Taylor was born at Sorento Maternity Hospital in Birmingham to Jack and Eugenie (Jean) Taylor. John and Roger Taylor are 2nd cousins (they share the same great-grandmother). He grew up in Hollywood, a suburb of Birmingham, England. As a child he was a shy boy who attended Our Lady of the Wayside Catholic primary school and Abbey High School, Redditch, wore glasses (due to severe myopia, over -10 dioptres), enjoyed James Bond-movies, and the hobby of wargaming with hand-painted model soldiers. In his early teen years he discovered music, choosing Roxy Music as his favourite band, and before long was collecting records and teaching himself to play guitar. His first band was called Shock Treatment.
1978-1997: Duran Duran and The Power Station
In 1978, Taylor and school friend Nick Rhodes formed Duran Duran. Soon after Taylor underwent an "ugly duckling" transformation -- ditching the glasses for contact lenses, adopting the ruffles and sashes of the fashion that would become known as the New Romantic style, and learning to wear eyeliner and lip color. He stopped using the name "Nigel", and was known throughout his professional career as John Taylor.
Taylor played guitar when Duran Duran was founded, but switched to bass guitar after discovering the funky rhythms of Chic, and learned to enjoy playing in the rhythm section with Duran's newly recruited drummer Roger Taylor. He has frequently cited Chic's Bernard Edwards and The Clash's Joe Strummer as his strongest influences, in addition to Paul McCartney, James Jamerson, and Roxy Music players Graham Simpson and John Porter.
Duran Duran released its first album in 1981, and went on to worldwide success in the early 1980s.
Duran Duran's early music tended to feature prominent, almost melodic bass lines, following the model of funk and disco songs like "Good Times". Although it was occasionally plain in the beginning that Taylor's playing was naïve and self-taught, he developed a unique undulating style that has since inspired many imitators. It was John Taylor who played bass on the Band Aid charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
As Duran Duran became famous in the early 1980s, Taylor's individual celebrity grew. His picture was a staple of teen magazines, and he won numerous popularity polls, including appearances on People Magazine's annual list of "Sexiest People". He lived a lavish lifestyle with homes in London and Paris, and owned several cars, which he rarely had a chance to drive, including the Bond-style Aston Martin of which he had always dreamed. He dated fashion models, such as Bond girl Janine Andrews and "Face of the '80s" Renee Simonsen, was welcome at parties all over the world, and developed the cocaine addiction to go with the rest of his high living.
In 1985, after recording "A View to a Kill" for the Bond-movie of the same name, Duran Duran split into two side projects called Arcadia and The Power Station. This led to a short Cameo in Arcadia's "The Flame". John Taylor and Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor joined forces with singer Robert Palmer and former Chic drummer Tony Thompson to form the band The Power Station. With the guidance of producer Bernard Edwards, they, released one album, The Power Station, which produced the hit singles "Some Like It Hot" and the T.Rex cover song "Get It On (Bang a Gong)".
That year, Taylor also launched his first solo effort, recording the single "I Do What I Do" for the soundtrack to the movie 9½ Weeks. He also wrote some instrumental music for the movie's score with collaborator Jonathan Elias.
Although Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor left the band, the three remaining Duran Duran members reformed for the 1986 Notorious album, and continued to record and tour throughout the 1990s with new guitarist Warren Cuccurullo. Taylor recorded a fair amount of unreleased solo material on the side, including several tracks used on the soundtrack of the Allison Anders movie Mi Vida Loca.
In 1991, Taylor married 19-year-old actress and party girl Amanda De Cadenet, who was already pregnant with his daughter, Atlanta. He moved from England to Los Angeles, California to help further his wife's acting career, which exacerbated tensions within Duran Duran. Taylor's marriage declined even as Duran Duran's star rose with the success of 1993's The Wedding Album. In late 1994, Taylor sought treatment for his cocaine and alcohol addictions, and has remained sober since.
Duran Duran's success rapidly waned with the widely derided 1995 covers album Thank You. Following that album's supporting tour, Duran Duran spent part of the summer of 1995 in London working on the album Medazzaland. Concurrently, Taylor devoted time to the side project Neurotic Outsiders, recording and touring with that band from the end of 1995 through the start of 1996.
1997-2001: Solo career
In 1996, Taylor co-founded the independent record label B5 Records in California with producer Hein Hoven. B5 Records originally recorded from Hoven's Lake Hollywood home but eventually built a state of the art studio in Santa Monica, California dubbed "B5 by the Sea." The label had a cutting-edge website created by Kapil Mathur which featured a virtual journey through the B5 studios, and which allowed visitors to "interact" with Taylor and Hoven using mobile avatars in a virtual environment.
At B5, Taylor sang and played guitar and bass on his first solo album, "Feelings Are Good and Other Lies", working with collaborator Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols. The home-grown album was marketed by mail order, and capitalized on the Internet savvy of the Duran Duran fanbase by selling its CDs directly via the website. The music and vocals were generally rough and raw, much more akin to punk music than to Duran Duran, while the lyrics reflected Taylor's chaotic personal life and his ongoing divorce from De Cadenet. He made an attempt to reunite The Power Station in late 1996, but his problems forced him to withdraw from the project, which went on to record and tour with Bernard Edwards in his stead.
The increasing dissension within Duran Duran, the wreckage of his failed marriage and the challenge of maintaining his sobriety led Taylor to a breaking point. In January of 1997 he announced at a Duran Duran fan convention that he was leaving the band. (Afterward Duran Duran toured with Wes Wehmiller as bassist.)
He was soon recording more of his own material on B5 Records, releasing the EP Autodidact even as Feelings Are Good was re-released on the larger Canadian label DERock Records. B5 then issued a tribute album called "Dream Home Heartaches....Remaking/Remodeling Roxy Music, featuring Roxy Music covers by Taylor and many other local Los Angeles artists. The label also produced the album Sub Acid Sweet Songs for L.A. quartet Three Alarm Fire before Hein Hoven decided to leave the company. After that, the B5 Records company and the much-simplified website were renamed "Trust The Process", and focused on promoting Taylor's solo work rather than developing other acts.
During 1997 and 1998, Taylor built and toured with a band called "John Taylor Terroristen" (Gerry Laffy on guitar, Michael Railton / Tio Banks on keyboard, Larry Aberman on drums, John Amato on sax and flute) which played numerous shows in Southern California before touring the East and West Coasts of the United States. Terroristen released a live EP 5.30.98 and the accompanying video Better Off Alive through the Trust The Process website.
Taylor also began making forays into acting. His long friendship with Allison Anders led to a starring role in her independent film Sugar Town in 1998. He also appeared in small roles in several other movies and TV programmes over the next couple of years.
In 1999, Taylor released two albums of earlier material. The first, Resumé, was made up of unreleased music that he and Jonathan Elias had worked on together during the 1985 sessions for the 9½ Weeks movie soundtrack. The second, Meltdown, was a collection of tracks Taylor had laid down in 1992, during the extensive delays in Duran Duran's recording of The Wedding Album. Described by Taylor as "upbeat dance electronica with a hip hop influence", some of the lyrics reveal his disaffection with the Duran Duran lifestyle; he has said he came very near to leaving the band during that time, but was held back by the sudden success of "Ordinary World" and "Come Undone" in 1993."
Later in 1999 Taylor signed a recording contract with the Japanese record label Avex Trax, and released an album labeled simply John Taylor on the cover, but listed in his official discography as The Japan Album. John Taylor Terroristen did more touring in Japan, Germany and the United States. The Trust The Process website released an accompanying limited edition The Japan EP followed by the bootleg album Live Cuts featuring unretouched recordings of Taylor's live performances from that year.
He continued recording for Avex in 2000, and early in 2001 released Techno For Two, a decidedly non-techno album filled with very personal songs. Shortly after, as talks began for a potential Duran Duran reunion, Taylor decided to create a retrospective package called Retreat Into Art demonstrating his development over the previous five years; about half of the songs had not been previously released. A limited edition of 999 signed boxes contained two CDs, a poster, postcards, and more. After the signed boxes were sold out, the two-CD set was marketed on its own.
Taylor's final solo release, completed after the Duran Duran reunion was under way, was the collection MetaFour released in 2002. The album is divided into four thematic sections. The first contains instrumental music created for the 1992 film Mi Vida Loca. The second consists of previously unreleased live perfomances from various points in Taylor's early solo career, while the third contains a handful of acoustic performances and demos. The last section is a 17-minute question and answer session Taylor took part in at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood in 1998.
2001-2007: Duran Duran reunited
In 2000, Taylor was approached at his home in Los Angeles by singer Simon Le Bon about a possible reunion with Duran Duran, and he was enthusiastic about the idea as long as the other two Taylors (Roger and Andy, who had left the band in 1986) were willing to re-join as well. An agreement was soon reached, and Taylor demonstrated his renewed commitment to the band by inking an enormous linked-D's tattoo on his upper arm.
After a highly successful tour of Japan in 2003, the reunited band was signed with Epic Records, and released the album Astronaut in October 2004. They toured throughout the first half of 2005 before returning to the studio to work on their next new album. Guitarist Andy Taylor left the band again in October 2006, and recordings from this session (with the working title "Reportage") were set aside when the band got a chance to work with famed producer Timbaland. The resulting album, "Red Carpet Massacre", was released in November 2007. To celebrate its release the band took the unprecedented step of performing the album in its entirety for 10 special performances on Broadway in New York City, with a world tour in 2008.
In 2006 John and Nick Rhodes collaborate on the compilation album entitled "Only After Dark".
In December 2010, the band released its 13th studio album, All You Need is Now, on its own record label, Tapemodern. Initially, an abbreviated version was offered to iTunes, but the physical album arrived in stores in March 2011. To date, All You Need is Now has generated positive reviews for the band.
Over the years, Taylor has worked on projects with several other performers. He has performed with James Angell (Private Player In Concert), and played bass on the Deadsy song "She Likes Big Words" (Commencement). He co-wrote and played bass on the Mindi Abair song "It Just Happens That Way" (It Just Happens That Way), and did backing vocals on her cover of "Save Tonight".
He remixed the song, "Like A Hard Rain" (ID:2) for Japanese artist Nanase, and played on two songs for the Japanese band Slut Banks.
Taylor's side project Neurotic Outsiders has re-convened for an occasional live show or two since a surprise four-show stint at the Viper Room in 1999.
John Taylor made his first film appearance outside of Duran Duran as "The Hacker" (alongside then-girlfriend Virginia Hey) in the pilot episode of Timeslip, a 1985 TV programme that was not further developed. He later made a guest appearance in the 1985 Miami Vice episode titled Whatever Works. In the episode, he, along with Tony Thompson, Andy Taylor, and Michael Des Barres played The Power Station's 1985 hit "Get It On (Bang a Gong) ". John was the only band member who had spoken lines, introducing character Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) to new lead singer Michael Des Barres.
Taylor also made cameo appearances in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher in 2000, and That '80's Show: Sophia's Depressed in 2002. He also appeared on BBC Two comedy panel game Never Mind The Buzzcocks as a panellist in April 2001.
He makes a cameo appearance in the Bloodhound Gang's music video for the song "Your Only Friends Are Make Believe". He was "playing rock with himself... and losing" as described by Evil Jared Hasselhoff in the commentary for the the band's DVD One Fierce Beer Run.
The bass guitar most commonly associated with John Taylor is the Japanese Aria Pro II SB1000, which he used during the height of Duran Duran's fame; he also promoted the instrument in a series of magazine advertisements. In the mid-1980s, John tried other basses such as Steinberger and Wal (interestingly, although the Wal is considered by many to be one of the world's finest basses, Taylor was unimpressed with his). Taylor eventually settled on Phillip Kubicki's Factor bass with a unique drop-D latch on the head. Taylor also inherited the Music Man Sting Ray belonging to his idol Bernard Edwards.
As of 2007, Taylor still plays the Aria and the Stingray, but has also been seen playing a 1962 reissue Fender Precision Bass, a bass version of the Gibson Les Paul, a Warwick Thumb 5 and a Peavey Cirrus 5 and 4 string.
Noting Taylor's loyalty to the same Peavey bass guitar onstage with Duran Duran for several years, in early 2006, Peavey Guitars asked Taylor to create a signature 4-string bass guitar. With his design partner Patty Palazzo, and designer Ted McCann, Taylor created the limited-edition 'Peavey Liberator J-84', which featured a detachable amplifier built into a custom-built case. The amp could be expanded into an external speaker or amplifier to increase volume and flexibility. Taylor went on to design a six-string guitar, the 'Peavey Liberator A435' (named for the highway that led from his childhood home into the city of Birmingham, England), as well. Only 100 each of the numbered-and-signed basses and guitars were made available to the public, in October 2006.
Taylor remarried in 1999 to Gela Nash, co-owner of the popular 2000s fashion line, Juicy Couture. He is a passionate football fan, who supports Aston Villa FC and performed at the club during the MENCAP Concert in 1983.
- Is the main backing vocalist on most of the group's songs.
- 1981 - Duran Duran, Duran Duran
- 1982 - Duran Duran, Rio
- 1983 - Duran Duran, Seven and the Ragged Tiger
- 1984 - Duran Duran, Arena
- 1985 - Power Station, The Power Station
- 1986 - John Taylor, "I Do What I Do" single
- 1986 - Duran Duran, Notorious
- 1987 - Masami Tsuchiya, Life In Mirrors (bass)
- 1988 - Duran Duran, Big Thing
- 1988 - Christopher Max, More Than Physical (bass)
- 1989 - Duran Duran, Decade: Greatest Hits
- 1989 - Compilation, Requiem For The Americas (bass)
- 1990 - Duran Duran, Liberty
- 1990 - Gerry Laffy, Money And The Magic (bass)
- 1993 - Duran Duran, The Wedding Album
- 1995 - Duran Duran, Thank You
- 1996 - John Taylor, Feelings Are Good and Other Lies
- 1996 - Power Station, Living In Fear
- 1996 - Neurotic Outsiders, Neurotic Outsiders
- 1997 - John Taylor, Autodidact (EP)
- 1997 - Various, Radioactive Waste ("And There Are Lots And Lots of Ants")
- 1997 - Various, Dream Home Heartaches....Remaking/Remodeling Roxy Music
- 1997 - Duran Duran, Medazzaland (4 tracks)
- 1998 - Duran Duran, Greatest
- 1998 - John Taylor Terroristen, 5.30.98 (EP)
- 1999 - John Taylor Juicy Jeans Promo EP
- 1999 - John Taylor/Jonathan Elias, Resumé
- 1999 - John Taylor, Meltdown
- 1999 - John Taylor, The Japan Album
- 1999 - Favorite Blue, Solitude (bass)
- 2000 - John Taylor, The Japan EP
- 2000 - John Taylor, Live Cuts
- 2000 - John Taylor, "Mr.J"
- 2001 - John Taylor, Terroristen - Live at the Roxy
- 2001 - John Taylor, Techno For Two
- 2001 - John Taylor, Retreat Into Art
- 2002 - John Taylor, MetaFour
- 2002 - John Taylor, John Taylor Sampler
- 2002 - Deadsy, Commencement (bass)
- 2003 - Chris Catena, Freak Out (bass)
- 2003 - Aikawa Nanase, ID:2 (arranger, bass)
- 2003 - Mindi Abair, It Just Happens That Way (co-writer, bass)
- 2004 - Duran Duran, Astronaut
- 2006 - Compilation with Nick Rhodes, Only After Dark
- 2006 - Stimulator, Stimulator (cover design)
- 2007 - Duran Duran, Red Carpet Massacre
- 2008 - Dominic Brown, Between The Lines
- 2010 - Danimals, "Fox" (co-writer)
- 2010 - Swahili Blonde, Man Meat (writer)
- 2010 - New Roads School, New Roads School (bass)
- 2010 - Duran Duran, All You Need Is Now
- 2013 - Koishii & Hush, "C’est Tout Est Noir" (vocals, lyrics)
- 2013 - Halo Circus, "Something Special" (co-written)
- 2013 - Diane Birch, Speak a Little Louder (bass on "All The Love You Got")
- 2015 - Duran Duran, Paper Gods
- 2016 - Jilann with Mike Garson, Not Alone (vocals, co-produced)
- 2016 - John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Road Recovery's Youth "No Rewind" (co-produced)
- 2021- Duran Duran, Future Past
- 2012 - In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran
Film & TV credits
- 1993 - Blue Flame (music)
- 1994 - Mi Vida Loca (music)
- 1999 - Sugar Town: Clive
- 1999 - Drowning On Dry Land: cast member
- 2000 - Four Dogs Playing Poker: Dick
- 2000 - The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas: Keith Richrock
- 2000 - A Diva's Christmas Carol: Ghost of Christmas Present (VH1)
- 2001 - Strange Frequency: Jimmy Blitz (VH1)
- 2001 - She-Bat: Patrick
- 2001 - Strange Frequency: Room Service: Jimmy Blitz
- 2001 - Vegas, City of Dreams: Byron Llord
- 2009 - Samantha Who?: The Rock Star: Tommy Wylder
- 2000 - John Taylor, Better Off Alive
- 2003 - Bloodhound Gang, One Fierce Beer Run (commentary)
- 2004 - James Angell, Private Player In Concert (bass)
- Abstract Cabinet Show (held at the Eastside Projects in Birmingham during 2009) with Laureana Toledo
- Correspondencia (held in Mexico City during 2011) with Laureana Toledo