Blackness of the Night
“It feels very lonely to be by yourself sometimes. When nobody wants to be your friend, it can be very dark at night – so you have to keep your hopes alight and just wait for the sun to rise…”
Blackness of the Night was one of my first ‘protest’ songs for the 60’s. Growing up in London after the War, the memories were strong and bombed ruins still riddled the City. It also reflected the feeling of emptiness wandering the streets at night alone, pondering how to survive in a dark unknown future.
It’s got a lot of relevance to the situation of many refugee kids today, lost and abandoned, finding themselves separated from their families and homes in a hostile world.
The boy in the illustration was inspired by my grandson, Muhammad Sulayman. He was born on the same day as me and has a lot of angsty, insecurity issues too. The Fez hat he is wearing is pretty out of date, so it fits the character of the ‘outsider’.
The song is one of my most treasured and the arrangement of it was inspired by one of my all time favourite bands, Procol Harum, whose drummer, Barrie Wilson, played with me before joining that group. Sadly, he died very young in 1990.
-Yusuf / Cat Stevens