My Legends of Pop Music – Part Fifty-Seven – Darts

I do like good old rock ‘n’ roll.  Happy music, singalong, dance, be merry.  Darts seemed to be on ToTP just about every week, so many happy memories.

One of those bands that you just turn up the volume louder and louder.  Such fun.

We are on the countdown now to my most favourite music artists, making them my 4th most favourite legends of pop music.

Courtesy of Wiki:

Founded in 1976, by Den Hegarty along with Griff Fender (real name: Ian Collier), Rita Ray (real name: Lydia Sowa) and Horatio Hornblower (real name: Nigel Trubridge), all former members of the band Rocky Sharpe and the Razors (pre-Rocky Sharpe and the Replays). Joining the band was Iain “Thump” Thomson, George Currie and John Dummer, all ex-members of the John Dummer’s Blues Band. The line-up was completed by William “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 the b side of the single ‘Silhouettes’, a US 1955 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 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).

“Come Back My Love”, “The Boy from New York City” and “It’s Raining” all reached number 2 in the UK Singles Chart. Following “It’s Raining” in September 1978, Hegarty left the band to tend to his terminally ill father, and he was replaced by the American singer, Kenny Andrews. Their final hit of 1978 was “Don’t Let It Fade Away” (written by Currie). “Get It” (written by 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 song writing 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 and being musical directors of 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.

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.

Original line-up was:
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 – died 22 August 2021, Pembrokeshire, Wales

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 Anthony John Dummer, 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, Torquay, Devon


Some history:  Rocky Sharpe is the pseudonym of an English rock/pop singer who, with Rocky Sharpe and the Replays, first found fame in the late 1970s. The usual line-up of the group was Rocky (real name Robert Podsiadly), Helen Highwater (real name Helen Blizard), Johnny Stud (Rocky’s brother Jan) and Eric Rondo (Mike Vernon). An earlier incarnation of the group, Rocky Sharpe and the Razors, contained Den Hegarty and Rita Ray who later formed Darts.  After a few line-up changes during 1982-1984, the band finally broke up in early 1985. Sharpe launched a new career as an actor – but he was forced to retire in 1988 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He lived with his wife Paulina in the family home in Brighton until late 2013, when he became a full-time resident at the Queen Alexandra Hospital Home (QAHH) in Worthing.

Rocky Sharpe & The Replays – Rama Lama Ding Dong ToTP

Rocky Sharpe & The Replays – Imagination

Rocky Sharpe & The Replays – Shout Shout (Knock Yourself Out)

Darts – Daddy Cool (TopPop) (1977)

Darts – Come Back My Love – ToTP 1978

Darts – It’s Raining – ToTP  August 1978  (Bob Fish (RIP) on lead vocals

Darts – Don’t Let It Fade Away – November 1978 – Bob Fish on lead again, superb performance.

Darts – Get It – TOTP  February 1979 – not the biggest hit, but a super performance on lead by Rita.  Very Mowtown and I like it.

Darts – Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love – Not a big hit, but another produced by Roy Wood and the wonderful Rita on lead.

Darts – Reet Petite TOTP December 1979, classic revamp of Little Richards Reet petite, sung well, great cover.

Darts – Duke Of Earl – TOTP August 1979.  Den had let by this time for a bit and replaced by the deep voice of the American, Kenny Andrews.  This was produced by the great Roy Wood from Wizard.

A favourite of mine Darts Sh-boom.  One of those songs where you sing all the vocals yourself.  Badly of course, but that does not matter.

I found their live concert from 2014 in London.  All the usual’s having a great time.  Den as ever a complete lunatic stealing the show.
Darts at Hampton Pool Summer Picnic Concerts 2014  Only 11 mins, but jolly good fun.

Singalong, enjoy and be happy!

Links to previous Legend articles:


1-Buddy Holly 2-Elvis Presley 3-Everly brothers 4-Cliff Richard 5-Joe Brown
6-Gerry and the Pacemakers 7-Roy Orbison 8-The Seekers 9-The Hollies 10-The Rolling Stones
11-Beach Boys 12-The Monkees 13-Rod Stewart 14-T-Rex 15-Slade
16-10CC 17-Pussycat 18-The Kinks 19-Blondie 20-Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music
21-David Bowie 22-Meatloaf 23-The Temptations 24-Dusty Springfield 25-Fleetwood Mac
26-Gilbert O’Sullivan 27-The Four Tops 28-Chas ‘n’ Dave 29-Diana Ross and The Supremes 30-Status Quo
31-Jim Reeves 32-The Small Faces 33-The Doobie Brothers 34-Manfred Mann 35-Creedence Clearwater Revival
36-Otis Redding 37-Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons 38-Squeeze 39-Duran Duran 40-Dire Straits
41-Chuck Berry 42-Thin Lizzy 43-ABBA 44-Carole King 45-Queen
46-Rod Stewart 47-Madness 48-Showaddywaddy 49-Pet Shop Boys 50-The Moody Blues
51-The Rat Pack 52-Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 53-Kevin (Bloody) Wilson 54-ZZ Top 55-Amy Macdonald
56-Eurythmics 57-Darts      

Featured image: Dhphoto, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

© Phil the ex test manager 2022