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.