Dark Lady (song)

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"Dark Lady"
Dark Lady (song).jpg
Single cover
Single by Cher
from the album Dark Lady
B-side "Two People Clinging to a Thread"
"Carousel Man" (Argentina)
Released February 1974
Format 7"
Recorded 1973–74
Genre Pop rock
Length 3:27
Label MCA
Songwriter(s) Johnny Durrill
Producer(s) Snuff Garrett
Cher singles chronology
"Carousel Man"
"Dark Lady"
"Train of Thought"

"Carousel Man"
"Dark Lady"
"Train of Thought"
Audio sample

"Dark Lady" is a pop rock song recorded by American singer-actress Cher, and the title selection from her eleventh studio album, Dark Lady. Written and composed by John Robert "Johnny" Durrill and produced by Snuff Garrett, it was released as the album's first single in early 1974. The song became Cher's third solo U.S. number one hit on March 23, 1974, and her last until "Believe" twenty-five years later.[1]

Song information and story[edit]

The song was written and composed by The Ventures's keyboard player, Johnny Durrill. He recalled: "I spent a week in his (Snuff Garrett's) office playing him songs, one of which Cher recorded. Later, when I was on tour in Japan with the Ventures, I was writing an interesting song. I telegraphed the unfinished lyrics to Garrett. He said to 'make sure the bitch kills him.' Hence, in the song both the lover and fortune teller were killed."[2] Thus, "Dark Lady" may with some accuracy be described as a murder ballad, even though the narrator of its lyrics essentially commits a crime of passion.

The critic Peter Fawthrop, writing for AllMusic, called this song a "grimly comedic folk song".[3]

The "Dark Lady" of the song's title is a gypsy fortune teller in New Orleans with a history of misandry (the narrator of the song describes seeing scratches on the inside of the teller's limousine from her previous conquests). The narrator follows the fortune teller's limousine to her lair and pays money for a fortune; as a result of the fortune, she learns that her lover has been unfaithful to her with, as the (audibly uncomfortable) fortune teller says, "someone else who is very close to you". Advised to leave the fortune teller's shop, never to return, and to forget she has ever seen the fortune teller's face, the narrator returns home in a state of shock, unable to sleep, and then realizes to her horror that she had once smelled, in her own room, the very perfume the fortune teller had been wearing. Sneaking back to the fortune teller's shop with a gun, she there catches her lover and the fortune teller "laughing and kissing", and shoots them both to death, presumably in a fit of rage; the song implies she blacked out upon shooting ("Next thing I knew they were dead on the floor").

In 1974, "Dark Lady" topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for one week, becoming Cher's third solo #1 hit. The song was also a #1 hit in Canada and Sweden, a top ten hit in Norway and a top twenty hit in the Netherlands. Like "Half-Breed", the song struggled in West Germany and the UK, though it managed to reach top forty status in the UK.

Music video[edit]

The live version, and the cartoon version.

There are two versions of the video. The first version of the video is a live performance that was aired in the third season of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour in 1973. In this performance Cher was dressed in all black and was wearing a black veil on her head. The second video of the song is an animated cartoon done by John David Wilson's animation studio; this second video follows the whole story of the song.

In 2002, a special remix medley was created by Dan-O-Rama for a video montage that was used in Cher's Living Proof: The Farewell Tour. The medley contains videos of "All I Really Want to Do", "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves", "Half-Breed", and "Dark Lady". Unlike the other videos, "Dark Lady" was unique because both the live-action and the animated videos had been mixed.

In 1999, Cher performed this song throughout her Do You Believe? Tour, for the first time in twenty-five years. In 2002, she performed the song 325 times in her Living Proof: The Farewell Tour.

Cher performed the song on the following concert tours/Las Vegas residencies:

Charts and certifications[edit]

Formats and track listing[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Cher – vocals
  • Johnny Durrell – lyrics
  • Snuff Garrett – producer

The identities of the personnel who actually provided the instrumental accompaniment were not known as of early February 2015.

Cover versions[edit]

In 1974 Lea Laven recorded the Finnish rendering of "Dark Lady" entitled "Tumma nainen". "Tumma nainen" was also recorded by Ami Aspelund for her 1974 album Ami and also by Jean S. for their 2003 album Sammakkoprinssi.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Lamb, Bill. "Adam Lambert Songs - The Songs Performed on American Idol". About.com. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  2. ^ "Dark Lady". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  3. ^ Peter Fawthrop. "Dark Lady - Cher | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  4. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  5. ^ "The Hits of Cher: The Danish Hits of Cher". Cherhits.blogspot.dk. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  6. ^ Steffen Hung. "Cher - Dark Lady". Dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  7. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 4 May 1974
  8. ^ Steffen Hung. "Cher - Dark Lady". Norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  9. ^ Brian Currin. "South African Rock Lists Website - SA Charts 1965 - 1989 Acts (C)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  10. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 112/3. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-04. Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  12. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  13. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1974". Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  14. ^ "Billboard Year-End Charts 1974" (PDF). 
  15. ^ "American single certifications – Cher – Dark Lady". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]