"Wonderful Life" is a song by the English singer Black from his 1986 album of the same name. Written by Black, the song was released twice as a single and was successful the second time, becoming a top ten hit in Switzerland, Germany, the UK, France, Austria, the Netherlands and Italy. The song has been described as a "seductive, bittersweet ballad".The Daily Telegraph said, "Its oddly uplifting lyrics ... combined with Black's melancholy croon created, as one critic observed, 'luxuriantly melodic pop that sounds something like a male version of Sade'."
First released in 1986 by Ugly Man Records, it initially peaked at no. 72 on the UK Singles Chart. The band then decided to re-release the song with a new record company, A&M Records after the success of "Sweetest Smile". The single then reached a higher peak of no. 8 on the UK Singles Chart in August 1987.
The music video was shot in black and white around the English seaside resort of Southport, Merseyside, as well as Wallasey near Black's hometown of Liverpool, and features New Brighton Lighthouse and promenade. The video includes the Looping Star rollercoaster, a ride at Pleasureland at the time, as well as The Galleon fairground ride, the shrimping boat, local shops and residents. It was directed by Gerard De Thame, husband of television presenter Rachel De Thame, and won an award at the New York Film Festival in 1988.
Dutch singer Mathilde Santing recorded her own cover version of "Wonderful Life" on her 1999 album To Others to One. It was released as a maxi single and was used in a television advertisement for Interpolis, a Dutch insurance company. In addition to the album To Others to One, it is also on the albums 20 jaar hits 1981–2001 (Muziek 20 Daagse 2001) and 100 Love Songs .
British singer Tina Cousins recorded a cover version of the song for her second studio album Mastermind. This version had moderate success, peaking at number 17 on the Australian Singles Chart and at number 58 on the UK Singles Chart. In 2005, a dance and a ballad of this cover version were used in the Australian miniseries "The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant" on Channel 10. Since 2007, both the dance and ballad versions of Tina Cousins' cover of the song have been used at the Hoyts cinemas in Australia directly prior to the start of a movie. Now only the ballad version is used. In 2008, this song featured in an UN TV spot ad raising awareness of Human Trafficking.
In 1991(?) it was used as the soundtrack to a British television advertisement for Cadbury's Strollers.
In 1994, it was the soundtrack to a British television advertisement for Standard Life insurance, which rekindled interest in the song. The decision to re-release the track to take advantage of the renewed interest was rather delayed, and this time the song did not appear in the Top 40.
The song was also used in TV advertisements for Fleury Michon meat products in France in the 2000s, but was not sung by Black.
In season 4, episode 14 of the US series Queer as Folk (2004), the song eerily accompanies the main character's struggle to finish a 500-mile bicycle tour in spite of a broken collarbone.