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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 February, 2004, 05:19 GMT
The Darkness take on the world
By Ian Youngs
BBC News Online entertainment staff

The past 12 months have seen British rock band The Darkness shoot to fame in the UK, with three prizes at Tuesday's Brit Awards.

They have sold 1.2 million copies of their debut album, Permission To Land, in the UK - and almost one million elsewhere around the globe. BBC News Online looks at how they have been received in five countries.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Permission To Land has been hovering just inside the US top 50 for several weeks, with sales of 400,000. It is doing well, but by no means taking the country by storm.

The Darkness

But the band have only recently begun their onslaught on the American market, creating a buzz with an appearance on the David Letterman talk show and making the cover of music magazine Spin as one of "the next big things".

In January, the New York Daily News' Jim Farber wrote: "For a while, it looked like the attempt by the Darkness to revive the mousse-metal of '80s bands like Winger and White Lion would threaten only Europe.

"But now the scourge is spreading Stateside - and fast. As a result, the group is the first major breakout act of 2004."

The group have already sold out concerts in Illinois and Ohio six weeks before the start of their US tour. They will need to win over the middle American audiences if they are to do what Oasis and Robbie Williams could not achieve - crack the US market.

GERMANY

Markus Kavka , MTV Germany news presenter:
"They're getting bigger and bigger - they started their tour over here on Thursday and the shows are sold out.

"We played the video right from the beginning - it took people a while to get into it. We've played them five or six times a day so everybody who watches MTV knows The Darkness.

"People with long hair say they're great, and then there's the average pop listener who likes them too, adding that they're funny.

"There's definitely a big metal community over here and at first I thought they were looking at The Darkness as a band being not very genuine - too jokey, too humorous - but they're being taken quite seriously right now."

SOUTH AFRICA

Stephen "Sugar" Segerman, editor of SA Rock Digest:
"The hip dudes in South Africa know about The Darkness and the young guys who are getting into rock are very interested because - like in Britain - it's a new sound.

The Darkness
The Darkness are currently touring Europe and the US
"It doesn't feel like it's as big here yet as it is overseas. But with the right push and a bit of radio play, The Darkness could sell just as many as anybody.

"I think The Darkness is going to become much bigger later on because it takes a while to break through. I think it's a sleeper - I think it's going to take a while before it creeps through here.

"It would be nice if they came and toured here - which is obviously not going to happen - because their live act just blows everybody away, apparently. We're not a big band destination here."

LEBANON

Dany Hrdan, assistant music director of Radio One:
"They are not popular in Lebanon. I've heard of them and we've heard of their songs because I'm in the music business - but people, they don't know them.

"In general, both Arabic and English music is popular. Mariah Carey is coming to Lebanon this month, so big names are very popular here.

"Rock music is also popular - we have a lot of fans of alternative music like Blink-182."

POLAND

Milosz Habura, editor of Nuta music magazine:
"Their Christmas single was really high and you couldn't walk down the street without hearing The Darkness and Don't Let the Bells End. It was really hot and played on many radio stations here.

"I wouldn't say they were the most popular band over here, but there's a lot of sympathy and a lot of good vibes around the music.

"They're attracting people because of their funny image and returning to the 1980s - people are really bored here also with the nu-metal bands and other pretty boring music stuff.

"It's not that the band are unnoticed, but it's not the biggest commercial success in Poland, that's for sure."


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