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Arcadia were the pop group formed in 1985 by Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor of Duran Duran, during a break in that band's schedule. However, Roger Taylor appeared in only a few band photographs and in none of the music videos, and stated he was only to be involved in the recording side of the project (he also had minor involvement in The Power Station, the other Duran Duran splinter group). The name of the band was reportedly inspired by the Nicolas Poussin painting Et in Arcadia ego (also known as "The Arcadian Shepherds").

Music career

So Red the Rose (1985)

The group recorded just one album, the platinum-selling So Red the Rose. It peaked at no.30 in the UK and no.23 in the US, and featured the UK/US top 10 single "Election Day," as well as "The Flame," "The Promise," and "Goodbye Is Forever". Simon Le Bon described So Red the Rose as "the most pretentious album ever made", while Allmusic called it "the best album Duran Duran never made". Musicians who contributed to the album included guitarists David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and Carlos Alomar, pianist Herbie Hancock, Sting (who provided backing vocals on "The Promise"), Grace Jones (who provided brief but dramatic spoken-word interludes on "The Flame" and "Election Day"), bass player Mark Egan of the Pat Metheny Group (whose very distinctive fretless sound can be recognised in "The Promise", "El Diablo" and "Lady Ice") and David Van Tieghem, a percussionist from New York.

The band also realised music videos directed by Roger Christian, Marcelo Anciano, Russell Mulcahy and Dean Chamberlain, and recorded the single "Say the Word" for the Playing for Keeps movie soundtrack.

Band changes

Arcadia continued the Duran Duran tradition of a slick image, tasteful fashions and hair-dos. For the Arcadia incarnation of their ever-changing band aesthetic, Le Bon, Rhodes, and Roger Taylor donned an upmarket 'gothic' look of black tuxedos, vintage formal wear, and bow ties. The three also dyed their hair black, as seen when they performed (as Duran Duran, with Andy and John Taylor) at the 1985 Live Aid concert in Philadelphiamarker.

Other appearances

The group did a variety of promotional appearances on television, but never toured, and dissolved a year later in 1986 when Duran Duran re-formed with Le Bon, Rhodes, and bassist John Taylor to record their next album Notorious. During the tour to support Notorious, Duran Duran played the Arcadia single "Election Day" as well as "Some Like it Hot" from the Power Station record. Drummer Roger Taylor retired from the music business for 15 years after the release of the Arcadia album, but returned to rejoin the original Duran Duran line-up in 2001.


Studio album

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications

(sales threshold)





1985 So Red the Rose 23 30 48 22 14
  • US: Platinum
  • CAN: 2× Platinum


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
1985 "Election Day" 6 29 7 4 7 12 18 5 So Red the Rose
1986 "Goodbye Is Forever" 33
"The Promise" 37 24
"The Flame" 58 38 29
"Say the Word" Playing for Keeps (soundtrack)
"—" denotes releases that did not chart




  • So Red the Rose (EMI 1987, VHS) - including Election Day, The Promise, Goodbye Is Forever, The Flame and the unreleased video of "Missing" directed by Dean Chamberlain, plus documentary about the making of the videos.


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