Simon John Charles Le Bon (born 27 October 1958) is an English musician, singer, songwriter and lyricist, best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the band Duran Duran and its offshoot, Arcadia (band), Arcadia. Le Bon has received three Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, including the award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.

Early life

Le Bon was born on 27 October 1958 near Bushey, Hertfordshire, England, the first of three boys for Ann-Marie Le Bon, followed by his younger brothers, David and Jonathan (b. 1965). His surname is of Huguenots, Huguenot origin. His mother encouraged his artistic talent when he was six years old by entering him in a screen test for a Persil washing powder TV advert. He was a member of the local church choir from a young age, but was also trained as an actor.


Simon Le Bon went to Pinner County Grammar School in Pinner, Middlesex, the same school that Elton John attended some years earlier. He also attended Nower Hill High School, the same school his mother attended and in 1978 studied Drama at the University of Birmingham.


Before Duran Duran

He worked as a theatre porter at Northwick Park Hospital Accident and Casualty, and also auditioned for a punk band at Harrow College. He appeared in a few television commercials and also in several theatre productions including Tom Brown's Schooldays in the West End of London. Le Bon Kibbutz volunteer, worked on a kibbutz – an Israeli collective community – in the Negev desert in Israel in 1978, and then returned to England to study drama at the University of Birmingham before meeting the fledgling band Duran Duran in 1980.

Duran Duran

Duran Duran was founded by childhood friends John Taylor (bass guitarist), John Taylor and Nick Rhodes along with singer/songwriter Stephen Duffy in 1978, but Duffy left a year later, convinced they weren't going anywhere. The band went through a long succession of lineup changes after Duffy's departure, but finally settled on a guitarist and drummer. The band had a powerful pop sound flavoured with disco, funk and electronics, built on a solid rock rhythm section, and all they needed was a charismatic singer with a distinctive voice. Le Bon's ex-girlfriend, Fiona Kemp (a barmaid at the Rum Runner (nightclub), Rum Runner nightclub where Duran Duran were rehearsing), introduced him to the band in May 1980, recommending him as a potential vocalist. As band legend has it, he turned up for the audition wearing pink leopard-print trousers, and carrying a notebook containing a large collection of poetry, poems he had written—several of which would later become tracks on the early Duran Duran albums. After listening to the songs the band had already composed together, Le Bon spent some time fitting one of his poems ("Sound of Thunder") to one of the instrumentals, and found they had a good match. Le Bon agreed to "try [Duran Duran] out for the summer"; within six weeks the band was playing steadily around Birmingham, London and Nottingham, and a national tour supporting Hazel O'Connor led to a record deal with EMI Records in December that year. The band's first album, ''Duran Duran (1981 album), Duran Duran'', was released in 1981, and they quickly became famous as part of the New Romantic movement. Three more albums followed in quick succession: ''Rio (Duran Duran album), Rio'' (1982), ''Seven and the Ragged Tiger'' (1983) and the live album ''Arena (Duran Duran album), Arena'' (1984). Each album release was accompanied by heavy media promotion and a lengthy concert tour. By mid-1984, the band were ready for a break. Duran Duran's only other work that year was an appearance on the 1984 Band Aid (band), Band Aid charity single, "Do They Know It's Christmas". Following the departures of Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor, Le Bon, Rhodes and John Taylor continued on as Duran Duran, recording and releasing ''Notorious (Duran Duran album), Notorious'' (1986) and ''Big Thing (Duran Duran album), Big Thing'' (1988). The group added guitarist Warren Cuccurullo and drummer Sterling Campbell and recorded the album ''Liberty (Duran Duran album), Liberty'' (1990), but the band's success had begun to wane in the late 1980s. Duran Duran had a resurgence in popularity in 1993 with ''Duran Duran (1993 album), The Wedding Album'', featuring the top-10 single "Ordinary World (song), Ordinary World". Several months into the extensive worldwide concert tour supporting this album, Le Bon suffered a torn vocal cord, and the tour was postponed for six weeks while he recovered. In 1995, Duran Duran released the covers album ''Thank You (Duran Duran album), Thank You'', and Le Bon had the chance to cover some of his favourite artists, (Jim Morrison, Lou Reed and Elvis Costello), but the album was severely panned by critics from all quarters. That year Le Bon also performed Duran Duran's 1993 hit "Ordinary World" with opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti during a "Children of Bosnia" benefit concert for War Child. Le Bon described the event to Jam! Showbiz thusly: "If you're talking about name dropping, he's one of the biggest names you could drop, Pav-The-Man". When bass guitarist John Taylor left the band in 1997, Le Bon and Rhodes remained as the only two members who had been with Duran Duran from the beginning of their recording career. The successive two albums with Le Bon, Rhodes and Cuccurullo, ''Medazzaland'' (1997) and ''Pop Trash'' (2000) were not commercial successes. In 2001, Duran Duran's original five members reunited to record a new album, ''Astronaut (Duran Duran album), Astronaut'', for Epic Records. ''Astronaut'' was released worldwide on 11 October 2004. The album was preceded by the single "(Reach Up For The) Sunrise", their first UK Top 10 single in a decade.


Before Duran Duran reunited in 1986, Le Bon formed the band Arcadia (band), Arcadia with fellow Duran Duran members Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor (Duran Duran drummer), Roger Taylor. The band had a UK/US top 10 hit with their first single "Election Day (song), Election Day", and released one album, ''So Red The Rose'' in 1985.

Solo excursions

While Le Bon has been in Duran Duran for the band's entire recording history, he has also dabbled in solo outings. In 1985, for the Whitbread Round the World Race, he contributed a song entitled "Grey Lady Of The Sea" and narrated a video of that year's race called ''Drum'' (1987). "Grey Lady Of The Sea" was released as a single in Japan in 1988. In 1989, for Jonathan Elias' ''Requiem For The Americas'' project, Le Bon contributed "Follow In My Footsteps", with The Bangles' Susanna Hoffs on background vocals. The track was released on 7" single in Italy that year. In 1998, along with friend Nick Wood and wife Yasmin, he set up SYN Entertainment (Simon Yasmin Nick) in Tokyo, Japan. Having first conceived the idea in 1988, Le Bon is currently described as SYN's "Founder and Chairman", while Wood is "Founder, President and Creative Director". In 2000, SYN Entertainment founded SYN Records which has released a number of compilations, some of which have included contributions by Le Bon. Another solo track, "Dreamboy", was featured on the SYN-released soundtrack to the Mario Van Peebles movie ''Love Kills''. Also in 2000, SYN co-executive produced the Duran Duran album ''Pop Trash'' along with Nick Rhodes and Warren Cuccurullo's side-venture TV Mania. In October 2005 Dutch trance Ferry Corsten, DJ Ferry Corsten released the track "Fire (Ferry Corsten song), Fire", with vocals by Simon Le Bon. It was a remix of the lesser known Duran Duran single "Serious (Duran Duran song), Serious", from the album ''Liberty (Duran Duran album), Liberty''. (full credits: Ferry Corsten feat. Simon Le Bon - Fire (Flashover remix), on Flashover Recordings) In late 2006, Le Bon became a member of Shinzou Sound, and took part in the Japan-based online manga project, 'Synesthesia', by co-writing the theme song 'Nobody Knows' along with Nick Wood. In 2010, Le Bon collaborated on the song "Record Collection", the title track from Mark Ronson's Record Collection (album), third album. In the song, Le Bon is heard singing the chorus, along with Mark Ronson and hip hop artist Wiley (rapper), Wiley. Ronson later produced Duran Duran's 2010 album ''All You Need Is Now'', and 2015's ''Paper Gods''.

Personal life

In the early 1980s, Le Bon was engaged to his then longtime girlfriend, model-turned-actress Claire Stansfield. After breaking up with her, he wooed model (person), fashion model Yasmin Le Bon, Yasmin Parvaneh. Seeing her face in a magazine, he phoned her modeling agency, modelling agency to track her down and they married on 27 December 1985. Yasmin suffered two miscarriages, but the couple went on to have three daughters: Amber Le Bon, Amber Rose Tamara Le Bon (born 25 August 1989), a model like her mother; Saffron Sahara Le Bon (born 25 September 1991); and Tallulah Pine Le Bon (born 10 September 1994). He became a grandfather on June 6, 2018 when his daughter Saffron gave birth to a baby boy named Taro Arturo. During Duran Duran's hiatus in 1985, Le Bon drew media attention when his maxi yacht, ''Drum (yacht), Drum'', lost its keel and capsized during the Fastnet race, just off Falmouth, Cornwall, Falmouth, along the southern coast of Cornwall. Before being rescued, Le Bon and other crew members were trapped under the boat, inside the hull, for forty minutes. They were all rescued by the Royal Navy, using a Search and Rescue helicopter from 771 Naval Air Squadron based near Helston. The rescue earned the Rescue Diver, POACMN L Slater, a George Medal. Despite the accident, Le Bon and ''Drum'' went on to participate in the 1985-1986 Whitbread Round the World Race, coming in third overall in elapsed time. Le Bon and his partners eventually sold ''Drum''; the events surrounding ''Drum'' and the races were chronicled in a 1989 movie entitled ''Drum – The Journey Of A Lifetime'' and the book ''One Watch at a Time'' written by ''Drums skipper, Skip Novak. Twenty years after his accident, in 2005, Le Bon made public his desire to race again. During a touring break in August 2005, Le Bon again raced ''Drum'' in the Fastnet race, borrowing the vessel from her current owner (the late Scottish multi car garage owner Sir Arnold Clark) to participate, and raising funds for the RNLI charity. Le Bon had to leave the race unfinished, as light winds were slowing ''Drum'' (and the other competitors), and would have delayed the boat's arrival at Plymouth, interfering with Le Bon's obligation to perform in Japan. He appears as the narrator in a documentary film project called The Weekend Sailor which is about a Swan 65 sailing yacht called Sayula II that won the first Whitbread Round the World sailing race in 1973/74. In 2009 Le Bon (who describes himself as a "concerned agnostic") contributed an essay to the book ''The Atheist's Guide to Christmas'', edited by Ariane Sherine. In 2014, he became a distinguished supporter of Humanists UK. Le Bon injured his vocal cords and was unable to finish his 2011 summer tour. He remarked, "I am trying to be philosophical." On July 11, 2018, Le Bon was accused by a therapist named Shereen Hariri of sexually assaulting her at The Wherehouse, a record store she worked for at the time during a photograph session on April 10, 1995. He responded via the band's social media pages denying the allegation saying in part, "I have always been one who can admit to my mistakes and apologize for my failings. But I cannot apologize for something I did not do."


Further reading


External links

SYN Entertainment official website

Duran Duran official website
* {{DEFAULTSORT:Le Bon, Simon 1958 births Alumni of the University of Birmingham Duran Duran members English people of French descent English agnostics English new wave musicians English pop singers English songwriters English male sailors (sport) British synth-pop new wave musicians Ivor Novello Award winners Living people People from Bushey People from Pinner English tenors Musicians from Hertfordshire Male new wave singers Volvo Ocean Race sailors