Longtime Restless Heart groupie Lori Darnell of Lone Oak, Kentucky put a period on 22 years of rabid fandom on Tuesday by announcing that she is officially moving on with her life. Present for the announcement were Darnell’s sister, Betty Sue Lindley, and her best friend of four years, a pug named Dancy.
Betty Sue confesses she never thought the day would come:
“Lori got real into the band around 1987, the year she graduated from high school. I think ‘Why Does It Have to Be (Wrong or Right)’ was the first one that got her attention. She about wore out the cassette. ‘I’ll Still Be Loving You’ was her wedding song, but that relationship broke up a few months later because her husband, Dave, couldn’t put up with her tour-chasing schedule. Also, he didn’t like the idea of naming their first two sons Larry and Stewart. Ever since the divorce, it’s been all about Restless Heart. Until this morning. I don’t know why the change.”
Darnell’s adoration of the band held steady for two decades, even as they fell in and out of commercial favor, continually rejiggered their lineup, and suffered through the Great Mullet Scandal of 1990. She was “practically inconsolable” in the periods between 1996-1998 and 2000-2002, when the group seemed to have disbanded permanently. But she still held out a glimmer of hope, and treated the 2003 reunion of all the band’s original members with the excitement of The Resurrection. “She was going around screaming ‘I told you! I told you!’ to people who hadn’t even heard of the band, much less doubted their eventual reunion,” says Lindley.
Last night, Darnell began listing her collection of Restless Heart memorabilia on eBay. Items currently up for bid include an autographed Still Restless t-shirt, guitar picks caught at 36 different concerts, a Ziploc bag full of Larry Stewart’s nail clippings, a photograph of the child she claims to have conceived with Dave Innis, and a copy of the restraining order filed against Darnell in the late ’90s, with more to come over the next several weeks.
Darnell’s loss of interest means the end of the Restless Heart fan club, of which she has been the sole member and default president since March 1995. Although it’s unclear what inspired her sudden change of heart, Lindley reports that her sister has recently been raving about this great new group called Diamond Rio.