||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2010)|
Colin Vearncombe in Birkenhead on 22 March 2007
|Birth name||Colin Vearncombe|
|Born||26 May 1962|
|Genres||Pop rock, new wave|
A&M Records Ugly Man
Nero Schwarz Records
Colin Vearncombe, better known as Black, (born, 26 May 1962, Liverpool, England) is an English singer-songwriter, who enjoyed mainstream success in the late 1980s. William Ruhlmann of Allmusic described Vearncombe as a "smoky-voiced singer/songwriter, whose sophisticated jazz-pop songs and dramatic vocal delivery place him somewhere between Bryan Ferry and Morrissey."
Black's first release was "Human Features" on Rox Records in 1981. At this time Black consisted of Vearncombe and David Dickie, formerly of The Last Chant. The single was followed by another independent release in 1982 "More than the Sun", after which Black later signed for WEA Records.
In 1982, Black played with the Thompson Twins on their "Quick Step and Side Kick" tour and supported Wah! on a UK tour. The live sound of synth/percussion/guitar and the use of reel-to-reel tapes got them noticed.
By the time Black signed for WEA in 1984, Dickie had left leaving Vearncombe as a solo act. The next single was "Hey Presto" (1984), which got him noticed outside the UK: the video for this song featured on the satellite music channel Music Box, and the single was released in Australia. The second WEA single was a re-recording of "More than the Sun". After this, Black was dropped from the record label.
1985 was a gloomy year for Vearncombe, causing him to write the ironically entitled minor key song "Wonderful Life". Released independently through Ugly Man Records at first, this track got Black noticed by A&M Records who signed Vearncombe and launched his international career. At first, the single "Everything's Coming Up Roses" flopped, but the follow-up, "Sweetest Smile" became a UK top 10 hit. The third single, a re-release of "Wonderful Life", was a massive hit worldwide. The album of the same name, released in 1987, had similar success, reaping commercial and critical acclaim.
Black then went on to sell over two million records worldwide with Comedy (1988) and Black (1991). In the meantime, Vearncombe married Swedish singer Camilla Griehsel, formerly from the band One 2 Many. Disillusioned with having to deal with a big record company, Vearncombe founded the independent label Nero Schwarz (which is the word "black" in Italian and in German, respectively), and released one album Are We Having Fun Yet? (1993).
After a prolonged hiatus, Vearncombe returned in 1999 to release a string of recordings under his own name.
Vearncombe returned to the name "Black" to release a new recording entitled Between Two Churches in November 2005. On this album he included a song mocking the success of his hit "Wonderful life", where he poignantly re-asked the question, "Are you having a wonderful life?".
2009 saw two album releases. The Given was issued on 4 July, initially available as a free download under Vearncombe's name; and Water On Stone on 17 November, the first Black studio album in four years.
In September 2011, the album Any Colour You Like was released through Black's website.
In April 2014, he started a pledge fund (via the dedicated music crowd-funding site PledgeMusic) for a new album. This was the first time Vearncombe participated in a crowd-funded project. The project significantly exceeded its funding goals and he regularly expressed his surprise and gratefulness through video updates on the PledgeMusic site. His experience with the process also contributed to the name of the album: Blind Faith. The album was released on April 13, 2015.
In November 2015 he recorded a Catalan version of Wonderful Life as a fundraiser for the Catalan telethon La Marató de TV3. Vearncombe himself sings a Catalan translation of the original lyrics.
|Year||Album Name||Credited as||Label||UK Albums Chart||WW sales mil.|
|1987||Wonderful Life||Black||A&M Records||No. 3||1.5|
|1988||Comedy||Black||A&M Records||No. 32||0.5|
|1991||Black||Black||A&M Records||No. 42||0.2|
|1993||Are We Having Fun Yet?||Black||Nero Schwarz Records & Various|
|1999||The Accused||Colin Vearncombe||Nero Schwarz Records & East Central One|
|1999||Abbey Road Live||Colin Vearncombe||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2000||Water On Snow||Colin Vearncombe||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2001||Live At The Bassline||Colin Vearncombe||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2002||Smoke Up Close||Colin Vearncombe||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2005||Between Two Churches||Black||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2009||The Given||Colin Vearncombe||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2009||Water On Stone||Black||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2013||Wonderful Life (Expanded & Remastered)||Black||A&M Records|
|2015||Blind Faith||Black||Nero Schwarz Records|
|Year||Album Name||Label||UK Top||WW sales mil.|
|1996||Master Series||A. & M. Records|
|2000||Millennium Edition||A. & M. Records|
|2000||The Collection||Spectrum Music|
|2007||Black: C.V.||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2011||Any Colour You Like||Nero Schwarz Records|
|1981||"Human Features"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||singles only|
|1982||"More Than The Sun"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"More Than The Sun" (WEA)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1986||"Wonderful Life"||72||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Wonderful Life|
|1987||"Everything's Coming Up Roses"||76||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Wonderful Life" (re-recording)||8||7||2||9||10||6||2||1||2||—||—|
|"I'm Not Afraid"||78||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Everything's Coming Up Roses" (GER only)||—||—||—||—||—||—||11||8||—||—||—|
|"Sweetest Smile" (FRA only)||—||—||38||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Wonderful Life" (AUS only)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||7||—|
|"The Big One"||54||—||—||23||—||—||43||—||—||—||—||Comedy|
|"You're A Big Girl Now"||86||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1989||"Now You're Gone"||66||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"I Can Laugh About It Now" (SPA only)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1991||"Feel Like Change"||56||—||—||—||—||—||72||—||—||—||—||Black|
|"Here It Comes Again"||70||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Fly Up To The Moon" (feat. Sam Brown)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1993||"Don't Take The Silence Too Hard"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Are We Having Fun Yet?|
|"Wishing You Were Here"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Just Like Love"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1994||"Wonderful Life" (re-issue)||42||30||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||single only|
|2005||Two Churches EP||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Between Two Churches|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.|
- Wonderful Life review at Allmusic.
- colin vearncombe aka black. Colinvearncombe.com. Retrieved on 2012-04-09.
-  Black page on PledgeMusic site. Retrieved on 2015-05-03
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 59. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Official Charts Company: Black". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2014-04-26.