were a successful nine-piece British doo-wop
at the end of the 1970s and early 1980s.
Founded in 1976, by Den Hegarty
along with Griff Fender, Rita Ray and Horatio Hornblower, all former members of the band Rocky Sharpe
. 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
, although their break came after they appeared on the Charlie Gillet'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 December 1977 with a medley
of "Daddy Cool
" (originally a U.S.
1957 hit for The Rays
) 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 U.S. R&B
group The Wrens
in 1955), "The Boy from New York City
" (originally a U.S. hit for The Ad Libs
in 1965). Their final single
of 1978 was an original song "It's Raining" written by band member Griff Frender (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 their biggest hit "It's Raining" in September 1978 Den Hegarty left the band to tend to his terminally ill father, and he was replaced by Kenny Andrews. Following more original hit songs "Don't Let It Fade Away" (written by George Currie) and "Get It" (written by Horatio Hornblower, under his real name Nigel Trubridge), they covered Gene Chandler's U.S. 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 came 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. At this time ex-Mud guitarist Rob Davis briefly joined the band, before moving into songwriting and production work. By the end of 1980 their hits had dried up and in 1983 began to do theatre work appearing in the theatre production of Yakety Yak.
In 1981 Den Hegarty became a television presenter, most notably on children's programme, Tiswas.
In 1985 Griff Fender and Rita Ray managed and produced the UK a cappella girl group The Mint Juleps who scored two minor 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 is still in the Top 250 selling list according to the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles. Despite this, and the fact that they remain Britain's best-known doo-wop vocal group, they receive almost no coverage compared to other doo-wop revival groups of the period such as Showaddywaddy.
The Darts is also the name of an indie-rock band from Michigan.
The original line-up included
- Rita Ray, vocals (born Lydia Sowa, 11 December 1954, Ghana)
- Den Hegarty, vocals (born Denis Hegarty, 13 September 1954, Dublin)
- Griff Fender, vocals (born Ian Collier, 3 June 1954, Portsmouth, Hampshire)
- Bob Fish, vocals (born Robert Fish, 3 June 1949, Rochford, Essex)
- Horatio Hornblower, saxophone (born Nigel Trubridge, 15 January 1957, Brighton, Sussex)
- Thump Thomson, bass guitar (born Iain Thomson, 11 June 1946, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)
- John Dummer, drums (born 19 November 1944, Surbiton, Surrey)
- George Currie, lead guitar (born 14 January 1950, Dundee, Scotland)
- Hammy Howell, piano (born William Howell 24 October 1954, Wimbledon, London - died 13 January 1999)
Most records were released on the Magnet Records record label
. All placings (below) are as recorded in the UK Singles Chart
, and UK Albums Chart
- "Daddy Cool" / "The Girl Can't Help It", 1977, #6
- "Come Back My Love", 1978, #2
- "The Boy from New York City", 1978, #2
- "It's Raining", 1978, #2
- "Don't Let It Fade Away", 1978, #18
- "Get It", 1979, #10
- "Duke of Earl", 1979, #6
- "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love", 1979, #43
- "Reet Petite", 1979, #51
- "Let's Hang On", 1980, #11
- "Peaches", 1980, #66
- "White Christmas" / "Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream)", 1980. #48
- Darts, 1977, #9
- Everyone Plays Darts, 1978, #12
- Amazing Darts (K-Tel compilation album), 1978, #8
- Dart Attack, 1979, #38
- Darts Greatest Hits, 1980
- Darts Across America, 1981
- The Platinum Collection, 2006