Sunday morning music

Time to ring the changes again.  I decided, on a whim, to look for songs with the word “black” in their titles.  I had no idea there were so many!  There’s certainly dozens, probably scores, and possibly hundreds of them out there.  That’s unmanageable:  so I decided to pick eight at random that I knew, and that I’d enjoyed when they came out.  (Yes, it makes me feel old to realize how many years I’ve accumulated since then!)  I’ve listed them in chronological order.  If you have another favorite, let us know about it in Comments, and post a link to its video on YouTube if it has one.

Let’s start with a very well-known one indeed:  the Rolling Stones and “Paint It Black“.  This song, released in 1966, became emblematic of the Vietnam War after its use in numerous films and TV programs about that conflict;  so let’s have a video with images from that era.

From 1970, here’s one that rocked the following decade:  Deep Purple with “Black Night“.  I can recall trying to make the cha-cha dance’s rhythm fit this song’s beat.  I failed miserably, of course, but much fun was had by all concerned.  Yes, alcohol may have been involved.

1971 was a prolific year for hits mentioning “black”.  First, Johnny Cash explains why he became “The Man in Black“.

From the same year, here’s Uriah Heep with “Lady in Black“.

And, last but not least from 1971, Led Zeppelin‘s “Black Dog“.

Moving right along, from 1980, here’s AC/DC with “Back In Black“.

Metallica released “Fade to Black” in 1984.  Despite its dark focus on suicidal thoughts, this power ballad has become one of their most popular songs. Here’s a live performance from last year, in which lead guitarist Kirk Hammett plays a 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard guitar previously owned by Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green.  It had been advertised for sale at an eye-watering $2 million, although its actual sale price isn’t known for sure.  Nice, if you can afford it!  You can read about it here, and listen to Kirk describe its unique sound.

Finally, from 1998, here’s Kenny Wayne Shepherd with “Blue on Black“.

So, there you are:  eight songs mentioning “black” in the title.  Do you have a favorite that wasn’t included?  Let us know in Comments.



  1. Two million for a guitar? Why? It can't possibly play any better than any other one properly set up. It isn't endued with any magic. Some people are insane. It's a guitar, not a time machine.

  2. Pearl Jam "Black"

    Depeche Mode "Black Celebration" and "Dressed in Black"

    Jamiroquai "Black Capricorn Day"

    Steely Dan "Black Cow"

    Soundgarden "Black Hole Sun" and "Fell on Black Days"

    Santana "Black Magic Woman"

    Sting "We Work the Black Seam"

    Okay, I'll stop now…

  3. +1 for Black Magic Woman.

    Since you got that one two others I can hear in my mind's ear: First, Black is the Color (of My True Love's Hair is a lovely old Scottish ballad – sung in the Appalachians – which Joan Baez covered in the '60s. (Hey, my parents were "liberals.") She sang it beautifully as she often did, though I have had no use for her since the Lil Joanie Phonie brouhaha in '67.

    The second song was a sign of the times: James Brown's Say it Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud.

  4. I put together a two-hour-long "black" playlist a few years ago, with 35 tunes. A few of them that haven't been mentioned yet:

    Richard Thompson, "1952 Vincent Black Lightning"

    Gentle Giant, "Black Cat"

    The Band (and many others), "Long Black Veil"

    Todd Rundgren, "Black Maria"

    King's X, "Black Flag"

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