Battle of the bands: Duran Duran vs Adam Ant

Adam-Ant-Duran-Duran The eighties are back in a big way, and two of the best acts from that decade are on the road right now. Duran Duran play The O2 on May 28 and Adam Ant returns at the O2 Academy Newcastle the following day to play his greatest hits with his new band, The Good, The Mad And Lovely Posse. 

But which is best? Read on for this month's battle of the bands as we pit the flamboyant Mr Ant against Birmingham's most glamorous band…

Chart history

Duran Duran

Over their 33 year career, Duran Duran have sold over 100m records but their chart history has been a little checkered. Though they've had 31 Top 40 singles, they've only managed to get two of them to the top spot (The Reflex and Is There Something I Should Know?). 

Surprisingly their most famous hit stalled a little further down the chart, with Rio dancing its way to number nine, Hungry Like The Wolf halting at number five and Wild Boys and A View To A Kill both nearly making it with number two placings.

Adam Ant

Adam Ant hasn't managed to release as many singles as Duran Duran with just 16 Top 40 hits, however he's still managed to nab more number ones. Adam has three to his name so far with Stand And Deliver (1981), Prince Charming (1981) and Goody Two-Shoes (1982). 

He also came close with Ant Music and Kings Of The Wild Frontier, which hit number two in 1980 and 1981 respectively. Ant Rap, Dog Eat Dog and Puss 'n Boots all made the top five.

Result: a narrow win for Duran Duran.

Recent form

Duran Duran

Duran Duran's form since their 80s heyday has fluctuated as frequently as their lineup, with original members leaving and returning to the group on a confusingly regular basis. 

Despite making the universally panned covers record, Thank You, in 1995 (which featured a bizarre cover of Public Enemy's 911 Is A Joke), the band has continued to release well-received new material with their 13th album, All You Need Is Now. It topped download charts in 15 countries in November 2010.

Adam Ant

Adam Ant faced personal difficulties during the nineties and noughties, but his music has grown in appeal. In October 2008, he received the Q Icon award at the Q Awards and has been playing live and writing new material ever since. 

Last month, Jamie Reynolds of Klaxons revealed that he will be producing and helping to film a documentary on Adam's tour with the new band which should include the Newcastle date.

Result: a draw with both acts in resurgent form

Most ridiculous video moment

Duran Duran

With yachts, spy plots and Mad Max-style outfits a plenty, Duran Duran videos became a byword for 80s pop excess, but Wild Boys stands out amongst them. Filmed on the James Bond stage at Pinewood Studios, the video featured Simon Le Bon lashed to a wheel that dunked his head underwater with each revolution. 

The story goes that at one point during the filming it got stuck, leaving him with his head stuck under water. It became pop legend. Le Bon says it never happened but choreographer Arlene Phillips who worked out the dance routines says otherwise.

Adam Ant

The Adam Ant video back catalogue is rich with ridiculousness, but Prince Charming is still his finest moment. In a twist on Cinderella, Adam finds himself helped by a fairy godmother to go from drably dressed pauper to a brightly dressed prince with curious makeup who takes over the ball with a dance that even the most clumsy pop fan can mimic. The fairy godmother in the video was blonde bombshell Diana Dors in one of her final screen roles.

Result: a win for Duran Duran purely for that near-death-experience

Coolest cover version

Duran Duran

Hungry Like The Wolf gets a fresh set of teeth in Hole's version. Recorded as an outtake during the Live Through This sessions. Hole also played the track during their somewhat intense MTV Unplugged session, which was replete with covers.

Adam Ant

While it's not the most famous Adam and The Ants song, Nine Inch Nails did a brilliant version of Physical (You're So) from Kings Of The Wild Frontier on their 1992 EP, Broken. 

Result: a win for Adam Ant for gaining the patronage of Oscar winner Trent

And the winner is…

For the sheer number of hits they've got in their back catalogue it has to be Duran Duran. While Adam Ant will undoubtedly deliver a seriously enjoyable retro rush when he strikes up Prince Charming or Ant Music, both acts have enough in the bank to transcend their 80s icon status and put on a good show.


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