Black Gold

Album: Grave Dancers Union (1992)
Charted: 26
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Songfacts®:

  • Soul Asylum lead singer Dave Pirner wrote this war-themed song. "Black Gold" is oil, and the song deals with the first Gulf War, with the "Two boys on a playground" being metaphors for USA and Iraq. Midway through the song there are some sounds of sirens, screams and what appears to be a news report.

    When we spoke with Pirner in 2013, he explained: "Here's a song that I wrote 20 years ago that was begging people to grow up, and I guess it doesn't happen. People just try to stay the way they are, and that's unfortunate. To that effect, I just keep on singing the song. The song does not present an answer, but I think that it's something that people need to be reminded of."
  • Political songs don't always have very long shelf lives, but this one has remained in Soul Asylum's set list, as it remains relevant. "I had no idea how adaptable this song was," Dave Pirner told us. "It can be interpreted as something that's more micro and macro. I tend to take these things from a personal point of view where it's two boys on a playground, and at the time it was an obvious reference to political leaders going, 'My dick is bigger than yours.'"
  • Directed by David Roth, the video for this song featured George Wendt, who played Norm in the TV series Cheers. The video got the band on MTV, and the network took a liking to the band. This encouraged their record company to attach a big budget to their next video, which was the "missing children" clip for "Runaway Train," which became an MTV favorite.

Comments: 3

  • Lethe from ErisdottirHey, 1992 and 2013? This is 2019 asking you to hold my beer.
  • Johnnys Cousin Steve from Villas, NjThis is an awesome kind of forgotten song. Dave Pirner is an excellent songwriter....definitely top in the 90's. I never cared for the line "black soldier in a white fight"...still love the tune.
  • Nick from Arlington Heights, IlTragically, this song is a lot more poignant now in 2008 then it was when it was released in 1992. There are now far too many Iraq vets who are in wheelchairs with so much left to do with their lives.
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