Colin Murray was a Radio 1 DJ in 2003. He was the first person I ever heard play The Darkness, or talk about them. It’s all his fault that I’m doing this for today!
I remember clearly hearing Get Your Hands Off My Woman for the first time. You have to put it in context, and consider the other British music around at the time. Along came this fucking headcase in a jumpsuit singing about love and sexually transmitted diseases, tattooing L and R on the soles of his feet.It was a breath of fresh air and, beyond the outlandishness and pantomime, here was a band who were super tight, talented and had a singer with such a brilliant voice and range. When I first started playing it on Radio 1 in the evenings I remember someone senior saying to me ”They’ll go on the playlist over my dead body”. That was red rag to a bull for me.
History can be rewritten but truth is they weren’t originally industry favourites and most people wrote them off or made fun of them, but the good people of UK agreed to disagree and bought the music. It was after ‘real’ people embraced them that the media luvvies caught up. Before long they were on ‘the playlist’ and opening the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. They finished with Get Your Hands Off My Woman and just before the last two words they stopped dead and Justin said “Thanks to Colin Murray, by the way”, and it was one of the proudest moments of my life.
Fast forward a little bit and they were successfully headlining Leeds/Reading, rolling out that ridiculous sparkly logo thing at the end.
I don’t look back through rose tinted glasses though. The next album didn’t deliver as it should have and after such an amazing impact it was hard to recover. Most bands would have been forgiven for the cliched difficult second album but you either loved or hated the darkness and the sharpened knives struck deep and hard after ‘One Way Ticket…’ came out.
I will alway think of The Darkness as the band who dreamt of conquering the world without needing the right haircut or the right jeans or a certain image and, for a while, they did just that and it was a beautiful thing.
Thanks to Colin for this and kickstarting it all.