“I love and embrace my past,” says Joe Camilleri, “but I know and believe that The Black Sorrows will never be a heritage act because for us there’s no finish line. The heart and soul of The Sorrows still beats loud and clear.”
The Black Sorrows continue to be one of Australia’s most successful touring bands, delivering their special blend of blues and roots music on stages coast to coast. Any examination of The Black Sorrows inevitably comes down to one person. Joe Camilleri (singer, songwriter, saxophonist, producer and the brains behind The Black Sorrows) is one of the most genuinely talented figures in Australian music. As he celebrates 50 years in music, Camilleri has earned the reputation as a hard working musician who never fails to deliver and knows how to connect with his audience. It is his obvious passion for making music, performing live and sense of adventure that keeps Camilleri going and fans coming back for more.
In 1984, following the success of Jo Jo Zep and The Falcons, Joe Camilleri gathered together a group of musician friends and dubbed them The Black Sorrows. The band began playing for the fun of it, recording independent albums and selling them at venues. When radio picked up the classic track, Mystified, The Black Sorrows really took flight. Another break came when Elvis Costello picked up a copy of The Sorrow’s album Sonola. Instead of talking about his new record in his Australian interviews, he talked up The Black Sorrows.
The band signed a worldwide deal with CBS/Sony and proceeded to release some of Australia’s most successful albums here and in Europe including the multi-platinum sellers Hold On To Me, Harley & Rose and The Chosen Ones. Membership in The Black Sorrows has always been loose and fluid with Camilleri being the only constant. The Sorrow’s ‘elastic line-up’ and has been home to over 40 talented Australian musicians at different times and launched the careers of some of Australia’s most successful musicians. In keeping with Camilleri’s penchant for continually moving forward, the newest version of The Black Sorrows is a formidable one - Claude Carranza (guitar/vocals), Mark Gray (bass/vocals), John McCall (keyboards/vocals) and Angus Burchall (drums).
Writer of milestone songs such as So Young, Hit And Run, Shape I’m In, Hold On To Me, Harley and Rose, Chained To The Wheel, Never Let Me Go and the Chosen Ones, the unstoppable Camilleri has dedicated his life to making music. Leader of two of Australia’s most successful bands, Jo Jo Zep and The Falcons and The Black Sorrows, Joe’s music has become part of Australian music culture. Joe was inducted along with other members of the Falcons, into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 2007. Over the years other greats have admired Camilleri’s songwriting. Elvis Costello and John Denver are just two who have recorded cover versions of Joe’s music.
Since their formation in 1984, The Black Sorrows have toured Australia more times than anyone can remember, played sell out shows across Europe, won the ARIA for Best Band‚ and sold more than a million albums worldwide. Joe Camilleri has shown fans and critics alike that he is a performer with an undeniable energy and love of it all.