Darts were formed in August 1976, although the various members were no strangers to the music scene. The line-up included the ex-members of two other bands – Rocky Sharpe and the Razors and The John Dummer Blues Band.
Describing themselves as “New Wave Teds”, their faithful doo-wop recreations enamoured them to the college circuit long before they took up residence in the Top 10. The nine-piece group – comprising a front line of four singers plus five musicians – were pure entertainment.
Their signing to Magnet took place in the face of extremely stiff competition, and their first single, Daddy Cool (originally recorded by The Rays on the back of their 1957 hit Silhouettes), reached the Top Ten at the start of 1978. It was followed into the chart by a series of smashes, including Come Back My Love, The Boy From New York City, and It’s Raining (which was only denied the UK #1 spot by The Commodores’ saccharine Three Times a Lady in the summer of 1978).
Within a matter of months, they switched from playing small basement clubs to major venues (they sold more UK concert tickets than any other act in 1978), and by the end of the seventies, they had demonstrated their resounding popularity with two gold albums – Darts, and Everybody Plays Darts – and a television-advertised compilation double, The Amazing Darts, which went platinum.
In 1979, Den Hegarty became a television presenter, first with the Newcastle upon Tyne-based Alright Now, and later as part of the team fronting the children’s programme Tiswas. In 1983, the band featured in the pioneering stage musical Yakety Yak, with the financial and moral backing of ace songwriters Leiber and Stoller themselves.
Darts reunited in 2005, although live performances have been spasmodic since then.
Keyboard player Hammy Howell died in 1999, and vocalist Bob Fish passed away in 2021.
Griff Fender (Ian Collier)
Horatio Hornblower (Nigel Trubridge)
Iain ‘Thump’ Thompson