Black Swan

Album: Keep Moving (2013)


  • 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.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Janis Ian: Married in London, but not in New York

Janis Ian: Married in London, but not in New YorkSong Writing

Can you be married in one country but not another? Only if you're part of a gay couple. One of the first famous singers to come out as a lesbian, Janis wrote a song about it.

Colbie Caillat

Colbie CaillatSongwriter Interviews

Since emerging from MySpace with her hit "Bubbly," Colbie has become a top songwriter, even crafting a hit with Taylor Swift.

The Evolution of "Ophelia"

The Evolution of "Ophelia"Song Writing

How four songs portray Shakespeare's character Ophelia.

Charlie Daniels

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.

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn YankeesSongwriter Interviews

Revisit the awesome glory of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees: cheesily-acted videos, catchy guitar licks, long hair, and lyrics that are just plain relatable.

Emilio Castillo from Tower of Power

Emilio Castillo from Tower of PowerSongwriter Interviews

Emilio talks about what it's like to write and perform with the Tower of Power horns, and why every struggling band should have a friend like Huey Lewis.