Nick Rhodes is an English singer and musician who co-founded the ‘new wave’ band ‘Duran Duran’ in the late 1970s. He played a big part in the band’s success during their popular run in Europe and later in the United States. The band sold over 100 million copies worldwide and also dominated the Billboard Hot 100 charts for a long time. Nick Rhodes is the only member of the band who has been associated with it since its inception in 1978, and also the youngest of the founding members. He is the keyboardist of the band as well as one of the backing vocalists. He is credited to be one of the most influential individuals in the world of music by his fellow band members, especially the longest-serving lead vocalist, Simon Le Bon, who describes him as the ‘The Controller’ during live shows. Apart from his association with the band, Rhodes has also worked with some of his bandmates on a side project named ‘Arcadia’. They released a very successful album under the name of ‘Arcadia’ and several other hit singles as well.
Childhood & Early Life
Nick Rhodes was born as Nicholas James Bates on June 8, 1962, in Moseley, Birmingham, West Midlands, to the owners of a Birmingham toy shop.
He attended Woodrush High School in Wythall. At the age of sixteen, Rhodes decided to quit school and concentrate on music.
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In 1978, Nicholas Bates along with his three friends, John Taylor, Stephen Duffy, and Simon Colley, formed the band ‘Duran Duran’. In the beginning, Nick had the stage name ‘Master Bates’ which was given to him by his bandmate John Taylor. However, he felt the name did not create a good impression and eventually adopted the stage name “Nick Rhodes” instead.
After the formation of the band, the group started to perform at a local bar and the owner of the bar decided to help them as their manager. The band used the analogue synthesizer during their early days.
Rhodes’ contribution during the early days of the band’s growth was immense. Despite being a self-taught musician, he put in great effort in creating music for the band. He helped the band create its own identity in the world of music.
Through thick and thin, Rhodes stuck with the band and was part of all the 14 albums released by the band. The band was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1993 and won more than ten awards, including two Grammys in 1984.
Apart from his involvement with ‘Duran Duran’, Rhodes teamed up with some of his band members to start a side project titled ‘Arcadia’. The group consisted of Rhodes, Simon Le Bon, and Roger Taylor.
The project Arcadia was live between 1985 and 1986. They released an album, ‘So Red the Rose’, during that time as well as a few popular singles. The album was a huge hit and received 2x platinum certification in Canada.
Arcadia’s popular singles include ‘Election Day’, ‘Goodbye Is Forever,’ and ‘The Promise’. They also released the music videos of these singles.
Rhodes worked for a few other bands as well. He helped another British new wave band, ‘Kajagoogoo’ in producing their debut album which topped the UK Chart. He later helped yet another band, ‘Blondie’, by co-producing their album in the mid-1990s.
Nick Rhodes has been the most influential member of the band ‘Duran Duran.’ Some of their iconic songs like ‘Save A Prayer’, ‘Ordinary World’, and ‘Come Undone’ became so popular mainly because of his mastery on the keyboards. His signature style of playing the keyboards became an identifying feature of the band.
His side project, ‘Arcadia’, with Simon LeBon and Roger Taylor, was another one of his career highlights. The group released an album together which was certified platinum in US and received a 2x platinum certification in Canada.
Arcadia also released a few popular songs like ‘Election Day’ that peaked at number seven on the UK Singles Chart. The single also broke into the top ten Charts in US, New Zealand, Norway and Ireland.
Family & Personal Life
Nick Rhodes first met Julie Anne Friedman, the heiress to the USA Younkers Department Store fortune, in a party, in 1982. Two years later, they got married on August 18, 1984.
The couple had a daughter together, Tatjana Lee Orchid, born on 23 August, 1986. However, the marriage didn’t last long, and six years after the birth of their only daughter, the couple went their separate ways and eventually divorced.
Besides being inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1993 with ‘Duran Duran,’ Rhodes has also received an honorary doctorate degree in arts from the University of Bedfordshire, as a tribute to his exemplary contribution to the music industry.