Permission to Land

Permission to Land is the debut studio album released by British glam rock band the Darkness. The album was released in the United Kingdom on 7 July 2003 and in the United States on 16 September 2003. The album topped the UK Albums Chart[1] and reached number thirty-six on the American Billboard 200 chart.[2] Five singles were released from Permission to Land: "Get Your Hands off My Woman", "Growing on Me", "I Believe in a Thing Called Love", "Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)" (which only appears on the German Christmas edition), and "Love Is Only a Feeling". "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" was the most successful, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart.[1]

Permission to Land
Studio album by
Released7 July 2003
RecordedChapel Studios, South Thoresby, Lincolnshire; Paul Smith Music Studios, London
GenreHard rock, glam metal
44:56 (Japanese deluxe edition)
ProducerPedro Ferreira
The Darkness chronology
I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Permission to Land
One Way Ticket to Hell... and Back
Singles from Permission to Land
  1. "Get Your Hands off My Woman"
    Released: 24 February 2003
  2. "Growing on Me"
    Released: 16 June 2003
  3. "I Believe in a Thing Called Love"
    Released: 22 September 2003
  4. "Christmas Time"
    Released: 15 December 2003
  5. "Love is Only a Feeling"
    Released: 22 March 2004


The band were directed by manager Sue Whitehouse, who had managed them since Justin Hawkins' time as a creator of music jingles and their original band days as Empire. The band were renowned for their live shows from very early on, and such was the popularity of the band, they had a Carling Homecoming gig booked for the London Astoria before they had even signed a record deal. The band already had music industry interest from their days as Empire through connections with Sue Whitehouse, who was based at Savage & Best in Camden. Joe Taylor, Aled Jones and Paul Scaife at The Tip Sheet first heard about the band through a post on The Tip Sheet message board, and featured Love is Only a Feeling in January 2002. They started Record of the Day, and featured the song again around the time of SXSW in March 2003. They wanted to feature Friday Night, but they were told the band was saving it for an album.[3]

According to A&R Nick Raphael in an interview with HitQuarters, there was no initial clamour to sign the band, "There couldn’t have been less of a buzz, and only two record labels showed any interest in them."[4] He believes the reason for lack of interest was that "The business as a whole thought they were uncool. In fact, people were saying that they were a joke and that they weren’t real."[4] As part of Sony Music UK, Raphael had attempted to sign them but the band instead opted to go with Atlantic Records.[4]

Permission to Land, went straight up to number two on the UK Albums Chart upon its release on 7 July 2003, before going to number one and staying there for four weeks, eventually going on to sell 1.5 million copies in the UK alone.


The band took inspiration for some of their work from the local north Suffolk area surrounding their home town, Lowestoft, including "Black Shuck", based on the legend of a dog which supposedly haunts the church of the nearby village of Blythburgh. "Stuck in a Rut" also mentions a set of roads known as the "Barnby Bends", and the "Acle Straight", both of which are prominent routes between Lowestoft and Beccles and Norwich and Great Yarmouth respectively. The band recorded an interview for MTV Japan, which discusses the inspiration behind these songs, as well as featuring self-filmed footage of their home town. This features on a bonus DVD included with the Japanese deluxe edition of the album.

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [6]
Blender     [7]
Entertainment WeeklyD[8]
The Guardian     [9]
Mojo     [10]
Q     [13]
Rolling Stone     [14]
Uncut     [15]

The album received widespread acclaim by critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album earned an average score of 79, based on 19 reviews.[5]

"Permission to Land will never be the album that The Darkness think it is," decided Classic Rock, "but, taken in the spirit that it is offered, it's certainly more fun than Use Your Illusion."[16] In July 2019, Decibel Magazine inducted Permission to Land into their Hall of Fame, stating that the album "that came to define hard rock in the early aughts sounds nothing like anything else that was released in 2003 - or the previous decade, for that matter".[17]

Awards and accoladesEdit

Justin Hawkins at Finland, Ankkarock

The success of this album led to heavy touring for the band, including European portions of Metallica's Summer Sanitarium Tour 2003. They then went on to headline the Carling Festival in 2004. The band won three BRIT Awards in 2004 in response to the album, Best Group, Best Rock Group and Best Album. They also won two Kerrang! awards in 2004 for Best Live Act and Best British Band. The third single from the album, "I Believe in a Thing Called Love", was a substantial hit in the UK as was their tilt at the Christmas 2003 number 1, "Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)", which only just fell short, both singles reaching No.2 in 2003.[18][19]

In addition to its chart success, Permission to Land also provided the Darkness with two high-profile music awards; Best Rock Album at the 2003 Kerrang! Awards[20] and Best British Album at the 2004 BRIT Awards (at which they also won the awards for Best British Group and Best British Rock Act).[21] Permission to Land was voted 49th in the 50 Greatest Albums of the 21st Century in Kerrang!. Permission to Land was later referenced in the song "Whichever Way You Wanna Give It" by lead singer Justin Hawkins' other band Hot Leg. In 2005, the album was ranked number 356 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[22] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[23] In 2016, Metal Hammer ranked Permission to Land sixty-third in their list of the 100 Greatest Albums of the 21st Century, calling it 'one of the greatest debut albums of all time'.[24]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Ed Graham, Dan Hawkins, Justin Hawkins and Frankie Poullain.

Standard edition
1."Black Shuck"3:20
2."Get Your Hands off My Woman"2:46
3."Growing on Me"3:29
4."I Believe in a Thing Called Love"3:36
5."Love Is Only a Feeling"4:19
6."Givin' Up"3:34
7."Stuck in a Rut"3:17
8."Friday Night"2:56
9."Love on the Rocks with No Ice"5:56
10."Holding My Own"4:56


Charts and certificationsEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Artist Chart History - Darkness". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 June 2013. Cite error: The named reference "UK" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b "Artist Chart History - The Darkness". Billboard. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  3. ^ "Success Stories". Record of the Day. 1 February 2006. Archived from the original on 11 October 2006. Retrieved 27 July 2009.
  4. ^ a b c "Interview With Nick Raphael", HitQuarters, 25 May 2005.
  5. ^ a b "Reviews for Permission To Land by The Darkness". Metacritic. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  6. ^ Phares, Heather. "Permission to Land – The Darkness". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  7. ^ Pemberton, Andy (November 2003). "The Darkness: Permission to Land". Blender (21): 110. Archived from the original on 8 August 2004. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  8. ^ Brunner, Rob (15 August 2003). "Rating the contenders for Britain's top music prize". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  9. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (4 July 2003). "The Darkness: Permission to Land". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  10. ^ "The Darkness: Permission to Land". Mojo (117): 98. August 2003.
  11. ^ Wild, Tim (2 July 2003). "The Darkness : The Darkness". NME. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  12. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott (9 October 2003). "Permission to Land: The Darkness". Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  13. ^ "The Darkness: Permission to Land". Q (205): 104. August 2003.
  14. ^ Kemp, Rob (10 September 2003). "The Darkness: Permission to Land". Rolling Stone (932). Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  15. ^ "The Darkness: Permission to Land". Uncut (76): 97. September 2003.
  16. ^ Hotten, Jon (August 2003). "Black humour". Classic Rock #56. p. 90.
  17. ^ Green, Nick. "The Darkness - "Permission to Land"". Decibel. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  18. ^ "The Official Charts Company – The Darkness – I Believe in a Thing Called Love". Official Charts Company. 13 December 2003. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  19. ^ "The Official Charts Company – Singles Chart for week up to 27 December 2003". Official Charts Company. 27 December 2003. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  20. ^ "The Darkness rock Kerrang! awards". BBC. 22 August 2003. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  21. ^ "Brits 2004: The winners". BBC. 17 February 2004. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  22. ^ [...], Rock Hard (Hrsg.). [Red.: Michael Rensen. Mitarb.: Götz Kühnemund] (2005). Best of Rock & Metal die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten. Königswinter: Heel. p. 67. ISBN 3-89880-517-4.
  23. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  24. ^ '100 Greatest Albums of the 21st Century', Metal Hammer, Summer 2016, issue 286, p. 39.
  25. ^ "Discography The Darkness". Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  26. ^ "Discographie The Darkness" (in German). Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  27. ^ "Discographie The Darkness" (in German). Retrieved 16 April 2009.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ "Discography The Darkness". Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  29. ^ "Discografie The Darkness" (in Dutch). Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  30. ^ "Discography The Darkness". Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  31. ^ "Discographie The Darkness" (in French). Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  32. ^ "". Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  33. ^ "Discography The Darkness". Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  34. ^ "Discography The Darkness". Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  35. ^ "Discography The Darkness". Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  36. ^ "Discography The Darkness". Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  37. ^ "Discography The Darkness". Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  38. ^ "Discography The Darkness". Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  39. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2004 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  40. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Darkness – Permission to Land". Music Canada.
  41. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – The Darkness – Permission to Land". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  42. ^ Lisa Wright (28 April 2015). "Justin Hawkins On How His Troubled Band The Darkness Survived 'Sadness, Drama And Trauma'". NME.
  43. ^ "British album certifications – The Darkness – Permission To Land". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Permission To Land in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  44. ^ Nicholas Browne (18 October 2008). "Hawkins Legs It Out of Darkness". Billboard: 42.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  45. ^ "American album certifications – The Darkness – Permission To Land". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit