Dare was formed in 1985 by former Thin Lizzy keyboard player Darren Wharton after Phil Lynott had dissolved the band. By 1987, Dare had gained a local following in Oldham and in 1987 were signed with a four-year deal by A&M.
The band's debut album, Out of the Silence, was released in 1988 on A&M Records. It was recorded in Los Angeles at singer Joni Mitchell's private studio in Beverly Hills. The lineup for this album consisted of Darren Wharton (vocals/keyboards), Vinny Burns (guitars), Martin 'Shelley' Shelton (bass), James Ross (drums), and Brian Cox (keyboards).
The follow-up album Blood from Stone was released in 1991, by which time Nigel Clutterbuck played bass guitar and Greg Morgan was on drums. With a much harder edge than the previous release, the second album was produced in Los Angeles by the sound engineer Keith Olsen. Wharton has since commented that while he is "very proud of that album", he admits, "We should have stuck to our guns musically and not try and jump on the heavy metal band wagon," adding, "Blood from Stone was written to please the Rock Press of the world."
Dare had minor success in Europe, but album sales flagged and the band was dropped from their label (which had been acquired by Polygram) after the second album, this despite Blood from Stone peaking at No. 48 UK in the UK Albums Chart. The band also had five songs in the UK Singles Chart: "Abandon" (#71, 1989), "Nothing Is Stronger Than Love" (#95, 1989) and "The Raindance" (#62, 1989) from Out of the Silence, and "We Don't Need a Reason" (#52, 1991) and "Real Love" (#67, 1991) from Blood from Stone.
It would be 1998 before a third album was released - Calm Before the Storm, produced by Wharton. Wharton has since commented on the emergence of Dare's Celtic sound, stating, "I think that was mainly a part of my Thin Lizzy roots. Out of the Silence was quite Celtic in some of its stuff. You know, "The Raindance" and "King of Spades". You know, I spent my early career with Thin Lizzy, so that rubbed off me a great deal, working with Phil Lynott and Scott Gorham. And those Irish roots and the Celtic roots, where I live in Wales... You know, it's a very similar type of genre of folk music." By the time Calm Before the Storm was released, in a further personnel reshuffle Vinny Burns, Brian Cox and Nigel Clutterbuck had all departed. Andrew Moore was credited with guitars, Martin Wilding with bass, and Julian Gardner with drums. Under 'additional musicians' Kevin Whitehead was credited with drums and Richard Dews with acoustic guitar and backing vocals. Of those departing, Brian Cox would play with D:Ream before becoming a particle physicist and science communicator. Prior to returning to Dare in 2008, Burns (who departed in 1992 to join Asia) would play with a selection of other bands including Ultravox and Ten, as well as releasing a solo album The Journey in 1999. Clutterbuck returned to Dare in 2014.
Belief was released in 2001. The first single from the album, "White Horses", was playlisted by Sir Terry Wogan on the UK's largest national radio station, BBC Radio 2. Tours throughout Europe and Scandinavia were to follow, including a 12 date tour with Asia in the UK. Line up for the album was Darren Wharton (vocals and keyboards), Richard Dews (acoustic guitar and lead), Andrew Moore (electric guitar and lead), and Julian Gardner (drums and percussion).
In the summer of 2004, Beneath the Shining Water was released. The single "Sea of Roses" received considerable airplay on Radio 2. In 2008 Beneath the Shining Water and Belief were released as a double CD though Warner Music/ADA in the U.S.
In October 2009, Arc of the Dawn was released on Wharton's own label , Legend Records. Line up for the album was Darren Wharton (vocals and keyboards), Richard Dews (guitars and backing vocals), and Kevin Whitehead (drums). Sleeve notes included 'Dare Live' which featured the addition of Vinny Burns on guitars. This set-up was retained for Calm Before the Storm 2 which was released in 2012, a re-record of the original Calm Before the Storm album with previously unreleased bonus tracks.
Dare's sole live album to date, The Power of Nature: Live in Munich was released in 2005. The album was also available in DVD format.
Dare released their most recent album to date, Sacred Ground in July 2016. The album is often referred to as studio album seven, given that Calm Before The Storm 2 was essentially a re-record, and does include a '7' in the cover artwork design. Line up for Sacred Ground was Darren Wharton (vocals and keyboards), Vinny Burns (guitars), Kevin Whitehead (drums), Nigel Clutterbuck (bass). Sleeve notes featured the addition of Marc Roberts on keyboards for live shows. The album topped the Amazon Rock Charts in the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy, and received predominantly positive reviews, albeit these usually genre-specific. A typical example might be MelodicRock.com which comments that: "[the album]] features some of Wharton’s most mature song writing to date. Thought provoking and passionate, whilst still retaining a dark rock edge". It continues: "...the return of the masterful Vinny Burns on guitar is certainly a stroke of brilliance. Vinny’s guitar takes the songs to the next level, delivering the rock edge that fans have wanted. Yes, tempo is far more ‘up’ than recent work and like past Dare albums, it does take several listens to get to know the tunes. The similar pacing makes it a little harder to separate the songs initially, but as always with Dare, it is all about mood. And no one does mood better than Darren Wharton and Vinny Burns". The summation includes: "There are no fillers here – 11 great tracks of keyboard and guitar framed music; this is a wonderful album that takes a step back from the Celtic influences of recent times and a huge step back towards straight ahead moody AOR".
In an interview for metalcovent.com in August 2016, Wharton commented that "I've got a new album almost ready to go for next year, so. So it won't be 4 years 'til the next one".
Tour dates/venues during 2017 included the Oslo Hard Rock Café in Norway, the Rockingham Festival at Nottingham Trent University, UK, Winter Storm in Scotland, and the H.E.A.T festival in Germany. The band continued to tour into 2018 and by September 2018 venues had included Hard Rock Heaven (UK), row Club (Athens, Greece), and Melodic Rock Festival (Sweden). The band had also co-headlined five UK shows with FM. On 4 May 2018, the band announced the Anniversary Special Edition of Out Of The Silence, Out Of The Silence II. The original album has been completely re-recorded and was released on 29 June that year, with pre-sales having started on 18 May. On 9 May 2018, the band announced the launch of a new official website. On 30 November 2018, Dare announced initial European tour details for 2019, which by 6 January 2019 had expanded to 22 dates in Belgium, Germany, Holland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. A new album is scheduled for release in 2019.