"Black Is Black" is a song by rock band Los Bravos, released in 1966 as the group's debut single for Decca Records. Produced by Ivor Raymonde, the song reached number two in the UK,[1]number four in the U.S.,[2] and number one in Canada.[3] With the song's success, Los Bravos became the first Spanish rock band to have an international hit single.[4] A dance remix of the song was released as a single in 1986.

Background[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Four members of Los Bravos—bassist Miguel Vicens Danus, guitarist Tony Martinez, organist Manuel Fernandez, and drummer Pablo Sanllehi—had previously worked together in the Spanish band Los Sonors.[5] Together with German-born singer Michael Kogel, the group set out to achieve success in the European market making English-language pop music.[5] After signing with the Spanish division of Decca Records, the band went to England to work with Ivor Raymonde, a British producerarrangerconductor, and composer who had been involved in making UK hit songs with such artists as Marty WildeBilly Fury, and Dave Berry.[5] "Black Is Black" was released in 1966 as the band's first Decca single.[5]

Reception[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Lead singer Mike Kogel's vocals sounded so similar to Gene Pitney that many listeners assumed that "Black Is Black" was a Pitney single.[6][7] In August 1966, the song debuted at number 100 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.[8] It peaked at number four in October,[9] and spent 12 weeks on the chart.[2] The song reached number one on the Canadian Singles Chart,[3]and peaked at number two in the UK.[1] The single also sold two million copies in Spain.[10]

Shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, American media conglomerate company Clear Channel Communications distributed the 2001 Clear Channel memorandum to program directors at the more than 1000 radio stations the company owned.[11] The memo contained a list of 162 songs with "questionable lyrics" that the stations should avoid playing.[11] "Black Is Black" was among the songs on the list.[11]

Other versions[edit source | editbeta]Edit

A French version of the song, entitled "Noir c'est noir," was recorded by Johnny Hallyday and held the number one spot on France's singles chart for seven weeks in the fall of 1966.[12] The song was covered by French vocal trio La Belle Epoque and released as a 1976 single,[13] which peaked at number two in the UK,[14] and reached number one in Australia the following year.Australian-American singer Rick Springfield performed a version of the song on his 1982 album, Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet.[15] The track was also recorded in the same year (1976) in France by Cerrone and appeared on the B side of his solo Disco hit 'Love in C Minor'.[16] In 1986, a dance remix of the original "Black Is Black" by Los Bravos was released as a single.Europop band Joy released their version of the song as a 1987 single. In 1996, the song was covered by the Spanish pop/rock band La Unión on the album Hiperespacio.

Track listing[edit source | editbeta]Edit

  1. "Black Is Black" (Grainger, Hayes, Wadey) – 2:55
  2. "I Want a Name" (Diaz, Raymonde) – 2:38

Chart performance[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Chart (1966) Peak


Canadian RPM 100[3] 1
UK Singles Chart[1] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[2] 4
US Cash Box Top 100 Singles[17] 3
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