The Sanest Guy in the Room : A Life in Lyrics by Don Black
Don Black is the songwriter’s songwriter, a composer’s dream collaborator, and the man behind some of the twentieth century’s greatest musical numbers. Black made his first foray into the glittering world of showbiz as a stand-up, before realising his error and focusing on his lifelong passion instead – music.
Shirley Bassey, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Henry Mancini and Barbra Streisand are just some of the artists Black has worked with over the years – not to mention his frequent collaborator, West End legend Andrew Lloyd Webber – in what can only be described as a remarkable musical career. Yet, never one to court fame, Black has always remained what Mark Steyn coined as ‘the sanest guy in the room’. Interwoven with the stories behind songs such as ‘Diamonds are Forever’ and ‘Born Free’ are vignettes of Black’s life with his beloved wife Shirley, who died in March 2018, after almost sixty years of marriage.
Black writes movingly about how the enormity of his grief changed his life, and how the dark days are slowly turning into dark moments. The Sanest Guy in the Room is a rich and delightful paean to a life lived through song. It reveals the essence of Black’s craft, looks at those who have inspired him and allows us to understand what made those icons tick.
It is also a poignant tribute to Shirley, his biggest inspiration. Told with wit, warmth and great humour, this is Don Black’s astonishing musical journey and an insight into a life behind the lyrics.
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