Black Swan

Album: Keep Moving (2013)
  • songfacts ®
  • Stockdale penned this track around the time Wolfmother were performing at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit. He tried to write it in the feel-good folk song style of such Young tunes as "Harvest Moon."
  • Medieval Europeans believed that there were no black swans, so they were used as a metaphor for that which could not exist. So people were shocked when The Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh sighted a black swan in 1697 on the western coast of Australia. These days a black swan event is a large-impact, perceived impossibility that actually came to pass.

    The lyrics of this song were inspired by a friend of Stockdale's who'd read a book called Black Swan, and thought the singer was a Black Swan. Stockdale explained to Artist Direct: "There's a theory that there was never a black swan. It never existed. There were only white swans. Eventually, in Australia and Perth, there were black swans. It's about how we interpret reality. Our reality is always changing. It's the creative people and the innovators who can change it. They can do things we least expect, and then that becomes part of our reality. I think it's slightly along those lines. A swan or an animal lives in the moment. Does a swan feel bad about itself? Does it feel lonely? Does it want to give a child food? Does it have emotions? Does it feel lost? It's the difference between an animal's mind and a human's mind. I wrote about that and tried to see where it would take me. I was thinking about that lyrically."
  • Thom Yorke, Megadeth and Athlete have all recorded songs with the same subject matter.
Please sign in or register to post comments.


Be the first to comment...

Michael BoltonSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for this talk with Bolton from the '80s when he was a focused on writing songs for other artists.

Charlie DanielsSongwriter Interviews

Charlie discusses the songs that made him a Southern Rock icon, and settles the Devil vs. Johnny argument once and for all.

Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)Songwriter Interviews

The former Metallica bassist talks about his first time writing a song with James Hetfield, and how a hand-me-down iPad has changed his songwriting.

Tanita TikaramSongwriter Interviews

When she released her first album in 1988, Tanita became a UK singing sensation at age 19. She talks about her darkly sensual voice and quirky songwriting style.

Eric BurdonSongwriter Interviews

The renown rock singer talks about "The House of the Rising Sun" and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood."

Cheerleaders In Music VideosSong Writing

It started with a bouncy MTV classic. Nirvana and MCR made them scary, then Gwen, Avril and Madonna put on the pom poms.