Reviews for In The Pleasure Groove : Love, Death & Duran Duran

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #1
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. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2012 May #2

Founded in Birmingham, England, in the late 1970s by bassist Taylor and Nick Rhodes, Duran Duran went on to define pop music in the 1980s; vibrant music videos pushed the band into the stardust. Taylor offers an account of Duran Duran's music making and his battles with his personal demons, cocaine and alcohol, as he tried to fathom it all. Hey, the band has sold 80 million records, and recent reviews of their reportedly sold-out concerts have a "they've-still-got-it" ring.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #5

Duran Duran was one of the most successful pop groups of the early 1980s and is still performing today--outliving such contemporaries as Spandau Ballet and Culture Club. Founding member and bass player Taylor delivers a straightforward look at the band's career that will be of interest primarily to its still sizable fan base and anyone who once was a Duran fan. Like Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran, guitarist Andy Taylor's 2008 biography, Taylor covers most of the band's high points: its groundbreaking music videos that put MTV on the map, its success in America and its starring appearance at Live Aid in 1985. But unlike Andy Taylor in Wild Boy, John Taylor doesn't back away from describing the heavy drug use that later led to his entering rehab. Taylor offers some fascinating insights into the way London's pop music scene shifted from punk rock's "three-chord angry noise" to "New Romanticism," a revival of 1970s glam rock with a heavy disco beat: "Multimedia, fashion, dance, art. We wanted it all in the mix." Taylor also insightfully notes that the Live Aid concert--perhaps the band's peak performance--created "an immense sea change" in pop culture. "Things that you could get away with in 1984, you could not get away with twelve months later" as the stripped-down "indie rock" of bands like the Smiths swept away the excesses of the New Romantics. (Oct.)

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