As darts continues its rise in global popularity at a rampant rate, one of the things that strikes a chord with fans the world over is the entries made by the superstars of the sport. Entering the arena, like wrestlers or boxers, complete with ring girls and overzealous host announcements, a player’s walk-on is now almost as important as the action on the oche.
Because of this, it is crucial to pick the right warm-up music, one that perfectly captures a player’s personality as enshrined by his nickname. This way, a good darter can get the crowd buzzing as well as put off their opponents mentally. Really though, it’s just about good fun.
With honourable mentions to both Steve Hines’ muffin chucking chef walking out to Dizzy Rascal’s Bonkers and James Richardson’s nod to Fat Les favourite, Vindaloo, here’s the best Darts walk-ons of all time.
Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor: Snap “I have the power” (1990)
You really have to start with big Phil. ‘The Power’ walks on to stage each night to the sounds of German band Snap’s, 1990 hit “I have the power”. The tune was pushed Taylor’s way by Sky Sports then Floor Manager Martin Turner, who also coined Taylor’s nickname. This is particularly fortunate given Phil was going by the thoroughly unoriginal tribute to 80’s star darter Eric Bristow’s nickname ‘The Crafty Potter’ at the time. That said, Taylor himself, set to retire from the game at the end of the season, is so fed up of the song that just last year he begged fellow Stoke on Trent star Robbie Williams to pen a new walk on song for the outgoing legend. It never happened though, leaving The Power’s theme unchanged.
Peter Wright: Pitbull “Don’t stop the party (2012)
For the ultimate energetic darting dance-off, look no further than Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright. One of the undoubted characters of the game, Wright, with his jazzy clothes, dyed mohawk and painted snake on his head, needed a suitable sound to make his flamboyant entrance to. He chose Pitbull’s Don’t stop the party and accompanies the music with his now famous jumping side-step dance from one end of the stage to the other. This, he calls Strictly Come Darting and describes himself as a little fat man dancing across the stage. The crowd love both him and it, especially when he includes a little bum wiggle too.
Raymond van Barneveld: Survivor “Eye of the Tiger” (1982)
Not the most original, but still a perfect fit for one of the audience’s most popular players ever. A crowd pumping power ballad from yesteryear which, as Barney nears retirement, catches both the past glories and impending sporting genius as the big man makes his way to the oche. These days darters and boxers make similar entrances to their respective arenas and, true to form, Van Barneveld struts about to the Rocky soundtrack like an unathletic heavy weight much to the delight of the crowd.
Wayne Mardle: The Ventures “Theme to “Hawaii 5-0” (1968)
Flamboyant fan favourite Mardle was christened with the brilliant darting moniker Hawaii 5.0.1 due to his love of garish Hawaiian shirts. This meant only one song would be suitable for the Essex man to make his entrance to; the theme tune to 1970’s US TV show, Hawaii 5-0. Complete with Lei, or floral boa to you and me, Mardle always appeared like a mad dad at a wedding when he entered the arena attempting to bring a touch of the exotic to the oche, and the crowd duly lapped it up. Now working as a commentator for Sky Sports, these days he keeps the Pacific flair to a minimum.
Ted Hankey: DJ Zany “Be on Your Way” (2002)
Christened The Count, former BDO World Championship winner Hankey perfectly played up his gruesome nickname by entering in a, since ditched, Dracula-style costume back in his heyday. Striding on in his Halloween costume, Hankey displays little-to-no emotion and, in keeping his costume in place, can spare no hands for a high five. It’s all part of the Hankey theatre though and the tune to which this pantomime villain walks on to is none other than Be on your way by DJ Zany.
Peter Manley: Tony Christie “Is This The Way to Amarillo?” (1971)
With One Dart’s comedic stride, this walk on definitely conjures up mental images of a Peter Kaye tribute to the children’s TV of yesteryear more than it does a world class sportsman heading into battle. Nevertheless, his interpretation of Tony Christie’s 70’s song reborn a decade ago, was inclusive enough to get everyone, lovers and haters alike, involved on his way up to the oche.
Michael van Gerwen: Pink Floyd “Shine on you crazy diamond” & The White Stripes “7 Nation Army” (1975/2003)
Mighty Mike might be giving Phil Taylor a run for his money in the “best of all time” stakes, but his walk on music, though good, is no match for The Power’s. And yet, top marks must be given for inventiveness, as he is the only player in the list to use a mash-up of sorts with which to accompany him into the arena for yet another flawless victory. All business, you won’t catch Mighty Mike twerking ‘Snakebite’ style, simple high fives and waves are all that he needs before he inevitably closes out another title.