Black Shuck

Album: Permission to Land (2003)


  • This song kicks off The Darkness' debut album Permission to Land. It is about the Old English legend of a ghostly black dog which is said to roam the Norfolk, Essex and Suffolk coastline.

    The lyrics are referring specifically to one legendary incident which happened on August 4, 1577, at the churches of Bungay and Blythburgh in Suffolk. At Blythburgh, Black Shuck is said to have burst in through the church doors. He ran up the nave, past a large congregation, killing a man and boy and causing the church tower to collapse through the roof. As the dog left, he left scorch marks on the north door which can be seen at the church to this day. Other accounts attribute the event to lightning or the Devil. The scorch marks on the door are referred to by the locals as "the devil's fingerprints." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jeff - Austin, TX
  • The line, "And a glance beckoned the immediate loss of a loved one" refers to the myth that a family member will die if you look at the Black Shuck. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ross - Motherwell, Scotland
  • Justin Hawkins knows rock and roll, but he wouldn't make a very good history teacher. "Not any of that stuff is accurate or even researched," he told Songfacts regarding the veracity of this song's lyric. "How can it be accurate - I was just making it up. But 'Black Shuck' does run parallel with the legend. I wasn't too far off with 'Black Shuck,' because I was working from childhood memories of when we used to visit that place. They used to tell us about the scratch marks on the door, and that lightning struck a tree. As the legend goes, the church was attacked by a giant hellhound, and then it burnt to the ground and everybody died.

    And then when you actually look at the records, there are some bits of the accounts of that fateful night - somebody saw a dog, some lightning struck the church, which caught fire, and then later they found a boy and a man dead in the graveyard, which might not be connected. They were probably struck by lightning or something like that, but not by a mythical hellhound with bloody red eyes. Probably. But we can't be sure."

Comments: 1

  • Jeff from Austin, TxThis song remains one of my all time favorites. I'll never forget the first time I heard it. I bought "Permission to Land" after reading an article about the Darkness. I had never heard any of their stuff, but I liked what I had read.
    I put the CD in and...WOW!!! Within 1 minute I was hooked. A wicked AC/DC-like riff with Freddy Mercury's voice singing Spinal Tap lyrics. The most refreshing thing I had heard in years. I still get that same feeling every time I hear the song 10 years later.
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