21 Of The Best Songs About The Color Black

Written by Dan Farrant

In the world of music, there’s a palette of songs revolving around the color black. This hue is the most basic of colors and is associated with power, elegance, and mystery.

That’s why it’s the muse of numerous songs across genres and eras. It’s fascinating that many iconic tracks symbolically use this versatile color to convey deep emotions and storylines.

Today, we are presenting you a list of 21 of the best songs about the color black. Each song is a unique masterpiece and a testament to its versatility and allure. What are we waiting for? Let’s dive in!

1. “Paint It Black” By The Rolling Stones

Capturing the color black’s rich symbolism is “Paint It Black,” a renowned song by The Rolling Stones. Released in 1966 as part of their Aftermath album, it reflects an emotional articulation of sorrow and loss.

The song uses the color black to express negative emotions such as despair, depression, and desolation. Here, the narrator experiences grief at the unexpected loss of a partner.

Driving these poignant emotions home is a fusion of musical styles, from hard rock to sitar-led Eastern melodies. This innovative blend distinguishes this song from others while solidifying its status as an iconic entry in our list.

2. “Back In Black” By AC/DC

Another famous song with “black” in the title is AC/DC‘s “Back in Black” from the album of the same name. This monumental rock anthem was a heartfelt tribute to the band’s late vocalist, Bon Scott.

What sets this song apart is its vibrant energy and fiery guitar riffs that echo resilience, revival, and redemption. The color black symbolizes mourning for their lost friend and a solid determination to move forward despite the challenges.

Through thick driving beats and electrifying guitar solos, “Back in Black” embodies AC/DC’s undying spirit and resonates with fans as an unforgettable classic black-themed tune.

3. “Black Hole Sun” By Soundgarden

Up next, we have “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden. The song graced the airwaves in 1994 and strayed from the usual associations of black with darker themes.

With lyrics enriched with complexity, Chris Cornell, Soundgarden’s frontman, delivered a hauntingly beautiful piece that leaves listeners analyzing its meaning even today. While Cornell himself declares that the song does not have a lyrical idea to impart, he affirms that it’s a sad song.

Nevertheless, this rock song stands as one of the most iconic tunes in the grunge movement. At the same time, it is a tribute to the color black in music that resonates internationally.

4. “Blackbird” By The Beatles

The beautiful acoustic ballad “Blackbird” by The Beatles showcases the band’s versatility and songwriting prowess. Released in 1968, this iconic track features Paul McCartney on vocals and guitar.

The lyrics of “Blackbird” are metaphorical and speak to themes of freedom and overcoming obstacles. The words were inspired by the call of a blackbird in Rishikesh, India, and the racial tension in the Southern United States.

In the lyrics, a blackbird with broken wings is a metaphor for the struggle of black people in the southern states. The narrator urges the bird to fly away and be free.

5. “Black Velvet” By Alannah Myles

Canadian singer-songwriter Alannah Myles delivers a sultry and soulful performance in “Black Velvet.” Released in 1989, this Grammy-winning hit pays homage to the legendary singer Elvis Presley.

The song’s lyrics paint a picture of a boy who “could sing, knew how to move, everything.” Here, black velvet is used to refer to Presley, whose portrait was almost always on black velvet. In addition, he was known for using a hair dye named Black Velvet.

Drawing inspiration from classic rock and blues influences, “Black Velvet” resonates with audiences across generations. Its timeless appeal lies in its ability to transport listeners into a world where passion meets nostalgia.

6. “Black Magic Woman” By Santana

Get ready to be bewitched by Santana’s “Black Magic Woman,” a classic rock song that showcases the talented guitar skills of Carlos Santana. The color here does not refer to skin color or ethnicity. Rather, it symbolizes mystery and enchantment.

At its core, “Black Magic Woman” is about falling in love with a femme fatale. She is a mysterious woman, and this adds to her allure that draws him in. He falls so hard he can’t resist her charm, and it feels like she has cast her spell on him.

In essence, the black magic represents the hold that the woman has on the narrator and does not have to do with the dark arts. The color black emphasizes the depth of his attraction toward her.

7. “Black Betty” By Ram Jam

A song with “black” in the lyrics, “Black Betty” by Ram Jam, is a classic rock song that has become an iconic anthem. It was released in 1977, but its exact meaning still baffles listeners today.

The lyrics of “Black Betty” are filled with intrigue and mystique, and people have since made guesses as to what the title refers to. Some say it refers to a woman named Betty. But others claim it refers to some objects, including a bottle of whiskey, a whip, or a penitentiary transfer wagon.

While there isn’t a clear consensus on what exactly the song is about, the color symbolizes something mysterious and potent. Black is often associated with power, mystery, and depth, which aligns with the interpretations of the song.

8. “Fade To Black” By Metallica

In “Fade to Black” by Metallica, the color is used to represent themes of despair and inner turmoil. This melancholic song explores loneliness and hopelessness with its poetic lyrics.

Lead vocalist James Hetfield sings about the struggle of losing oneself in darkness. The color black perfectly depicts the narrator’s descent into despair as he deals with his emotions.

The phrase “fade to black” is used in cinema to mark the end of a story. In this context, it symbolizes his desire to escape from unbearable pain. While he acknowledges that only he can save himself, he believes it’s too late, and the only choice left is to face death.

9. “Black Dog” By Led Zeppelin

Sometimes, we come across songs with titles that do not appear in the lyrics or have nothing to do with what the song is about. Led Zeppelin‘s “Black Dog” is one of those. The title refers to the black Labrador retriever that the band members fed while working on the song in a mansion in Hampshire, England.

The lyrics make use of the color black to denote mystery, which aligns with the narrative about a seductive yet deceptive woman. She is alluring but is difficult to figure out or understand.

What the narrator knows is that he is drawn to her and mesmerized by her beauty and charm. However, he soon finds out that she only used him for his wealth and fame. He’s only asking for someone who is true and who makes him happy.

10. “Black” By Pearl Jam

There are two ways to interpret “Black” by Pearl Jam. This emotional ballad’s lyrics can both point to a breakup or a beloved person dying. Whatever it is, the song addresses feelings of heartbreak and loss.

The lyrics delve into the darkness of a failed relationship, with lead singer Eddie Vedder’s haunting vocals perfectly capturing the pain and anguish. The song’s raw honesty resonates with listeners who have experienced similar heartache, as it touches on themes of loneliness, regret, and longing for something that has been lost.

“Black” remains one of Pearl Jam’s most beloved songs. It showcases their ability to connect deeply with their audience through music that speaks directly to the human experience.

11. “Black Is Black” By Los Bravos

One of the best 1960s songs that must be on our list is “Black Is Black” by Los Bravos. The lyrics reflect the emotions when going through a difficult breakup or experiencing loss.

The lyrics explore the theme of heartbreak. The narrator laments the loss of his love and feels as though everything in his world has turned black. He is still deeply in love with her, and if he “had my way, she’d be back today.”

The color black in the song reflects the bleakness and emptiness the narrator feels with the absence of his lover. His happiness is gone the day she left, and he is left with nothing but sorrow.

12. “Black Horse And The Cherry Tree” By KT Tunstall

What you’ll find in KT Tunstall‘s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” is a song rich in symbolism and metaphor. With a fusion of folk, pop, and rock elements, this track stands out as an ode to resilience and self-discovery.

The song tells the story of a person who faces challenges but finds strength within herself. The metaphorical black horse symbolizes the obstacles she encounters along the journey, while the cherry tree represents her dreams and aspirations.

In addition, black represents the unknown or mystery. This fits the song’s narrative, where a choice must be made and a path to be chosen. The black horse represents the unknown path that comes with a tough decision the narrator will make.

13. “Blackstar” By David Bowie

The next song mentions “black” as a metaphor for one’s mortality. David Bowie‘s “Blackstar” is a haunting and enigmatic song released in 2015 from his final album before his untimely passing.

The song starts with a mysterious, atmospheric sound, setting the stage for Bowie’s distinctive vocals to take center stage. The song could symbolize his exploration of his own mortality. As you may or may not know, he was battling cancer when he produced the album.

On a positive note, black can also represent rebirth or change. The color absorbs all light, and this can represent the absorption of all of his past identities. what emerges is a new persona, or a blackstar.

14. “Long Black Veil” By Dave Matthews Band

Many prominent artists have their renditions of the country ballad “Long Black Veil.” It was first recorded by Lefty Frizzell in 1959 and covered by Dave Matthews Band in 1999.

Black is the perfect color to represent secrecy, guilt, and mourning, which abound in the song. The narrative finds the narrator falsely accused of murder as the witnesses believe that the murderer looks just like him.

However, instead of saving himself, he refuses to provide an alibi. On the night of the murder, he was having an affair with his best friend’s wife. He chooses to keep the secret despite knowing it’s going to cost his life. And so, following his death, his lover visits his grave wearing a long black veil.

15. “Black Sunshine” By White Zombie Ft. Iggy Pop

At its core, “Black Sunshine” by White Zombie is all about a Ford Mustang. The song was released in 1992 from the album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One. Iggy Pop also included a spoken word section for the intro.

“Black Sunshine” follows a man driving his fast car, the adrenaline pumping in his veins. The narrator describes the car, along with the emotions it evokes in him. Here, the color is used to symbolize power, speed, and the thrill of the ride. It also represents the car’s raw power.

All in all, the color black is a potent symbol that embodies power, excitement, and even rebellion.

16. “Black Balloon” By Goo Goo Dolls

The heartfelt rock ballad “Black Balloon” by Goo Goo Dolls beautifully captures the bittersweet essence of life. The song was released in 1999 from their album Dizzy Up the Girl.

According to lead singer John Rzeznik, the song is about a woman addicted to heroin and her lover trying to save her. In the context of the color, black symbolizes addiction. The title refers to the tourniquet used to constrict the veins before injecting the drug.

Black also represents the despair associated with substance abuse. The song shows the destructive power of addiction and how it can ruin relationships and life.

17. “Back To Black” By Amy Winehouse

Singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse‘s “Back to Black” comes from a deeply personal experience. As such, she pours her emotions into every word, conveying her despair and longing for an ex-lover.

The song was inspired by her breakup with her ex, Blake Fielder-Civil, who left her to go back to a former girlfriend. The lyrics capture the pain and heartbreak of their failed relationship. They delve deep into the darkness of lost love with lines like “We only said goodbye with words, I died a hundred times.”

All in all, the heartbreaking lyrics create an atmosphere of sorrow that resonates with anyone who has experienced heartache.

18. “Black Celebration” By Depeche Mode

Up next, we have “Black Celebration” by Depeche Mode. In this song, the color black represents a spectrum of emotions and experiences.

Thematically, “Black Celebration” reflects what many of us experience. There are days when nothing happens, when our plans don’t go the way we want them to, or when we’ve gotten through something bad. Still, it deserves a celebration of some kind, hence the line, “I’ll drink to that.”

This song serves as a reminder to find joy even in moments of darkness. Fortunately for the narrator, he has someone who can help him get through the difficult moments.

19. “Black Roses” By Anastacia

The evocative song “Black Roses” by Anastacia is a tale of heartbreak and betrayal. It uses the imagery of black roses to symbolize the pain and darkness that can accompany lost love.

In the lyrics, the narrator took a chance with love and even put aside her pride. But that cost her a broken heart after her lover or ex played with her feelings.

In this context, black roses serve as a metaphor for a love that’s beautiful and destructive. This sheds light on the darker aspects of a romantic relationship.

20. “Black Night” By Deep Purple

The 1970 single “Black Night” by Deep Purple effectively uses the color black to convey loneliness, self-discovery, and yearning for freedom.

In the lyrics, the song uses black to represent the narrator’s feelings of being isolated. He finds himself in a dark and lonely place, yearning to have the freedom to be himself. He feels like he is so far away from home.

“Black night” can be a metaphor for his emotional state, showing the struggles he has in navigating life’s challenges. One such struggle is his quest for understanding and peace. In that pursuit, he experiences inner turmoil.

21. “Black Pearl” By Horace Faith

Finally, we have “Black Pearl” by the Jamaican reggae singer Horace Faith. His cover of this 1969 single was released in 1970 and peaked at #13 on the UK Singles Chart.

The song was inspired by the film For Love of Ivy, about an African-American woman serving as a maid for nine years. She decides to leave the job so she can go to a secretarial school.

In the song, the narrator uses the color in a unique and appreciative way. He uses the term “black pearl” in reference to the woman who, for him, is like a rare gem. He urges her to stop serving other people and allow him to “put you up where you belong.”

Summing Up Our List Of The Color Black Songs

Now, we’ve reached the end of our list of songs that celebrate the beauty and significance of this enigmatic color. From classic rock anthems such as The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” to soul-stirring ballads like Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black,” these songs capture the essence of black with their evocative lyrics.

Whether exploring themes of darkness, mystery, or resilience, you won’t go wrong with these songs. And if there are others that you feel like seeing on this list, let us know! We’ll gladly add them for you.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.