Writing about death of his wife in new memoir was a cathartic experience for Oscar-winner

THE heartbreak in Don Black’s voice is still obvious — but, like his old friend Charles Aznavour once told him, “A man never grows old if he knows what he is doing tomorrow”.

Lyricist Don is the man responsible for five of James Bond’s most-stirring theme songs, such as Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever, as well as Michael Jackson’s Ben, the title song from the hit film Born Free and tunes from Sunset Boulevard, Aspects of Love and Starlight Express.

And that it is not to mention the Tony and Ivor Novello awards, as well as Golden Globes and an Oscar.

But Don’s world came crashing down just over two years ago when his beloved wife, Shirley, died.

“Unless you have lost someone you love and have been with most of your life, then I don’t think you can understand,” Don told me from his London home.

His memoir, The Sanest Guy In The Room: A Life in Lyrics by Don Black (Constable, £20), was published yesterday.

He has dedicated a chapter to Shirley — to whom he was married for more than 60 years after they met at a social club in Clapton — writing about her in an emotional and poignant manner.

“When I was writing about Shirley, I didn’t want to come across as mawkish and sentimental,” the 82-year-old said.

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