Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon ‘beyond thrilled and surprised’ to be made MBE

Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon has said he is “beyond thrilled and surprised” to be made an MBE.

The British singer, 65, has become a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the King’s Birthday Honours list for services to music and charity.

He told the PA news agency: “What an incredible, and totally unexpected honour!

Simon Le Bon as Duran Duran headline the main stage during day three of the Electric Picnic festival in Stradbally, County Laois
Simon Le Bon performing on stage at the Electric Picnic festival in County Laois (Niall Carson/PA)

“I am truly beyond thrilled and surprised.

“These last few years have been some of the most important in Duran Duran’s career, and this is a bright but humbling highlight as our journey continues.

“It is fitting that the honour has been awarded not just for my role in music, but also for the work I’ve been fortunate to be involved with outside the band for some of the causes I believe in.

“To name but two of them, I hope this moment helps to raise awareness for the Blue Marine Foundation and the importance of their conservation work, and for Centrepoint.

“Their mission for over 50 years to put an end to homelessness in the UK is vital.”

Born in Hertfordshire in 1958, Le Bon grew up in the town of Pinner in the London Borough of Harrow and went on to study drama in Birmingham.

In the 1980s he auditioned to be apart of Duran Duran, which Nick Rhodes and John Taylor had formed in the late 1970s, showing up to the venue in pink leopard print trousers.

Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor and John Taylor at the Press Room for the MTV European Music Awards 2015
Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor and John Taylor at the Press Room for the MTV European Music Awards 2015 (Yui Mok/PA)

He won them over with his showmanship and book of lyrics which contained some of the words to a song that would eventually become The Chauffeur.

In 1980 the band, in its new line-up with Le Bon, performed their first live show together at the Rum Runner in Birmingham and some time after that the singer dropped out of university to perform with the group full-time.

Their debut self-titled album was released in June 1981 and the band quickly became synonymous with the New Romantic scene, also associated with bands including Depeche Mode, The Human League and Soft Cell.

In an interview with Vogue Adria, Le Bon said the difference between the band and others on the scene was “we embraced optimism, we were pure positivity”.

“And that was the main difference between us and the rest of the scene. We wanted to make the world a better place.”

Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon at the helm of his yacht Drum during the start of the Fastnet race from Cowes
Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon at the helm of his yacht Drum during the start of the Fastnet race from Cowes (Chris Ison/PA)

The band has had one number one album in the UK charts with Seven And The Ragged Tiger (1983) and their hit songs include Rio and Girls On Film.

In 1985 Le Bon was rescued by a helicopter crew after his yacht Drum capsized off the Falmouth coast in the Fastnet Race after the keel fell off, which caused the boat to roll and trapped Le Bon under the hull.

In BBC One documentary, Rescue 193, Le Bon spoke about the incident and paid a heartfelt tribute to the helicopter rescue crew who saved him from “the eyes of death”.

“It was the moment when I looked into the eyes of death,” he said. “It was the most dangerous situation I’ve been in.”

“It initiated in me a real feeling of warmth and support for the air sea rescue service. I feel I owe them so much,” he added.

Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon on stage
Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon performing (PA)

“I realise that these are guys who face extraordinary danger on a daily basis, who go out and put their lives at risk, to help ordinary people to live.”

Le Bon has worked as an ambassador for the Blue Marine Foundation which works to provide awareness on ways people can come together to save the oceans, and for the Tall Ships Youth Trust, which runs seafaring trips for disadvantaged young people across the UK.

He has three children with his wife, model Yasmin Le Bon, whom he married in Oxford in 1985.

Duran Duran, which now comprises Le Bon, keyboardist Rhodes, bassist Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor, received a lifetime achievement award in 2011 at the GQ Men Of The Year awards and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2022.

In 2023 the band reunited with their original guitarist Andy Taylor on their 16th studio album, Danse Macabre.

This July they are headlining Latitude Festival in what will be their “sole UK performance” of the summer.