This was written by The Ventures keyboard player Johnny Durrill.
This is about a woman who visits a famous fortune teller. The fortune teller (the "dark lady") tells her to break up with her boyfriend. Later on, the shocked protagonist remembers where she smelt the fortune teller's perfume before: on her bed after a night with her lover. She returns to the dark lady with a gun and finds her beau making love to the fortune teller. In a split decision, she pulls the trigger and kills the dark lady.
Johnny Durrill: "I spent a week in his (Snuff Garrett, Cher's producers) 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. That song became 'Dark Lady' which Cher cut; it went to number one in 1974. Garrett provided me access to artists such as Cher and Sinatra and other opportunities such as soundtracks."
Suggestion credit: Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for above 2
Ricky from Ohsweken, Ontario CanadaKristin - Bessemer, Al; according to a 70s CD I have Sonny turned it down for (& I quote from the CD liner notes) "fearing it would offend people down south only to release songs like Half Breed & Dark Lady which would go on to offend other people everywhere."
Esskayess from Dallas, TxGo on YouTube and query for the animated video that was created for this song's use on the Sonny and Cher Show. It makes the song more fun to hear.
Paul from Detroit, MiHmmm .... Gypsies, Tramps and Theives, Half Breed and then Dark Lady. She loved singing about odd women in the 70's. All reached #1.
Breanna from Henderson, NvThis is a great song, I love that she kills them in the end, great ending isn't it.
Kristin from Bessemer, AlI find it very suprising that she would record this song, but Sonny Bono (at the time), was very reluctant for her to record "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia"
Greg from New York, NyI have been looking every for a Chord Progression Chart for Dark Lady. Does anyone know where I can get one?
Cara from Santa Barbara, CaShe does kill her boyfriend and "the dark lady" in the song.
Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI rhought the protagonist killed both her boyfriend and the fortune teller in the song.
Jeffri from San Diego, CaHi John, Long time. I just heard Dark Lady and remembered when we were living on Cherokee in Hollywood next to Mary when you wrote it.