Don Black (musician)

Don Black (musician)

Don Black OBE (born Donald Blackstone, 21 June 1938, London [ [ IMDb biographical data] ] ) is an English lyricist. His works have included numerous musicals, movie themes and hit songs. He began his music industry career as an office boy with a music publishing firm, and later worked as a song-plugger. He also had a brief spell as a stand-up comic.

He was personal manager to the singer, Matt Monro for many years and also provided songs for the singer (usually writing English language lyrics to continental songs). These included "Walk Away" (music: Udo Jürgens) and "For Mamma" (music: Charles Aznavour).

In collaboration with composer John Barry, he wrote the title song for the 1966 film "Born Free", which won the Oscar for Best Song that year, as well as providing another hit for Matt Monro. Black's other movie song credits include the themes for several James Bond films, including "Thunderball", "Diamonds Are Forever", "The Man with the Golden Gun", plus "Surrender" from "Tomorrow Never Dies" and "The World Is Not Enough". He later collaborated with Barry again on "Out of Africa", "Dances with Wolves", and their ill-fated Broadway musical, "The Little Prince and the Aviator".

"On Days Like These", the title song of the original version of the movie "The Italian Job" was written by Don Black, to music by Quincy Jones.

He has also provided lyrics for Jule Styne, Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein, Michel Legrand and Marvin Hamlisch, and has had two U.S. number one hits, Michael Jackson's "Ben" (music: Walter Scharf) and Lulu's "To Sir, with Love" (music: Mark London).

Black's stage musical credits include "Billy" (music: John Barry), "Bar Mitzvah Boy" (music: Jule Styne), "Dear Anyone" (music: Geoff Stephens), "Budgie" (music: Mort Shuman) and several Andrew Lloyd Webber shows - the 1980 song-cycle, "Tell Me on a Sunday", which was performed by Marti Webb (whom he also managed for a time); "Aspects of Love", which propelled Michael Ball to stardom; and, together with Christopher Hampton, the musical adaptation of the Billy Wilder film "Sunset Boulevard". In 2002 he worked with Indian composer A. R. Rahman on the musical "Bombay Dreams".

He also co-wrote with Jim Steinman the single "Is Nothing Sacred," which was sung by Meat Loaf.

Black lives with his wife of over 40 years (Shirley) in London, England.

On Sunday 17th August 2008 the tribute concert "Lyrics by Don Black" was held at the London Palladium featuring performances of Black's songs by a selection of guest artists. The evening, hosted by Michael Parkinson and recorded for broadcast by BBC Radio 2, included an exclusive performance of two songs from Black's new musical "The Count of Monte Cristo". The concert included contributions from Lee Mead, Gary Barlow, Craig David, Maria Friedman, Joe Longthorne, Lulu, Peter Grant, Raza Jaffrey, Matt Rawle, Ryan Molloy, Elkie Brooks, Marti Webb, Jonathan Ansell, Hayley Westenra, Phil Campbell and Mica Paris. The singers were accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra led by Mike Dixon and with guest conductors Michel Legrand and David Arnold.


* "Wrestling With Elephants" (The Authorized Biography of Don Black) by James Inverne ("Sanctuary Publishing, 2003")

External links

*imdb name|id=0085246|name=Don Black
* [ Don Black] at the Internet Broadway Database
* [ James Bond Composer David Arnold to Present Award to Don Black]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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