#1290: Baby’s Gone by Terry Black

Peak Month: November 1966
7 weeks on the C-FUN-TASTIC FIFTY
Peak Position: #23
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN ALL CANADIAN TOP TEN chart
Peak Position #1
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com link: “Baby’s Gone

Terrance Black was born in Vancouver in 1949. Local DJ, Red Robinson, has said about Terry Black: “Back in the British Invasion days, a young Vancouver singer took the city by storm. He was discovered by Buddy Clyde on Dance Party, a teen show on CHAN TV (now Global). Buddy was able to get the attention of the owner of Dunhill records, the same label that the Mamas and Papas recorded for as well as P.F. Sloan (Eve of Destruction) and others of the day.” Terry Black’s first single, “Sinner Man,” was a minor hit in Canada in 1964. His vocal style mimicked the sound of many male vocalists who were part of the British Invasion. While he was fifteen years old, Black had a #2 hit in Vancouver with “Unless You Care”. His single was kept out of the #1 spot in September ’64 by Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman”. “Unless You Care” was written and produced by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri. Two of the studio musicians on the single were Glen Campbell and Leon Russell, who both went on to have recording careers. The song was a major hit in Canada and also cracked the Billboard Hot 100 at #99. In Canada, Black was awarded the Male Vocalist of the Year award at the Maple Music Awards in 1964.

On the strength of his big his single, Terry Black became an opening act for a number of American and British recording artists on tour in the fall and winter of 1964-65. These included Lonnie Mack, Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas and Gerry & The Pacemakers on the Canadian leg of their respective tours. Black also got noticed by Dick Clark and ended up appearing on American Bandstand. Black recorded “Little Liar” which peaked at #4 in Vancouver and made the Top 20 in Halifax.

Black’s next covered, “Poor Little Fool”, a remake of Ricky Nelson’s #1 hit in 1958. His remake climbed to #23 on CFUN in Vancouver. Black was next inspired to record “Only Sixteen”. This was a remake of a hit R&B singer Sam Cooke. Cooke had charted “Only Sixteen” to #28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959. Cooke’s recording stalled at #31 in Vancouver on CKWX. Black told Dick Clark on a repeat American Bandstand appearance that he chose to record “Only Sixteen”, since it hadn’t been taken. Sam Cooke had died tragically in December 1964 from a gunshot. A posthumous double-sided single release, “A Change Is Gonna Come“/”Shake,” was climbing the Vancouver pop charts in January 1965 and would peak at #5 in February. As a tribute to Sam Cooke, Black thought of recording “Wonderful World”. But Herman’s Hermits had recorded it before Black made it to the recording studio. And so he opted for “Only Sixteen” which peaked at #2 on CFUN in Vancouver.

Terry Black had another Top 20 hit in Vancouver with “Say It Again” in early 1965. The tune climbed to #6 in Calgary. In 1966 Black then moved to the U.S., and his remaining unreleased tracks were released in another Sloan-Barri produced album titled The Black Plague. That same year Terry Black released several singles. “Rainbow” made the Top 30 in Toronto and Vancouver in February ’66. His next release was titled “Baby’s Gone”.

Baby's Gone by Terry Black

“Baby’s Gone is a song about a guy who’s sweetheart has left him. Now tears are rolling down his face. There used to be candlelight and wine. Now, he stares at an empty chair remembering who used to sit in it. As he stares at the empty chair, he hopes the phone will ring and it will be his “Baby” on the phone when he answers.

“Baby’s Gone” climbed to #18 in Hamilton, #23 in Vancouver, #33 in Toronto and just below the Top 40 at KDES in Palm Springs, California. “Baby’s Gone” also was on the C-FUN ALL CANADIAN TOP TEN chart where it peaked at #1.

Black had a minor hit in 1967 titled “Wishing Star” which made the Top 30 in Calgary.

Under the name “Terence” he released the album An Eye for An Ear on Decca Records in the in America in 1969. The album was not released in Canada. Terry Black explored the possibility of being a film star, but becoming a Hollywood star never worked out and Black went back to Canada.

In 1969, Black was hired to join the cast for a Toronto production of Hair. In 1970, Black married Laurel Ward, who was part of the cast. From 1972 to 1982 Black and Ward released several singles. Their best result was the country-pop tune”Goin’ Down (On the Road to L.A.)” which peaked at #57 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1971 Black and Ward joined the Canadian band, Dr. Music, and provided vocals on the band’s hits “One More Mountain To Climb” and “Sun Goes By.” In 1979, Black performed the song “Moondust” on the soundtrack for the movie Meatballs. Throughout the 1980’s Terry Black sang jingles for commercials and sang country music duets with his wife.

In the 2000’s, Black hosted an oldies radio show in British Columbia. He died in 2009, in Kamloops, British Columbia. An obituary included these words about Terry Black in his final decades of life. “…wherever he lived he translated the beauty around him into sculpture, paintings and song. In recent years he struggled with the effects of Multiple Sclerosis but he never lost his sense of humour, his fascination with nature, his creativity and his compassion for those whom he loved.”

References:
Gord Lansell, Peter LoPresti and Jaimie Vernon, Terry Black, canadianbands.com.
Terry Black, inmemoriam.ca, June 30, 2009.
Vancouver Rock Idol Terry Black Dies at 60, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver, BC, June 29, 2009
American Bandstand ~ Dick Clark interview with Terry Black.

For more song reviews visit the Countdown.


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