This is the most famous group who were included in the boom of French dance music in the late-90s, producing lots of great moments along the way, and they took a surprisingly long time to reach the peak of their career. Daft Punk were a duo consisting of Guy-Manuel and Thomas. They were originally known as Darlin’, but changed their name in 1993 to a famous description of what their music sounded like in a Melody Maker review.
Their debut single “Da Funk” had actually been around since 1995, but this became their first Top Ten hit in the UK in February 1997. It was rather clear that they were going to offer something different, not just in their music, but in the first of a lot of memorable videos too. In April 1997 the follow-up “Around The World” also made the Top Ten, and like most of their other singles, this just about earned instant classic status.
Their next two singles didn’t do as well though, and they were off the scene for a while. They returned in November 2000 with “One More Time”, which became their biggest hit yet, and it was one were again everyone who heard this just thought that it was terrific. They had further hits in 2001 with “Digital Love” and “Harder Better Faster Stronger”, by which point they had somehow turned into robots.
They returned again in 2005 with “Robot Rock” and “Technologic”, but these weren’t as well received. What would their next move be? After another long break, in April 2013 their next single was “Get Lucky”, which featured a guest vocal from Pharrell Williams. This was a chart-topper for four weeks, meaning that they had their biggest hit 16 years on from “Da Funk”, which is a special achievement.
Most critics as well said that this was such an instant classic it was incredible that this hadn’t already been around for years. This also got them into the US Top Ten for the first time, and won them the Grammy for Record Of The Year, although if there was a Record Of The Decade award going they probably would’ve won that too. And also around this time, for some reason “Around The World” and “One More Time” returned to the lower end of the chart.
In September 2013, the follow-up “Lose Yourself To Dance”, again featuring Pharrell, was always going to have a tough act to follow, ended up being overshadowed somewhat, and disappointingly missed the Top 40. But they won a Brit in 2014. After this, in 2016 they had two collaborations with The Weeknd that both made the Top Ten. But recently, after almost three decades together, Daft Punk announced their split. People couldn’t believe it really, they had made an extraordinary contribution to dance music, but now they had finally been unplugged.