Despite Duran Duran ruling the earth by late 1984 (due to countless hits and sold-out tours), the band had completely burned themselves out with a non-stop, grueling work schedule. 1985 was supposed to be a year-long break for its members from band duties, but its five members ultimately formed two separate side-projects: the Power Station, which was comprised of Duranee's John Taylor (bass) and Andy Taylor (guitar), plus solo artist Robert Palmer (vocals) and ex-Chic member Tony Thompson (drums); as well as Arcadia, which featured the three other Duran members, singer Simon Lebon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, and drummer Roger Taylor.
The formation of the Power Station came as a complete accident, as John Taylor was dating model/groupie Bebe Buell at the time, and offered to assemble a funky version of T. Rex's classic rocker, "Bang a Gong (Get It On)," for Buell to contribute vocals to (with Andy Taylor and Tony Thompson joining the proceedings). But before the recording could take place, Taylor and Buell split up. The trio decided to press on, however (having already demoed several originals, as well), with a plan to have several different noted pop singers provide vocals. Robert Palmer was invited to sing on a track, but with the vocalist and the rest of the band extremely impressed with the results, Palmer ended up singing on all of the resulting album's eight tracks. Issued in early 1985, the quartet's self-titled debut was a sizeable hit, due to a pair of monster hit singles which merged rock with a dance edge, the original tune "Some Like It Hot" and the aforementioned cover of "Bang a Gong." The album's immediate commercial success prompted the group to organize a supporting tour, but surprisingly, Palmer pulled out just a few days before the tour's launch.
The Power Station first attempted to lure Paul Young into the group (who had just scored a hit with the ballad, "Everytime You Go Away"), before settling on former-Silverhead frontman Michael Des Barres. Despite an appearance at the mammoth Live Aid benefit festival in July of 1985, the bandmembers decided to call it quits upon the tour's completion. As a side note, the band member's temporary "break" from Duran Duran failed to recharge their batteries, as both Andy and Roger Taylor split from the band shortly thereafter, while Palmer would go on to issue some of the '80s biggest pop hits, including "Addicted to Love" and "Simply Irresistible." Surprisingly, the original Power Station lineup re-formed almost exactly ten years later, issuing a sophomore effort, Living in Fear, in 1996. Unsurprisingly, the album failed to replicate its predecessor's success. ~ Greg Prato