For those who don’t know, Simon Le Bon is the lead singer of the successful British pop/rock group, Duran Duran. Duran Duran’s new single, “All You Need is Now,” was made available (for free!) today on iTunes, and they plan to release an album later this month. So I figured it was a good time for me to tell my “I met Simon Le Bon” story.
Barbara Branden, in her book, The Passion of Ayn Rand, lists Le Bon as one of the many people who “have been powerfully affected by [Rand’s] work and acknowledge an intellectual debt to Ayn Rand.” (FN, p. 409; p. 419) (I read Branden’s book soon after I read Atlas Shrugged, early in college. I had a friend who was also an admirer of Rand, and who warned that I should read the Branden books before getting involved in the Ayn Rand Institute or the Institute-sponsored campus club. He said the books would show me how Objectivism was a cult, etc., etc. So I read them and, like so many others with their heads screwed on relatively well, I dismissed their attacks on Rand.)
As a Rand admirer, AND a certified “Durannie,” I was excited to read this. Simon LeBon, influenced by Ayn Rand?! Very cool!
Fast-forward to a time many years later. After spending years apart, pursuing individual projects, Duran Duran reunited. The band offered a special “VIP” event in Las Vegas to kick off their reunion tour. Fans had the chance to meet the band in person at a specially arranged party, and then get up-front seats at their concert. I couldn’t resist, and I brought my trusty Duran Duran scrapbook, which I had kept from my teenage years, so that I could have all the members of the band autograph their sections. (Being the geek that I am, I divided my scrapbook into sections featuring individual photos of each band member, group photos, live photos, etc.)
At the party, everyone got the chance to speak with each band member and, when it was my turn to talk to Le Bon, I had to ask, “Were you influenced by Ayn Rand?” (I told him that I had read that he was.) He said that it would be fair to say that Jim Morrison had more of an influence on him than did Rand and that, while he liked Rand’s writing, he disagreed with her ideas.
On the one hand I was let down. Jim Morrison more of an influence than Ayn Rand?! Yikes! On the other hand, Le Bon did not follow the usual pattern of liking Rand’s ideas while dismissing or being critical of her writing style. So that was to the good, especially given that Le Bon himself is an artist of sorts. Would I take from that exchange that Le Bon “acknowledge[d] an intellectual debt” to Ayn Rand? Probably not.