| Brighton, England|
New wave, Pop rock
| Bob Fish
James (Jimmy) Compton
The Amazing Darts, Below Empty & Westward Bound
Den Hegarty, Rita Ray, Rob Davis, Griff Fender, Hammy Howell
Darts were a nine-piece British doo-wop revival band that achieved chart success in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The popular London-based band had a number of UK top 20 hits including three successive number twos with revivals of early US rock and roll and R&B songs.
Founded in 1976, by Den Hegarty along with Griff Fender, Rita Ray and Horatio Hornblower, all former members of the band Rocky Sharpe and the Razors. Joining the band was Thump Thompson, George Currie and John Dummer, all ex members of the John Dummer's Blues Band. The line-up was completed by Hammy Howell and ex Mickey Jupp singer Bob Fish. They built up a large following playing clubs and universities, although their break came after they appeared on Charlie Gillett's show on BBC Radio London in October 1976. This secured the band a recording contract with Magnet Records, where they were teamed up with record producer Tommy Boyce who had previously produced The Monkees. Covering 1950s rock and roll hits, they scored their first UK hit in November 1977 with a medley of "Daddy Cool" (originally a US 1957 hit for The Rays), "Zing went the strings of my heart]" (originally a US 1958 hit for The Coasters) and Little Richard's 1957 hit "The Girl Can't Help It". More cover versions followed in 1978 with "Come Back My Love" (originally recorded by US R&B group The Wrens in 1955), and "The Boy from New York City" (originally a US hit for The Ad Libs in 1965). Their next single of 1978 was an original song "It's Raining" written by band member Griff Fender (real name Ian Collier). All three of the aforementioned hits reached number 2 in the UK Singles Chart and sold a combined total of 1.25 million copies.
Following "It's Raining" in September 1978, Hegarty left the band to tend to his terminally ill father, and he was replaced by American singer Kenny Andrews. Their final hit of 1978 was "Don't Let It Fade Away" (written by George Currie). "Get It" (written by Horatio Hornblower, under his real name Nigel Trubridge), followed in early 1979 and they also covered Gene Chandler's US 1962 hit "Duke of Earl", produced by former Wizzard frontman Roy Wood. This was their last UK Top 10 hit, their only other sizeable hit coming in 1980 with a cover of The Four Seasons "Let's Hang On!". During the year, the line-up changed with Currie, Fish and Dummer leaving the band. Duncan Kerr (guitar) and Keith Gotheridge (drums), both formerly with Plummet Airlines joined, and ex-Mud guitarist Rob Davis briefly joined the band, before moving into songwriting and production work. Another later member was Mike Deacon (ex Suzi Quatro band) on keyboards. By the end of 1980, their hits had dried up and in 1983 they began to do theatre work appearing in the theatre production of Yakety Yak.
In 1979, 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 1985, Fender and Ray managed and produced the UK a cappella female group The Mint Juleps who scored two minor UK chart entries with "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" (originally by Neil Young) in 1986 and "Every Kinda People" (originally by Robert Palmer) in 1987.
The band remains in the Top 500 selling list according to the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles.
The band reformed in 2006 for occasional appearances, which consistently sell out.
Most records were released on the Magnet Records label. All placings (below) are as recorded in the UK Singles Chart and UK Albums Chart.Darts, Magnet MAG5020, November 1977, #9
Everyone Plays Darts, Magnet MAG5022, May 1978, #12
The Amazing Darts, Magnet/K-Tel DLP7981 (gatefold sleeve), November 1978, #8
Dart Attack, Magnet MAG5030, September 1979, #38
Darts Greatest Hits, Magnet MAGL5037, 1980
Darts Across America, Kat Family JW37356, (U.S. release only) 1981
Darts In Yakety Yak, Four Great Songs From The Show, Choice Cuts Pig 903, (4-track EP only available at the show merchandise stand), July 1983
Darts (6-track EP), Scoop 33 7SR5046, August 1984
Darts The Platinum Collection, Warner Platinum 5101-11830-2, December 2005
Darts Double Top, The Very Best Of (2 CD) Warner Platinum 5101-16886-2, 2006
Darts (CD with 6 bonus tracks) Drumfire DRMFR001, 2011
Everyone Plays Darts (CD with 5 bonus tracks) Drumfire DRMFR002, 2011
Dart Attack (CD with 5 bonus tracks) Drumfire DRMFR003, 2011
The Amazing Darts (20 track CD) Drumfire DRMFR004, 2011
Darts The Magnet Singles Collection, 7ts Glam CDD 145, June 2013
Darts The Complete Collection, (6-CD box set) Edsel DARTSBOX01, November 2015
The Boy From New York CityLive From London · 2016Darts (band) Wikipedia
Come Back My LoveDarts · 2003
Duke Of EarlYesterday's Hero · 1979