Black Is Black

Album: Black Is Black (1966)
Charted: 2 4
  • This colorful song finds the singer utterly flummoxed by a girl who has left him. He wants her back, then reconsiders, since she'll only leave him again, putting him in even greater misery. Upon further reflection, he thinks maybe it would work out after all if she returned. She's not coming back, of course, but he seems to feel better believing he has a choice.
  • Los Bravos were a Spanish quintet with a German lead singer - Mike Kogel. They were one of the few rock groups from a non-English speaking country to have an international hit, in part because they were one of the few Spanish acts to sing in English.

    After getting tipped to the group by someone at Decca Records in Spain, the British producer Ivor Raymonde took a trip to that country and signed the group, who at the time were using the name Mike & The Runaways. He brought them to London and had them record "Black Is Black," which was their first release as Los Bravos.
  • This song was written by the British team of Michelle Grainger, Tony Hayes and Steve Wadey; the latter two recorded a single called "What Does She Want?" as Hayes and Wadey. This team also wrote a song for Eddie Rambeau called "Clock."
  • That's a Vox Continental organ Manuel Fernández played on this track. This instrument was used on many classic tracks from the '60s, including "96 Tears" and "The House Of The Rising Sun."
  • A French female disco group called La Belle Epoque recorded this in 1977, taking the song to #2 in the UK. This is the only other version to chart, but many artists have covered the song. Among them: The Shadows, The Standells, Rick Springfield, and The Lady Killers.
  • Lead singer Mike Kogel's voice sounded so much like Gene Pitney's that many assumed this was one of Pitney's songs.
  • This wasn't the biggest "black" hit of 1966; that would be "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones.
  • In America, the group followed this up with the unfortunately titled "Going Nowhere," which reached #91 later in 1966. "Bring A Little Lovin" did a little better, going to #51 in 1968. In the UK, their only other chart entry was "I Don't Care," which went to #16 in 1966.
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Comments: 26

  • Larry from Grass Valley, CaOne line in this song is often misquoted in lyrics websites. It took me awhile to find the actual words:

    "If I had my way, she'd be back today. But she don't intend to see me again." Intend sounds like intined as has been interpreted in several different ways. Some sites say it's "But she don't need time to see me again." There are others as well. Intend rhymes with again, so it fits. If you're interested, look for the vintage video with lyrics displayed and you'll find it.
  • Bwilder from MadridBTW, lead singer's real name is indeed Michael Volker Kogel, Mike Kennedy was only his stage name.
  • Bwilder from MadridThis song was recorded in London. At that time, it was not allowed for musicians from abroad to participate in these recordings, son actually Mike Kennedy was the only real band member in this single. There is an urban legend going on saying that one of the studio musicians in this record is no other than Jimmy Page. Apparently this legend has been proved true.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 7th 1966, "Black Is Black" by Los Bravos entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #100; and on September 25th, 1966 it peaked at #6 {for 2 weeks} and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...And on October 10th, 1966 it reached #1 {for 1 week} on the Canadian RPM 100 Singles chart { went to #2 in United Kingdom and #3 in Australia}...The quintet had two other Top 100 records; "Going Nowhere" peaking at #91 in 1966 and "Bring A Little Lovin'" reaching #51 in 1968.
  • Steve from Whittier, CaGENE PITNEY? First time I knew that..
  • Steve from Whittier, CaThis reminds me in its theme of Paint it Black from the same year!
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaS of Boston...Harmonics in a perons voice give then a unique signature...I agree with you that this was Gene Pitney....if it wasn't, well....the guy needs to lighten up on his
    Pitney impressions!lol
  • John from Palmyra, VaGene Pitney and session players collaborated on Black is Black, and the credit was given to Los Bravos. This is normal in the record business. Pitney, who was in need of money, could not use his name as he was under contract, therefore legally he could not acknowledge his participation.
  • Andrew from Melbourne, AustraliaWhen this song first came out in Australia I remember the DJ saying that the singer Los Bravos could not speak English and that he sang the words from memory.
  • Bill from Baton Rouge, La4/27/10 Don't know how old this comment board is but the name of the lead singer of is MIKE KENNEDY, not Mike Kogel. He had a solo, bit-more-than-minor,hit single in 1971/72 called "Louisiana". Look at videos on utube and tell me it's not the same guy. Also, the commentary from that song states he was the lead singer for Los Bravos. As to his national origin, I've no idea. Perhaps he changed his name post-Los Bravos, but that would make little sense. Thank you. Bill
    (Our sources, including the Billboard Book of Top 40 hits, list the lead singer as Mike Kogel - editor)
  • Manuel from Vigo, SpainHello, I´m sorry that my english is not very good. The original writters of the song are Wadey, Hayes & Grainger.In the french version it appears Hallady, but I think that is because he addapted to french but sure he did not write the song originally.There has been some controversial about the black is black recording, but as far as I know the voice and the choir are from Mike and Tony (original singer and original guitar player) , but all the instruments are playted by session players , not by Los Bravos. This is a great band with very good records.
  • Bogoizbrania from Sofia, BulgariaThe band were an amalgamation of two pop groups, Los Sonor and The Runaways. Los Bravos' lead singer, Mike Kogel, was from Germany.
  • Sakke from Helsinki, FinlandDoes anybody know who's the writer of this great song?
  • Eric from MaastrichtGene Pitney (dec.) also di "Something's gotten hold of my heart" (and a rendition in the 80's with Marc Almond)
  • David from Murrieta, CaOkay, EMI publishing has the writers of the song as Wadey, Hayes & Grainger, but when you look up the French version it is listed as Hallyday/Wadey/Hayes/Grainger
  • David from Murrieta, CaYou can see the 60s video of los bravos singing the song on Youtube. The lipsink was perfect if it were one which I don't believe, it simply was done too well.

    My question is this: Who wrote the song first? Los Bravos or Johnny Haliday the French singer who had a huge hit with Noir C'est Noir in 1965-6 and who as far as I know even now claims to be the original writer/performer.

    You can see Johnny Haliday's version on
  • George from Exeter, EnglandDoesn't look as though my last comment got on,didn't think it was in breach of the guidelines? I was told,that after a rift with Los Bravos,the actual singer of Black is Black was a guy called Skip Wilson,aka Chris L***. to protect his anonymity. I have heard him sing the number,live, and it rings true to me.Yes,very Gene Pitney as were the other songs Skip sung.
    G. (Ex Blackjacks)
  • Ron from Milford, DeActually, I always assumed the lead in Black is Black was sung by Jose Feliciano
  • Jeff from San Jose, CaGene Pitney once commented that when he first heard the song he racked his brain trying to remember doing the session for the song, that's how much the lead vocal resembles his.
  • Vic from Wheeling, IlYou've never heard of Gene Pitney? "Town Without Pity", "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", "Only Love Can Break A Heart", "It Hurts To Be In Love", "24 Hours From Tulsa". He is also in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScI meant who's Jene Pitney? I think I've heard of Jene Pitney, but I couldn't tell you why.
  • Bill from Chicago, IlA great horn chart on this record, certainly a first if not a close second for orginality in its day, perhaps inspiring Stevie Wonder on his "Uptight." A summer record that sounded great on AM!
  • John from Levittown, NyThis is a great song, and kind of a forerunner to early metal or punk if you think about it.
  • Maria from Secaucus, Njquote: Ain't it funny, how a tune can bring back a memory, take you to another place in time, and completely change your state of mind?
  • George from Hell, PaMentioned in the song Big Cheese by Nirvana
  • S from Boston, MaI still don't believe you. That is a dead on Gene Pitney vocal
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