Wolf,” and I fell in love,” said Jill Ricardo, who has seen Duran Duran more than 30 times.
“When I was 14, I said, ‘Someday I’m going to have a little girl, and I’m going to name her Rio.’ When she was 3 days old, the song came on the radio in the car — and I held my breath through the entire first verse until the chorus came on,” Ricardo recalled.
“I was like, ‘Yes! Yes!’ It was totally the right decision,” she said.
Duran Duran has 11 Billboard Top 10 hits, including “Union of the Snake,” “Notorious” and “The Wild Boys.” The band’s 14th album,”Paper Gods,” debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 chart in September 2015. Tour dates are scheduled next month in Iceland and Denmark.
“I would like people to just still play Duran Duran music, whether it’s the party pieces, whether it’s the rockers, whether it’s the ballads or the smooth, esoteric stuff. I don’t care,” Le Bon said.
“I just want the music to be there,” he said, pointing toward the crowd.
Duran Duran is working on its next studio album in London and Los Angeles with producer Erol Alkan from the dance music scene.
“In a very short amount of actual time, we’ve come up with a lot of music. We’re very excited about that,” Le Bon said.
Nicki Hensley, a Brevard Public Schools spokeswoman, went on stage and showed Le Bon photos of them together backstage in 1987 at Madison Square Garden. Then 16, she had compiled a picture album of his wife, fashion model Yasmin Parvaneh — and the album caught the eye of Le Bon’s bodyguard, who invited her backstage.
“For a Long Island 16-year-old, it was the best day of your life. I just remember how kind he was — and really, we saw that today,” Hensley said after Le Bon’s Melbourne appearance.
“He’s just personable and kind and gracious. He’s not this larger-than-life person that’s unapproachable,” she said.
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