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"Black and White"
Single by Three Dog Night
from the album Seven Separate Fools
Released 1972
Length 3:51 (album), 3:24 (single)
Label Dunhill
Writer(s) David I. Arkin,Earl Robinson

"Black and White" is a song written in 1954 by David I. Arkin and Earl Robinson. The most successful recording of the song was the pop version by Three Dog Night in 1972, when it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The song was inspired by the United States Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education that outlawed racial segregation of public schools. The original folk song was first recorded by Sammy Davis Jr. in 1957.[1] The original lyrics of the song opened with this verse, in reference to the court:

Their robes were black, Their heads were white,
The schoolhouse doors were closed so tight,
Nine judges all set down their names,
To end the years and years of shame.

The reggae group Greyhound recorded and had a top ten UK hit with the song in 1971.[1].Having heard the Greyhound version, which did not include the verse referring to the court, Three Dog Night included the song in their 1972 album, Seven Separate Fools.[1] This version of the song peaked at number one on the U.S. pop chart on September 16, 1972; it also topped the U.S. adult contemporary chart for one week.[2]


  1. ^ a b Liner notes, Ultimate Seventies: 1972, Time Life Records.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
Preceded by
"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" by Looking Glass
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
September 16, 1972 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Baby, Don't Get Hooked on Me" by Mac Davis


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