Black, Don 1936(?)–

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BLACK, Don 1936(?)–


Original name, Gerald Blackstone; born June 21, 1936 (some sources cite 1939), in London, England; married Shirley, 1958; children: two.


Lyricist and writer. Vivian Ellis Prize, chair. Also worked as a stand–up comedian.


British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (vice president).

Awards, Honors:

Academy Award, best original song, and nomination for Golden Laurel, Laurel awards, both with John Barry, 1967, for the title song of Born Free; Grammy Award nomination (with others), National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, best original score written for a motion picture or television show, 1968, for To Sir, with Love; Academy Award nomination and Golden Globe Award nomination, both best original song, both with Elmer Bernstein, 1970, for the title song of True Grit; Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nomination, both best original song, both with Walter Scharf, 1973, for the title song of Ben; Academy Award nomination (with Bernstein), best original song, 1975, for "Wherever Love Takes Me," from Gold; Academy Award nomination (with Henry Mancini), best original song 1977, for "Come to Me," from The Pink Panther Strikes Again; Antoinette Perry Award nominations, best original score, 1983, for Merlin, 1986, for Song and Dance, and 1990, for Aspects of Love; Antoinette Perry Award (with others), best original score, 1995, for Sunset Boulevard; Annie Award nomination (with Rachel Portman), International Animated Film Society, outstanding individual achievement for music in an animated feature production, 1998, for "As Long as There's Christmas," from Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas; decorated officer, Order of the British Empire, 1999; Laurence Olivier Award nomination, Society of West End Theatre, 2003, and Hilton Award best new musical, both for Bombay Dreams; Laurence Olivier Award nomination, outstanding musical production, 2004, for Tell Me on a Sunday; five Ivor Novello awards; platinum, gold, and silver record certifications, Recording Industry Association of America.


Television Appearances; Specials:

The 39th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1967.

Nobody Does It Better: The Music of James Bond, 1998.

John Barry: Licence to Thrill (also known as Omnibus: John Barry—Licence to Thrill), BBC, 2000.

Himself, The Real Shirley Bassey, 2001.

Spotlights & Saris: Making Bombay Dreams (also known as Omnibus: Spotlight & Saris: Making "Bombay Dreams"), BBC, 2002.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

"Soundtrack," Walk on By: The Story of Popular Song, ABC, 2001.

Guest, Breakfast, BBC, 2004.

Also appeared in Popular Song: Soundtrack of the Century, Bravo.



The Music of James Bond, 2000.

The Making of "The Italian Job," Paramount Home Entertainment, 2003.


The Italian Job (soundtrack recording), Dove, 1974.

Born Free: The Don Black Songbook, 1995.

Black's work has been released on other recordings.


Stage Work; Lyricist for Musicals:

Billy, music by John Barry, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London, 1974.

Tell Me on a Sunday (based on song cycle created in 1979, originally staged beginning c. 1979 and 1982, revised version (with Jackie Clune), music by Lloyd Webber, Eisenhower Theatre, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC, 2002–2003, then Gielgud Theatre, London, 2003.

The Little Prince and the Aviator, Alvin Theatre, New York City, preview performances 1981–82, never officially opened.

Merlin, Mark Hellinger Theatre, New York City, 1983.

Song and Dance, Royale Theatre, New York City, 1985–86.

(With Charles Hart) Aspects of Love, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Really Useful Theatre Company, Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 1990–91.

(With Christopher Hampton) Sunset Boulevard, music by Lloyd Webber, Minskoff Theatre, New York City, 1994–97.

English lyrics, Romeo and Juliet, Piccadilly Theatre, London, beginning 2002.

Additional lyrics, Dance of the Vampires, Minskoff Theatre, 2002–2003.

Bombay Dreams, book by Meera Syal and Thomas Meehan, music by A. R. Rahman, Apollo Victoria Theatre, London, 2002–2003, then Broadway Theatre, New York City, 2004–2005, also produced in a touring production.

Brighton Rock, book by Giles Havergal, music by Barry, Almeida Theatre, London, 2004.

(With Hampton) Dracula, the Musical, music by Frank Wildhorn, Belasco Theatre, New York City, 2004–2005.

Lyricist for "Next Time You Fall in Love" (music by Lloyd Webber), Starlight Express; provided additional lyrics for Whistle down the Wind.

Writings for the Stage:

(With Christopher Hampton) Sunset Boulevard (musical; based on the film of the same name), Minskoff Theatre, New York City, 1994–97.

(With Hampton) Dracula, the Musical (musical; based on the novel by Bram Stoker), Belasco Theatre, New York City, 2004–2005.

Film Songs; Lyricist:

Title song (music by John Barry), Thunderball (also known as Ian Fleming's "Thunderball"), United Artists, 1965.

Title song (music by Barry), Born Free, Columbia, 1966.

Title song, Pretty Polly (also known as A Matter of Innocence), Studios USA, 1967.

Title song (music by Ron Grainer and Mark London), To Sir, with Love, Columbia, 1967.

"When the World Is Ready," The Long Duel, Paramount, 1967.

"Hideaway," Boom!, Universal, 1968.

"Nothing to Lose" and title song, The Party, United Artists, 1968.

"This Time," Hot Millions, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1968.

"Amazing Grace" and title song (music by Elmer Bernstein), True Grit, Paramount, 1969.

"Getta Bloomin' Move On!" and "On Days Like These" (music by Quincy Jones), The Italian Job, Paramount, 1969.

Title song, Midas Run (also known as A Run on Gold), Cinerama Releasing, 1969.

Title song, Sinful Davy, United Artists, 1969.

The Guru, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1969.

Run Wild, Run Free (also known as The White Colt), Columbia, 1969.

Title song, Some Girls Do, 1969, United Artists, 1971.

"Tell the World We're Not In," Goodbye Gemini (also known as Twinsanity), Cinerama Releasing, 1970.

Title song, Walk in the Spring Rain, Columbia, 1970.

First Love, 1970.

Songs (music by Barry), Diamonds Are Forever (also known as Ian Fleming's "Diamonds Are Forever"), United Artists, 1971.

Title song (music by Walter Scharf), Ben, Bing Crosby Productions, 1972.

"Follow, Follow," Follow Me! (also known as The Public Eye), MCA/Universal, 1972.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, American National Enterprises, 1972.

Cahill U.S. Marshal (also known as Cahill and Wednesday Morning), Warner Bros., 1973.

Walking Tall, Cinerama Releasing, 1973.

Theme song (with Lulu and music by Barry), The Man with the Golden Gun (also known as Ian Fleming's "The Man with the Golden Gun"), United Artists, 1974.

"Play It Again," The Tamarind Seed, Avco–Embassy, 1974.

"Sail the Summer Winds," The Dove, Paramount, 1974.

"Wherever Love Takes Me" (music by Bernstein), and other songs, Gold (also known as The Great Gold Conspiracy), Allied Artists, 1974.

(With others) Paul and Michelle (also known as Paul et Michelle), Paramount, 1974.

"All the Wishing in the World," The Wilby Conspiracy, United Artists, 1975.

Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze, Warner Bros., 1975.

"Come to Me" (music by Henry Mancini), and "Until You Love Me," The Pink Panther Strikes Again, United Artists, 1976.

It's Showtime (documentary; also known as Crazy Animals, Jaws, Paws, Claws, Wonderful World ofThose Cuckoo Animals, and World of Those Cuckoo), United Artists, 1976.

Gulliver's Travels (animated), Sunn Classic Pictures, 1977.

"Dancing on the Edge of a Heartache," "I Feel Lucky Tonight," "Just Like We Never Said Goodbye," "Pour Your Little Heart Out," and title song, The Bitch, Video Classics, 1979.

"Don't Lose the Feeling," Ashanti, Sony Pictures Releasing, 1979.

"You're Always There," The Nude Bomb, Universal, 1980.

"Diamond Trinkets," Honky Tonk Freeway, Universal, 1981.

"Letting Go," The Golden Seal, Samuel Goldwyn, 1983.

"Walkaway," The Krays, Miramax, 1990.

Freddie as F.R.O.7 (animated; also known as Freddie the Frog), Miramax, 1992.

(With Rachel Portman) "As Long as There's Christmas," Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (animated; also known as Beauty and the Beast 2), Buena Vista Home Video/Walt Disney Home Video, 1997.

"Surrender," Tomorrow Never Dies, United Artists, 1997.

"With One Look," In & Out, Paramount, 1997.

Title song, The World Is Not Enough (also known as Pressure Point and T.W.I.N.E.), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 1999.

Thomas and the Magic Railroad (live action and animated), Destination Films, 2000.

Aspects of Love (musical), 2005.

Several of Black's original film songs, notably "Born Free," "To Sir, with Love," and "Walking Tall," have been featured in subsequent films, television broadcasts, and videos.


Gulliver's Travels (animated; based on the novel by Jonathan Swift), Sunn Classic Pictures, 1977.

Television Song Lyrics; Series:

End title song lyrics, Howard's Way, BBC, 1985–90.

Television Song Lyrics; Movies:

Mister Jerico, ABC, 1970.

The Worst Witch, HBO, 1986.

Television Song Lyrics; Specials:

"Love among the Ruins," ABC Theatre, ABC, 1975.

Tell Me on a Sunday (musical), PBS, 1980.

Svengali, CBS, 1983.

"Love Changes Everything," Michael Crawford in Concert, PBS, 1998.

Andrew Lloyd Webber: Masterpiece, PBS, 2002.


The Italian Job (soundtrack recording), Dove, 1974.

Born Free: The Don Black Songbook, 1995.

Black's work has been released on other recordings.

Song Lyrics:

Lyn Paul, "If Everybody Loved the Same as You," 1977.

(With Geoff Stephens) Hot Chocolate, "I'll Put You Together Again," c. 1978.

(With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber) "Amigos para siempre" and other songs for the 1992 summer Olympic ceremonies, Barcelona, Spain, 1992.

Other song lyrics include "Walk Away," recorded by Matt Munro.


(With Christopher Hampton) Sunset Boulevard: The Musical, Faber & Faber, 1997.

Unexpected Songs: 22 Songs by Lyricist Don Black, Hal Leonard, 2003.

Work represented in other collections, including Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Essential Collection; Andrew Lloyd Webber: Now and Forever; Andrew Lloyd Webber: Song and Dance; and Vocal Selections from Sunset Boulevard.



Inverne, James, Wrestling with Elephants: The Authorized Biography of Don Black, foreword by John Barry, Sanctuary Publishing, 2003.


Don Black Official Site,, February 4, 2005.