Icons of England
  • Introduction
  • The Icons
  • Nominations
  • News
  • Learn & Play
  • Your Comments

Me and My Icons

5 of 34 nominations


Birmingham Rotunda

Birmingham Rotunda

Birmingham born and bred, when Nick Rhodes and John Taylor formed the internationally acclaimed band Duran Duran in 1978, the Rotunda formed the back-drop. The band went on to world fame in the 1980s, fell out of favour in the late 1980s and early 1990s and rose and fell again. These days though, they're enjoying a dramatic return to the big time with chart-topping singles, a Brit Award and a new album expected in summer 2006.

Mirroring the band’s determination to survive, the Grade II-listed Rotunda is making its own transformation. Once a down-at-heel office building threatened with demolition, award-winning developer Urban Splash is turning it into the most sought-after apartment block in Birmingham.

“Growing up in 1970s Birmingham, the Rotunda defined the skyline of the city. It also defined the ambitions of the city, which wanted to stand up and be counted, to be modern,” said Nick and John. 'It looks like a rubbish bin and is totally impractical, as are all circular buildings.' We were once told this by Joe Smith, Capitol Records' (then) president. The Capitol Records building is a great Hollywood landmark and somewhat a cousin to our humbler version.

“We are happy that the building has survived. Survived the Birmingham IRA pub bombings [the Mulberry Bush pub at the foot of the Rotunda was bombed in 1974] and the recent reconstruction of the centre”.

Image of Birmingham Rotunda © Smoothe

Birmingham Rotunda

Nick Rhodes and John Taylor of Duran Duran


Sometimes categorised as an 1980s New Romantic band, Duran Duran have recorded continuously for well over 20 years, sold over 70 million records and dominated the charts in the UK and US with singles like Rio, Hungry Like The Wolf, Come Undone and Sunrise. Enjoying a renaissance in the noughties, their new album is expected soon and is said to mark a return to their New Wave origins.

Image of John Taylor and Nick Rhodes © Nick Rhodes and John Taylor