Once upon a time, there was a bet, involving a lot of whiskey, a poem, and a guitarist called Will Darlington. Under his drunken fingers, John Donne's "Elegy 20: To His Mistress Going to Bed" became a clumsy but enthralling song of seduction. His best friend and ex-roommate, Charles Bingley IV, based his senior thesis on his memories of that night; with a double major in English and Music, a compilation of compositions with a great literature for lyrics seemed just the thing to supplement his diploma.
Of course, he had to gather a band. He started with Will Darlington and added Richard Fitzwilliam, a twenty-six year old umemployed drummer and Will's cousin, when he realized that both he and Will played only guitar and bass. Richard Fitzwilliam was already fondly called "Fitz" among friends, so Will and Charlie began using "Dar" and "Bing" on stage. At Boston University's Open Mic Night, Charlie signed them in as "B.F.D.," because he was short on time and had his hands full with his instruments.
These last two paragraphs made up the first five minutes of VH1's Behind the Music's take on the new Pop Rock sensation B.F.D. Their success story was attributed mainly to these three things:
1. The rags-to-riches story of a small college band making it big.
2. The popularity of the song "Fire and Ice," based on Robert Frost's poem—immediately after its release in mid-September 2001, and then, the popularity of their next hit "Do I contradict myself?" based on part of Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself."
3. A cover of the Rolling Stones (in October 2001) that--as the LA Times raves--"won America's heart." On the cover, Fitz—with a crest of red hair and his usual expression of half-bored mischief, is in the background, absentmindedly drumming on a seated Bing's head, who endures it with his usual good humor (and all-American good looks), but it is the one called Dar who draws the eye. He is staring straight at the photographer, all very dark eyes and harsh, rigid attention, with his mouth tight and his hands clasped behind his back. There is something alluring in Fitz's playfulness, Bing's charm, and Dar's guardedness; consequently, most of the band's early income was made from posters of that one photo.
They had two albums—one self-entitled and the other called Singing Shakespeare and Dreaming Donne--and one tour. The fact of the matter was that their second album hadn't sold as well as their first, and music critics were already whispering of "one or maybe two hit-wonders." It was generally believed that the band's popularity rested on their third album. So, after they finished the tour, they decided to return to their roots for better song-writing material: Fitz went home to his wife, and Bing and Dar rented a mansion (location not disclosed to the general public), one rather close to a small university campus.