Black Horse and the Cherry Tree

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"Black Horse and the Cherry Tree"
KT Tunstall - Black Horse & The Cherry Tree.jpg
Single by KT Tunstall
from the album Eye to the Telescope
B-side "Barbie"
"One Day"
Released 21 February 2005 (2005-02-21)
(See release history)
Format 7", CD
Recorded 2004
Genre Indie rock, blue-eyed soul, folk blues
Length 2:51
Label Relentless
Writer(s) KT Tunstall
Producer(s) Andy Green
KT Tunstall UK singles chronology
"Throw Me a Rope"
"Black Horse and the Cherry Tree"
"Other Side of the World"
KT Tunstall US singles chronology
"Black Horse and the Cherry Tree"
"Suddenly I See"
Music sample

"Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" (commonly written with an ampersand) is a song by Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall and is featured on her debut album, Eye to the Telescope. It was released on 21 February 2005 as the lead single from the album, charting at No. 28 in the UK Singles Chart (see 2005 in British music). It is one of many songs that reuses the famous Bo Diddley beat from the influential 1955 song of his own name.

The song is a playable track in the music video games Band Hero and Dancing with the Stars: We Dance!

Song information[edit]

Tunstall said of the song:[1]

"Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" is inspired by old blues, Nashville psycho hillbillies & hazy memories. It tells the story of finding yourself lost on your path, and a choice has to be made. It's about gambling, fate, listening to your heart, and having the strength to fight the darkness that's always willing to carry you off.

The song is usually performed solo by Tunstall, the original artist, with the layered guitar and vocals constructed piece-by-piece by sampling the parts live, and using a loop pedal unit to create the backing track. A performance of the song on Later... with Jools Holland (recorded before the release of Eye to the Telescope) was an important break in Tunstall's career. The song won Tunstall an award for Best Single of 2005 in Q, and it received a 2007 Grammy Award nomination for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance".[2]

The album version was used as the opening theme song for the CBC Television drama Wild Roses. The song was later redone by Aly & AJ for Pepsi Smash, included on the Japanese only re-release of their second studio album Insomniatic. "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" was also used in advertisements for The WB show Pepper Dennis and the 2006 US Open. The song's video ranked No. 19 on VH1's 40 Greatest Videos of 2006. During the programme's airing, Tunstall stated that the day of the video shoot was the only time she had ever worn red lipstick.

Track listings[edit]

  • Digital download
  1. "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" – 2:54
  • UK Maxi CD single
  1. "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" – 2:54
  2. "One Day (Live)" – 4:19
  3. "Barbie" – 2:23
  4. "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" (Instrumental) – 2:54
  • UK vinyl 7" single
  1. "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" – 2:54
  2. "Barbie" – 2:25
  • European CD single
  1. "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" – 2:54
  2. "One Day (Live)" – 4:19
  • US CD single
  1. "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" – 2:51
  2. "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" (Instrumental) – 2:47
  • Italian vinyl 12" single
  1. "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" – 2:54

Release history[edit]

Country Release date
United Kingdom 21 February 2005 (2005-02-21)
Canada 29 August 2005 (2005-08-29)
United States

Chart performance[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the single peaked at No. 28 in its first week and dropped out of the Top 75 in three weeks.

In the United States, "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" was initially in the bottom half of the US Billboard Billboard Hot 100 chart. Only after Katharine McPhee sang the song on American Idol (in the 5th season) as part of a Billboard charts-based song selection did the tune rise rapidly in popularity; it jumped 56 positions on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, going from No. 79 to No. 23, and then moving to No. 20, becoming Tunstall's first single (and only, to date) to appear on that chart's Top 20. McPhee would go on to sing the song again in her final performance show on 23 May 2006, finishing second to Taylor Hicks.

Megan Joy also sang this song on American Idol, in season 8.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2005–07) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart 31
Belgian Singles Chart 35
Canada (Canadian Hot 100) 51
Dutch Singles Chart 80
French Singles Chart 23
German Singles Chart 51
Irish Singles Chart 16
Italian Singles Chart 10
New Zealand Singles Charts 20
Swiss Singles Chart 92
UK Singles Chart 28
US Billboard Hot 100 20
US Billboard Pop Songs 15
US Billboard Adult Pop Songs 1
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 4


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[4] Gold 35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[5] Platinum 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Cover versions[edit]