‘We Tried To Write The Most 80s Song We Could’
…And it just so happened to end up as Classic Rock‘s Best Rock Song Of The Noughties. Come inside to get the scam on The Darkness’s I Believe In A Thing Called Love from the band’s former guitarist, Dan ‘Stone Gods’ Hawkins.
Words: Paul Elliott
“I Believe In A Thing Called Love was such an important song for The Darkness, but when we wrote it I really wasn’t sure about it.
“The chorus is so stupidly catchy, I thought people were just gonna take it as a complete joke!
“Right from the start, this song stuck out like a sore thumb. It’s at the Def Leppard/Queen end of what we did, whereas 90 per cent of our stuff was inspired by 1970s AC/DC. And Aerosmith. And Thin Lizzy. Oh, I could go on!
“Writing it was a real collaborative effort. Me and Frankie (Poullain, bassist) shared a top-floor flat in Primrose Hill in London, which sounds posh, but trust me, it was a shithole! Justin (Hawkins, guitarist/vocalist) would come over and the three of us would write in this flat, jamming on an acoustic, cos we couldn’t afford to write in a rehearsal room.
“When we wrote I Believe In A Thing Called Love, we had some booze, smoked some ‘Joe’, and tried to write the most 80s song we could.
“We started with the riff, which Justin came up with. It sounded really great right away. But when he sang the chorus for the first time, I just said, ‘No, you can’t do that – it sounds ridiculous!’ I really thought people would just laugh at us when they heard it.
“So for the rest of the song, I tried to make it sound cool, more ‘rock’. The rest of the song is all in minor key.
“Back in 2003 when this song was released as a single, you never heard a guitar solo on the radio. But this song was designed to have guitar breaks in it. It was built towards the solos as much as the chorus.
“I was so unsure that we debated about playing the song live. But as soon as we did, people loved it. It’s party music, and it just gets people going.
“I was in a pub garden last summer with my friend Benny, and we could hear this really loud party going on nearby. And when they played I Believe In A Thing Called Love the place went wild! That’s a nice feeling!”