2006–2008: Red Carpet Massacre; Second Departure of Andy Taylor Results in Second Quartet
In early 2006, Duran Duran covered John Lennon's song "Instant Karma!" for the Make Some Noise campaign sponsored by Amnesty International. Their version later appeared on Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur as an iTunes exclusive bonus track. They also performed at two high profile events — the Nobel Prize Awards and the 2006 Winter Olympics. After a couple of weeks of songwriting in Northern California, the band began working with producer Michael Patterson in London, and continued intermittently for the next several months. At one point, they reported having fifteen tracks nearly complete for an album tentatively titled Reportage, but no further news emerged from the band for months afterward. The lost album supposedly had an edge, and wasn't released due to legal problems with the again departed Andy Taylor. In September, the band held meetings in New York City with Justin Timberlake and producer Timbaland with an eye to a potential collaboration and were soon reported to have completed three songs with the producer, including a duet with Justin Timberlake.
On 25 October 2006, Duran Duran parted company with Andy Taylor for the second time. In an official announcement on their website A Message To Our Fans, Duran Duran stated that an "unworkable gulf" had developed between them and Taylor and that "we can no longer effectively function together". It was noted by Andy Taylor in his book "Wild Boy" that tensions had arisen between the group's management and himself, and he was also diagnosed with clinical depression connected with the death of his father. Dom Brown, who had previously toured with the band, took over guitar duties and has been performing with them since. After Taylor's departure, the band scrapped the Reportage album and wrote and recorded a new album which included the Timbaland tracks. Dom Brown is the featured guitarist.
In July, the band performed twice at Wembley Stadium, at the Concert for Diana and at Live Earth concert, London. On 25 September, the Timberlake collaboration "Falling Down" was released as a download single on iTunes, and the band announced that they would play nine shows at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway to launch the album Red Carpet Massacre. The album launch was later extended to incorporate a show in London on 3 December 2007 and one in Dublin on 5 December 2007.
In May 2008, they toured the US leg of their 2008 world tour and were supported by fellow British quintet Your Vegas. In June 2008, they played the Louvre in Paris in a fundraising effort that contributed to the restoration of a magnificent Louis XV drawing room. Guests dined, privately viewed some of the museum’s artworks, then attended a performance by the band in the I.M. Pei-designed Pyramid du Louvre. The group’s performance marked a first for both the band members and the 18th century museum (which had never before allowed a rock concert to occur anywhere within the grounds or buildings).
On 2 July in Paris, Mark Ronson performed a unique live set with Duran Duran for an exclusive, invitation-only performance. Together, they showcased specially re-worked versions of some of Duran Duran's classic hits re-created by Ronson, along with tracks from the band's new album, Red Carpet Massacre. Simon Le Bon also performed songs from Ronson's latest album, Version, as one of Ronson's featured guest vocalists. Unlike the band's previous album Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre sold poorly and received mixed responses from the music press. In 2008, Rio was included in the Classic Albums series.
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—Robert Benchley (18891945)