26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2012
I too am a Brummie born and bred. It was so funny to read about John bunking off to go into the city centre. I did exactly the same and went to Reddington's to buy photos that had been taken at their gigs (I still have them all lovely cared for in my photo albums). This book is fascintating; it made me smile, laugh and remember some very good times (I must apologise now to Mr Taylor for stealing a stone from his parents front garden and also apologise for being one of those pesky Duranie's that would bang on the side of the bus). I also had a few tears because he was obviously so very lonely. Life in a band may be rock n roll but my God you pay the price. A great read and real eye opener. A must for all Duranies but even those out their that would poo poo this band i.e NME!! This band and JT's music (still got a picture on my wall) is the soundtrack of my life, DD have seen me through school, college, boyfriends, heartache, marriage, children (still annoyed I didn't get to name my daugher Rio) death and divorce. I am a proud Brummie and proud that this kid from this neck of the woods did well and I am glad he is in a good place and happy with his lot.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2013
What a top chap John Taylor is. That's the lasting impression I was left with after reading this book.
One of my friends was lucky enough to interview Duran Duran and has met John a couple of times. He has repeatedly said what a nice guy he is.
This isn't a press release for the JT Appreciation Society by the way. Just a delight that one of my childhood heroes hasn't disappointed me.
In the first few chapters, John talks us through his early life: who his parents are, where he was born and brought up, his childhood and school. I was chomping at the bit to get to the beginnings of Duran Duran, but I actually really liked hearing about his relationship with his Mum and Dad because it becomes quite important once the band have taken off.
I grew up loving Duran. The Rio album is one of my all-time favourites, and I remember how great that album actually looked, with its amazing artwork, glossy photographs and flash design.
I could remember what I was doing back in 1982, `83 and `84 when John describes the big tours. It was nice to experience, second hand, the excitement and frisson of forming a band that had captured the early 80s zeitgeist. It allowed me to indulge in some wish fullfilment for the space of the week that I was reading it. I could be Duran's anonymous 6th member.
I'm one of those who still enjoyed their music through the Notorious, Big Thing and Liberty albums. The book had a slightly edgy feel because of course I knew that at some stage, as high (in more ways than one) Duran got, there was going to be that late 80s low as they came back down to increasing indifference on the part of the music press and public.
They come out the other side with successful albums and even more popular tours and accolades. And John personally came out the other side too. He did a lot of bad stuff, and I kept feeling sorry for his parents who must have swung from great pride in their son, to an incomprehension of the lifestyle he was living and the person he was becoming.
The author's voice is so engaging, friendly and self-deprecating, that you can't help but like him. Loved it. I would recommend it to any Duran fan, or just anyone interested in rock star autobiographies.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2013
In The Pleasure Groove is a standard autobiography, structured chronologically with short, snappy chapters. The first three-quarters details John's life from the cradle to the height of his stardom in the mid-eighties and this is where it excels.
Whether it's recounting life as an only child, his burgeoning friendship with Nick Rhodes and their jaunts around Birmingham soaking up the music which would inspire and inform their later work, he manages to paint a vivid picture of the fashion, music and culture of the time and how it influenced his career. The writing is a cut above workmanlike, flows smoothly and makes you feel like you're right there alongside him for the ride. Inevitably, Duran Duran looms large and he manages to capture the atmosphere around a band embarking on a meteoric rise to fame and the realities of trying to deal with its pitfalls when it's been achieved. His descriptions of their maiden voyage to New York and the recording of Seven And The Ragged Tiger capture these polar opposites brilliantly.
Unfortunately, as the group's success dries up, so does the quality of the prose and seemingly John's enthusiasm. Details become sparse and events are glossed over. The most glaring example is his account of the reunion, which is dismissed in just a couple of pages. One minute they've reformed, the next Andy has left. "Differences" is all we're offered by way of explanation. This type of vagueness mars the book towards the end. It all feels slightly rushed and fizzles out to some degree.
No matter, that is not enough to spoil what is, for the most part, a very engaging and enjoyable read. It succeeds as both a record of his life and the music which shaped it.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2012
I have been a huge Duran Dyran fan for 31 years. John Taylor was my member of choice.I have seen them in concert over 50 times and still keep up to date with the bands goings on via Duran.com. I was so excited when John announced he was going to write his autobiography I could not wait. I have it on my kindle and hard copy. I have just finished it,74 Chapters 403 pages on average 5.5 pages per chapter !. It was very touching in parts but on the whole a disappointment.For me it gave little insight to the band and has left me with lots of unanswered questions Such as his take on Andy Taylor's departure from the band second time and why Nick Rhodes was upset with him when he returned to DD and the tensions of the bands during their reunion ? amongst many others. It shows no insight as to how he is as a Father to his now adult Daughter and their relationship over the years since he split from her mother . He does not touch on his acting career and appears to have skirted around the issues of Girlfriends Band members his Musical peers, unlike Andy Taylors Autobiography.
His thoughts of being an addict was really touching and sad being that uber famous and feeling so lost and alone (I have worked with many addicts in my time its not an easy road) and his relationship with his parents also left me asking why ?. But on the whole I felt like he did not want to hurt anyones feelings so on the issues Duran fans would want his opinion on we never got.
If your DD fan and want warts and all read Andy Taylors book, I hoped John would take this oppurtunity to refute any claims Andy Taylor made in his book but alas this never happened. It is nice to know that JT is now in a great place and happy long may that continue. As i will continue to be a fan and await the next member of DD to write their autobiography.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 27 May 2013
This is a good book but I think John's cocaine habit must have affected his memory as he cannot seem to recall chart positions of his band's singles, plus he skirts over the Andy Taylor leaving for the second time debacle - something that Andy himself has at least noted in his own autobiography. Between the two, I prefer Andy's but John tells a touching story, particularly when talking about his relationship with his father.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2014
I did find this a gripping read and couldn't put it down - I read the book in two days! Of course like many teenage girls, I loved DD in the early 80s and John Taylor was my dream man when I was 13/14 - I thought he was perfection!! But not only that, I lived and grew up not far from him (in Birmingham) and even had relatives who lived around the corner from him. I knew all of the places where he'd spent his childhood/teens in Birmingham that he refers to and so I could picture all of them as I was reading through the book. I remember seeing his Aston Martin parked outside his parents' house and his flat that he bought a mile down the road from where I lived! So it was almost like reminiscing on a more personal level too. VERY eye-opening book! It's a good thing that I didn't know *quite* what John got up to at the time, when I was an innocent teen fan with his posters plastered all over my bedroom walls, but reading about it 30 years later was very interesting. But I suppose, even having read the book, I still don't *quite* understand *why* John seemed intent on 'indulging' in such an extreme way, with sex, drugs and alcohol - from the word go, even before DD even became successful. I don't feel as if I have any further insight into what initially drove him to pursue that lifestyle to such an extent - more so than the other band members. Was it stress, loneliness, some void that he was trying to fill, lack of confidence, anger etc.? Or simply that he just wanted to do 'everything' that was on offer - and live out his idea of the ultimate rock star life, or even some sort of James Bond fantasy of indulging in beautiful women, cars and the finer things in life?... until it got out of control. The book is a frank and honest account, (with a few more 'unsavoury' details in places) and a *must* for any DD or JT fan - very interesting to know what was *actually* going on, when on the face of it DD's life seemed so glamorous, exciting and successful. I almost found it exhausting just *reading* about such a frantic lifestyle of touring, travelling and partying etc.! Although I did feel as if John could have gone into more detail in some parts and that he skimmed over some things. Maybe he didn't feel it was necessary now that he has dealt with many of the negative issues in his life....or maybe he can't remember! But it did strike me that he was probably lucky to get through so many escapades, alive! The part about his Dad coping on his own after John's Mum died, did also actually make me cry. Anyway, JT seems to have found a stable and happy life now, so that's good. I've just also read Andy Taylor's book and that is a very good read too, so I'd recommend that also.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I always found John Taylor to be the best looking bloke in Duran Duran and because I'm quite a few years younger than the majority of their contemporaries in the 1980s I think I can write that with impunity. This autobiography tells of Nigel 'John' Taylor's Birmingham upbringing in the 60s and 70s through to the 80s where he formed the future megaband Duran Duran. As with any rock star autobiography you've a mix of geekdom about bass guitars and amps through to band squabbles, girls and drugs and John doesn't pull any punches - in fact he seems to realise that, in retrospect that he was a bit of a tool at times. Me, I like a bit of self-sacrifice for the benefit of the reading public. His on/off professional relationship with Andy Taylor is also
It's telling that I actually looked forward to spending some time in bed with Mr Taylor, well, his book anyway. Being the pop/rock aficionado/sadcase that I am, especially in regard to 80s music, I really enjoyed the references to key people such as producer Nile Rodgers (from Chic), Bernard Edwards and Tony Thompson. Taylor's collaboration with the late, great Robert Palmer in the offshoot project 'The Power Station' was also revelatory, especially as Palmer dropped out at a crucial moment.
I did find, however, that Taylor slightly glossed over the issues in his first marriage, but I suppose that's because they have a daughter who may be upset to read such things? His stint in rehab was life-affirming to read and his subsequent clean career and happy second marriage seem sane and offer hope for the future. Overall: an excellent book and a great read for any music fan/80s throwback.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2012
Duran Duran is the first band I ever saw live and I've been a fan since the very beginning (1981). I have always hoped, after reading guitarist Andy Taylor's autobiography Wild Boy, that the other band members would write theirs too. So, as you can imagine, I was so glad when I heard that John Taylor was doing just that. I knew I would want to read it right away.
And I did.
I pre-ordered it and started reading it as soon as it arrived. And I was hooked!
A lot of what happened to John during the crazy days as a famous pop star I already knew about, but I did not know much about his early life, and I really enjoyed reading about that. As a music lover and singer myself, I loved how he explains how his fondness for music grows and his attention to detail of how obsessive one can get with it. I could really relate to this.
Once we get to the 1980s, that's when my own nostalgia for the good times kicked in. I loved reading about the band's early days at the Rum Runner club and their first ever appearance on Top of the Pops (which I remember well), and their early rise to fame.
But of course, fame does have its dark side. John doesn't go into too much detail here, but I did at times feel for him. It can't be easy being in the limelight all the time, regardless of those on the outside thinking otherwise. And I could not help but sympathise with him during his stay in rehab.
I enjoyed reading this, though I believe some later chapters could have done with more depth as I felt they were skimmed over a little.
A great read for any music lover and fan of Duran Duran!
Marie Symeou - author of Age of Dreams
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2013
I am a 45 year old Duran Duran fan my sister loved John Taylor and she bought this book for me for Christmas i was more a fan of Roger Taylor (he has to write a book!) but having said that i loved this it was very real and human made me like John Taylor more it was sad at the end with his father but i am glad that he is happy now. Saw Duran Duran in Glasgow last year having never seen them before it was just wonderful and so is the book.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2012
As a Brummie born and bred- and just a year younger than John, I found the early stuff about Birmingham fascinating- amazing to think he was frequenting the same places as me! This guy has been one of my heroes since I first saw him play at The Rum Runner in 1980 and he never disappoints.
I think JT found just the right balance between telling it like it was- and salacious voyeurism. I love his brief comments on people that show his true feelings such as his love of Roger Taylor's calm and patient friendship and close friendship with newer band mate Dom Brown.
Great photos, amazing early pics of Dada and Duran Duran stuff (Steven Dufait, Tin Tin Duffy for instance).
Well written- and even if you're not a confirmed Duranie- well worth a look.