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Duran Duran’s photographer shares ‘memories’ of the band’s 1984 tour

For a photographer, covering the biggest rock band on the planet is no small feat, especially when it comes to meeting the band’s rabid young fans. This was certainly the case of the famous British photographer Denis O’Regan, who had unprecedented access to Duran Duran on their Sing Blue Silver tours in 1984.

For example, the group – Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor – would be locked up in hotels under pseudonyms and hunted down by their predominantly female fans camping downstairs. It got to the point where O’Regan himself received phone calls in his hotel room from those fans hoping to hook up with a band member.

“If you wanted to find the band, you phoned the few best hotels and asked me,” O’Regan recalled to Pleasemynews with a laugh. “So I would get a phone call in the middle of the night, ‘Oh, how’s John?’ “Well, thank you for waking me up. But as far as I can tell, he’s fine. “It was interesting in New York, having to move around all the time. So a lot of that kind of blockage.”

It’s just one of the unique moments that O’Regan – who photographed rock luminaries like the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Queen throughout his career – remembers photographing the 1984 tour, which is the subject of his latest photo book. Duran Duran: carefree memories. First published in 2015 as a limited edition premium book and now reprinted as a consumer version, carefree memorys features the flying footage of O’Regan capturing the British band at the peak of their popularity.

“It’s really for the fans,” O’Regan says of the new edition, “and the band are really, really excited about the idea too because it’s an affordable version for people who don’t have couldn’t buy the special limited edition. So that made everyone happy, including myself.”

By 1984 Duran Duran were global superstars, having taken the world by storm with hits such as ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’, ‘Rio’ and ‘Is There Something I Should Know’ and their innovative music videos. Before joining Duran Duran on the road, O’Regan had just completed a stint photographing David Bowie in 1983 serious moonlight travel.

“David thought I was crazy,” O’Regan recalled. “He said, ‘What are you doing after the tour?’ I said, ‘I’m going on tour with Duran Duran.’ He said, ‘You are crazy.’ What happened was that I was friends with the band, they probably loved the fact that I had just toured with David, who is their hero.

“Towards the end of serious moonlight tour, we were in Australia, where Duran Duran was recording Seven and the Ragged Tiger. They came to the hotel. A lot happened that night and they asked me to go on tour. The Bowie Tour ended after the Duran Duran Tour started. Of all the places the little I missed was the UK [dates], but I joined them as soon as I could thereafter. It was either do this tour or not.”

O’Regan’s timing to photograph the Sing Blue Silver The tour was flawless as Duran Duran conquered America, very similar to what another British rock band had done two decades earlier.

“They became huge on this tour because they really became MTV stars,” O’Regan said of Duran Duran. “MTV had just started, and the girls went crazy when they arrived in America, which was what everyone expected. The band didn’t realize it would be like this exactly 20 years after the Beatles. C It was a new type of Beatlemania. And for me, it was great to have been inside while it was happening. So that part was really, really fun.

In carefree memories, O’Regan’s photos of the band on stage document the energy and excitement of a Duran Duran show from this tour, which is symbolized by a photo of John Taylor staring at the camera with a wide smile on his face. . Additionally, the book features many candid shots of the band backstage as well as in hotel rooms and limos, which feature all of the musicians in light, contemplative moments never before seen by audiences.

“When I’m on tour and I spend a lot of time documenting a band,” O’Regan explains, “my goal in my mind is to make a book at some point anyway. That’s how I see it. lots of photos, although I was producing photos to send to the press at the time which was very handy for the band as when they weren’t in the UK the photos were sent back to the UK to maintain presence.

O’Regan’s close-up and intimate photos paint a portrait of Duran Duran enjoying himself like never before, even as the band members lived in a bubble under the intense gaze of the media and their fandom.

“There’s a picture of John Taylor’s feet on the table in the dressing room with a bottle of champagne next to it. [them]”, says O’Regan. “And for me, that kind of sums up being on tour with Duran Duran. So I took this photo, but it was never going to be a press photo. It was always going to be in a book. That’s why a lot of photos were taken in the first place.”

Besides being musically talented, the members of Duran Duran were extremely photogenic.

“They weren’t an old grizzly rock band,” O’Regan says. “It was five beautiful, fashionable and popular people. So it was a pleasure to photograph them. The next morning when you’re at the airport, not everyone looks very glamorous. You So get both sides. You never know how a tour is going to be.”

O’Regan’s friendship with Duran Duran dates back to 1981 when he first photographed the band performing in their native UK for a German magazine. He had a fan in the person of John Taylor who was already familiar with O’Regan’s photos for the British music press.

O’Regan said, “So I went to the show and then I went to their dressing room. I met them all. John said, ‘Denis O’Regan? I know you. You took those pictures in NME and you had this photo on this page.’ So we had that connection.”

Another important element of O’Regan’s book is the photos of Duran Duran’s female fanbase, which played a huge role in the band’s history. And like Duran Duran, O’Regan himself was in the eye of the storm.

“I was accompanied by a police escort,” he recalls. “Security was well thought out. It was the old story of having to meet the car in the underground car park and then exit to the hotel that way because if we entered through the lobby there would be carnage. And at one place, we went through the kitchen. It was just ridiculous.”

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