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Black Horse and The Cherry Tree

by

KT Tunstall



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

In The Guardian newspaper of February 24, 2006, Tunstall explained: "It's a metaphor for good and evil. One summer, I was traveling in Greece on a little moped and this massive black horse had broken free in an olive grove and was going nuts. It looked apocalyptic: a seed was sown. I wrote the song years later in a tiny studio in Shepherd's Bush. I was about to tour Scottish coffee shops and was worried about coming across like Phoebe from Friends. At the same time I saw a brilliant guy called Son of Dave who looked like a ginger nylon 1980s' Elvis: really raw blues with just voice and effects. I got a pedal and one of my techie friends helped me put myself and my guitar through it. It's probably the most scientific I've been, but the song was written in a 10-minute burst. The lyrics where my 'Heart stops dead' refer to a heart murmur I had as a baby. I got into this fantasy that my heart felt betrayed and had decided to stop working. The song is about having to dig incredibly deep to find out who you wanna be."
Tunstall gained a lot of notoriety when she performed this song on Later with Jools Holland. She got her big break with the rapper Nas, who was scheduled to appear on the show, had to cancel due to a family emergency. After the performance, Eye To The Telescope was re-released and went to #3 on the UK charts. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
For her live performances, Tunstall uses an AKAI E2 headrush loop pedal. This unit basically samples her own live performances and plays it back so she can layer more on top of it. It is not an easy thing to do live, although many performers use loops in the studio. The "woo-hoo" backups are indeed KT.
KT is not an abbreviation, but rather a shorthand spelling for Katie.
In May of 2006 the song was covered twice by Katherine McPhee, a runner up on season 5 of the TV show American Idol. It was this performance that kickstarted interest in the song and really propelled it onto the charts.
The song has been used in an advertisement for the TV show Pepper Dennis. It was also used in commercials for Alice ADSL, the commercial name of Telecom Italia France, a European internet service provider. (thanks, Steve - Gaithersburg, MD, for above 4)
The song won the award for Best Single of 2005 in Q magazine. (thanks, Donovan Berry - El Dorado, AR)
KT Tunstall says in You magazine November 4, 2007 about granting Katherine McPhee permission to cover her song on American Idol: It was a bit of a quandary for me, because I don't like reality pop shows at all. They're great TV, but they're not good for music. When Katherine chose Black Horse, she demonstrated a bit of personality in what's otherwise a puppet show, and that appearance did me a lot of favors. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
KT Tunstall
More KT Tunstall songs
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Comments (15):

She is doing the woo-hoo's herself and it's pretty amazing to watch how she does all of this as a one-woman act. Also, if you do your research, this song is not about a black man or abortion or being a virgin. KT was actually riding her moped out in the country and a black horse was loose in a vineyard. It was a little scary to her and she kept going. So she compares that feeling to being afraid to commit to a love. She actually had a heart murmur as a child and that's why she compares her heart having a hole in it and stopping for a beat or two to that of regretting that you denied yourself of the love you could have had all because of your fear and now you'll never be the same and the world can recognize this about you.
- Polly, Collinsville, MS
I love this song, KT's voice is raspy but soulful.
- Theresa, Murfreesboro, TN
i love this song, but i never learned the entire lyrics until checking on this site! am i the only one?
- Emily, Around Chicago, IL
I thought that she had sampled the "WOO-HOO" from Neutron Dance. LOL
- jane, austin, TX
This song is about a girl who becomes pregnant. The guy wanted to marry her but she was scared of being trapped in a boring life. She was still young and wanted to enjoy all the fruits of life so she had an abortion. Now, years later, she regrets that decision and it haunts her for the rest of her life.
- Robert, Houston, TX
For the longest time, I couldn't help that I had heard this song before, or at least something like it. The it came to me. Black Dog! The timing is almost exactly like Led Zeppelin's Black Dog!! Just insert the lyrics and you'll see what I mean! I wouldn't feel too sorry for them, though, considering how much they've "borrowed" from other artists.
- Jim, North Billerica, MA
I first heard my daughter, Tiffany sing this song at karaoke and I just love it. She sings it really good.
- cindy, dallastown, PA
Would like to see KT and Etheridge record together...
- Diane, Ft.Lauderdale, FL
It is a song about a virgin getting knocked up by a black guy and having the baby aborted after rejecting his proposition for marriage. It's plain and simple if you read the lyrics
- GB, Spokane, WA
I love this song. the "woo hoo" isn't annoying at all. I love her voice- how raspy and bluesy it gets in this song, yet in others, she can sound like even Stevie Nicks sometimes, particularly Silent Sea.
- Ashley, Moncton, Canada
I sing this one regularly at karaoke. Love it!
- peg, Richmon, VA
Who knows maybe she recorded those back-up vocals herself. That's just a thought.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
I agree with Caitlin, good song but the WOO-HOO singers need to go away.
-Angelina C, Tyler, TX
- Angelina, Tyler, TX
I like the song, but the back up singers in this song are really anoying!
- Caitlin, Upper Township, NJ
KT Tunstall must be a very ambitious artist. I heard that she pretty much begged the Today show to let her play this song so everyone could hear it.
- Shannon Mulvany, Spokane, WA
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