Did the Darkness have to pay Neil Diamond royalty fees for using his line, “touching you, touching me”?

It wouldn’t be a Darkness lyric if singer Justin Hawkins didn’t deliver it an overdramatic falsetto: you can find the line in their song “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.” (Touching Me, Touching You was Neil Diamond’s breakthrough fifth album.) You can’t copyright titles, and it wasn’t a sufficiently distinct lift, so the metallists didn’t have to contribute to Diamond’s royalty statements. “I didn’t realize what I’d done until after,” Hawkins informed me. “It was subliminal. It’s astonishing when you look back, at how many of the all-time great songs he’s written–he does influence everyone’s songwriting.” An even more obvious Darkness tribute to Diamond is their track “Love on the Rocks With No Ice,” referring to Diamond’s #2 hit ballad from 1980, “Love on the Rocks.”

“I like the way he’s so sincere it hurts,” Hawkins said. “And I love the way that when he’s struggling with a high note, something too painful for him to reach, he has a whole bunch of backing singers back him up on it.” There have been press reports that the Darkness and Diamond planned to write a song together–inevitably a historic collaboration–but Hawkins said that although he would love to, they haven’t contacted each other and he doesn’t even know if Diamond is aware the Darkness exist. So what do Diamond and Hawkins have in common? “Reveling in the idea of being miserable,” Hawkins said. “And receding hairlines.”

(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)