4 February 1962, Long Branch, New Jersey, USA. Black was born in New Jersey when his father was working there, but the family soon headed back to their home of Houston, Texas. Black was playing the harmonica at the age of 13 and the guitar at 15. He spent several years playing country music in Houston clubs, and his career took off when he met local musician Hayden Nicholas. They wrote Straight From The Factory as soon as they met and forged a lasting songwriting partnership. Their demos impressed Bill Ham, the manager of ZZ Top, who quickly secured a contract with RCA Records. Most unusually, Black reached number 1 on the US country chart with his first record, A Better Man, which he had written about his own broken romance. The title track from his 1989 debut Killin Time was also a number 1 record. The album was a multi-million-seller. Put Yourself In My Shoes included another number 1 single, Loving Blind. In both vocal and songwriting ability, the obvious comparison is with Merle Haggard, and one that Black is happy to acknowledge.
Managerial disputes halted Blacks recording career after the release of Put Yourself In My Shoes, but his superstar status was affirmed in 1992 with the belated appearance of The Hard Way, which spawned a number 1 single (We Tell Ourselves), and showed heartening signs that Black was unwilling to rest on his artistic laurels. He also duetted with Roy Rogers, reaching the charts with Hold On Partner, and recorded No Time To Kill with Wynonna. Black sang A Run Of Bad Luck on the Maverick soundtrack album and enjoyed further hits with We Tell Ourselves, Burn One Down and Life Gets Away. In 1995, he recorded a Christmas album with a difference, eschewing traditional material in favour of his own songs. Nothin But The Taillights saw Black supported by high-quality guest musicians including Alison Krauss, Mark Knopfler and Chet Atkins.
Black produced himself for the first time on 1999s highly eclectic DLectrified, his final studio album for RCA Records. In the new millennium he set up his own Equity Music Group imprint, making his debut for the label in 2004 with Spend My Time.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.