Wonderful Life (Black song)

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"Wonderful Life"
Wonderful life (cover).jpg
Single by Black
from the album Wonderful Life
B-side"Life Calls"
Released
  • 1986 (1st release)
  • 1987 (2nd release)
StudioPowerplant Studios, London
GenrePop
Length4:49
Label
Songwriter(s)Colin Vearncombe
Producer(s)Dave "Dix" Dickie
Black singles chronology
"More Than the Sun"
(1984)
"Wonderful Life"
(1986)
"Everything's Coming Up Roses"
(1986)

"Sweetest Smile"
(1987)

"Wonderful Life"
(1987)

"I'm Not Afraid"
(1987)
Music video
Black - Wonderful Life (Official Video) on YouTube

"Wonderful Life" is a song by the English singer Black from his 1986 album of the same name. It was released twice as a single and was successful the second time, becoming a top ten hit in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK. Black, who wrote the song while broke, commented: "I was really being ironic... Most people took it at face value."[1]

Single release[edit]

First released in 1986 by Ugly Man Records, it initially peaked at no. 72 on the UK Singles Chart.[2] The label and Vearncombe then decided to re-release the song with a new record company, A&M Records after the success of "Sweetest Smile" and the single reached a higher peak of no. 8 on the UK Singles Chart in August 1987.[3]

Reception[edit]

In a contemporary review in Smash Hits, Vici McDonald called it a "wonderful record – sentimental without being slushy." She went on: "It's heartening to see someone who a) isn't particularly handsome, b) has a spook-name (i.e. Colin Vearncombe), c) has no discernible 'image' and d) writes slightly odd lyrics, get into the charts purely on the strength of their music, which in this case is very strong indeed."[4]

The song was described by AllMusic as a "seductive, bittersweet ballad".[5] 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'."[6]

Music video[edit]

The music video, shot in black and white, was filmed 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.[7] 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.[8]

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Recorded at Powerplant Studios (London), Square One Studio (Bury).
  • Engineered by Stephen Boyce-Buckley, and Pink Studio (Liverpool).

Formats and track listings[edit]

7" single
  1. "Wonderful Life" – 4:49
  2. "Life Calls" – 3:51
12" maxi single
  1. "Wonderful Life" – 4:49
  2. "Life Calls" – 3:51
  3. "Had Enough" – 4:58
  4. "All We Need Is the Money" – 4:23

Charts[edit]

Mathilde Santing version[edit]

"Wonderful Life"
Wonderful Life (Cover) santing.jpg
Single by Mathilde Santing
from the album To Others to One
Released1999
LabelEpic
Songwriter(s)Colin Vearncombe
Producer(s)John Tilly
Mathilde Santing singles chronology
"Inspiratie"
(1997)
"Wonderful Life"
(1999)
"Come to Me"
(2005)

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 2005.[34] 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 [2008].

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
position
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[35] 6
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[36] 5

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1999) Position
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[37] 44
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[38] 43

Tina Cousins version[edit]

"Wonderful Life"
TinaWonderfulLife.jpg
Single by Tina Cousins
from the album Mastermind
Released30 May 2005 (2005-05-30)
StudioCharlton Farm (Bath, England)
Length3:53
Label
Songwriter(s)Colin Vearncombe
Producer(s)
  • Louie Nicastro
  • Tom Maddicott
Tina Cousins singles chronology
"Hymn"
(2005)
"Wonderful Life"
(2005)
"Come to Me"
(2005)
Audio
"Wonderful Life" on YouTube

British singer Tina Cousins covered "Wonderful" for her second studio album, Mastermind (2005). She recorded it at Charlton Farm Studios in Bath, England. This version, produced by Louie Nicastro and Tom Maddicott, was released in Australia on 30 May 2005 and reached number 17 on the country's ARIA Singles Chart the following month. In the United Kingdom, following a digital release in late November 2005, the cover debuted and peaked at number 58 on the UK Singles Chart on 4 December 2005. The song also charted in Finland, reaching number 17 on the Finnish Singles Chart.

Track listings[edit]

UK CD single[39]

  1. "Wonderful Life" (dance radio edit)
  2. "Wonderful Life" (ballad version)
  3. "Wonderful Life" (extended mix)
  4. "Wonderful Life" (Kenny Hayes Sunshine Funk remix)
  5. "Wonderful Life" (Lee S remix)
  6. "Wonderful Life" (Low Frequency Occupation club mix)

UK digital download[40]

  1. "Wonderful Life" (dance radio edit) – 3:53
  2. "Wonderful Life" (extended mix) – 8:18
  3. "Wonderful Life" (Kenny Hayes Sunshine Funk remix) – 6:25
  4. "Wonderful Life" (Lee S remix) – 6:20
  5. "Wonderful Life" (ballad version) – 3:20
  6. "Wonderful Life" (Low Frequency Occupation club mix) – 7:18

Australian and New Zealand maxi-CD single[41]

  1. "Wonderful Life" (dance version) – 3:53
  2. "Wonderful Life" (ballad version) – 3:20
  3. "Wonderful Life" (Low Frequency Occupation radio edit) – 3:50
  4. "Wonderful Life" (Low Frequency Occupation club mix) – 7:18
  5. "Wonderful Life" (Methods of Flow club mix) – 6:12
  6. "Wonderful Life" (Low Frequency Occupation Dubful Life) – 6:36

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits are lifted from the UK CD single liner notes.[39]

Studio

Personnel

  • Colin Vearncombe – writing
  • Louie Nicastro, Tom Maddicott – production
  • Sil Wilcox – worldwide representation
  • PixelFrame.com.au – cover design

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label
Australia 30 May 2005 (2005-05-30)[49] Maxi-CD Big
United Kingdom 28 November 2005 (2005-11-28)[40] Digital download All Around the World

Other cover versions[edit]

In 2011, the song featured on the Christmas album Funny Looking Angels by Smith & Burrows, a collaboration between Tom Smith (Editors) and Andy Burrows (We Are Scientists and ex-Razorlight).[50]

A version by Katie Melua was originally included on the BBC Radio 2's Sounds of the 80s compilation album, and was subsequently released as a single in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Children's Hospital Charity.[51]

Use in the media[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leigh, Spencer (28 January 2016). "Colin Vearncombe: Singer known as Black whose 1987 song Wonderful Life was a hit around the world". The Independent. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  4. ^ McDonald, Vici (12 August 1987). "Review: Singles". Smash Hits. Vol. 9 no. 16. p. 61.
  5. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Black – Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Colin Vearncombe, singer-songwriter – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  7. ^ Brown, Andrew (10 July 2015). "How many Southport landmarks can you see in 1987 hit Wonderful Life by Black?". Southport Visiter. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Gerard de Thame Films". Gerarddethame.com. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  9. ^ "Top 50 Australian Singles Chart – Week ending 5th June, 1988". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Black – Wonderful Life" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Ultratop.be – Black – Wonderful Life" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  12. ^ "Lescharts.com – Black – Wonderful Life" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  13. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Wonderful Life". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  14. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 44, 1987" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  15. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Black – Wonderful Life" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  16. ^ "WONDERFUL LIFE – Black" (in Polish). LP3. Archived from the original on 30 April 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  17. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  18. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Black – Wonderful Life". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  19. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Black – Wonderful Life". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  20. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  21. ^ "Tedenska lestvica" (in Slovenian). SloTop50. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1987" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  23. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1987" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  24. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1987" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  25. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts: 1987". GfK Entertainment (in German). Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  26. ^ "Jahreshitparade 1988" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  27. ^ "1988 Year End Eurocharts > Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 6 no. 52/1. 1 January 1988. p. 30. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  28. ^ "TOP – 1988". Top-france.fr (in French). Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  29. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts: 1988". GfK Entertainment (in German). Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  30. ^ "Les Singles en Or". InfoDisc (in French). Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  31. ^ "French single certifications – Black – Wonderful Life" (in French). InfoDisc. Select BLACK and click OK. 
  32. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Black; 'Wonderful Life')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  33. ^ "British single certifications – Black – Wonderful Life". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  34. ^ "Mathilde Santing Officiële Gambling". Mathildesanting.info. Retrieved 7 October 2008.
  35. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 14, 1999" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  36. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Matilde Santing & The Oversoul 13 – Wonderful Life" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  37. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1999" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  38. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1999" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  39. ^ a b Wonderful Life (UK CD single liner notes). Tina Cousins. All Around the World Productions. 2005. CDGLOBE472.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  40. ^ a b "Wonderful Life". Apple Music. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  41. ^ Wonderful Life (Australian & New Zealand maxi-CD single liner notes). Tina Cousins. Big Records. 2005. BIGS012.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  42. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Tina Cousins – Wonderful Life". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  43. ^ "Issue 797" ARIA Top 50 Dance Singles. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  44. ^ "Tina Cousins: Wonderful Life" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  45. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  46. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  47. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  48. ^ "ARIA Charts – End of Year Charts – Dance Singles 2005". ARIA. Archived from the original on 15 April 2020. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  49. ^ "New Releases Singles – Week Commencing 30th May 2005" (PDF). ARIA. 30 May 2005. p. 28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 February 2008. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  50. ^ "Smith & Burrows". Smithandburrows.co.uk. Archived from the original on 3 December 2011.
  51. ^ nero (3 September 2015). "Katie Melua – Wonderful Life Single". Colinvearncombe.com. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  52. ^ "Fleury Michon + Black". Musiquedepub.tv (in French). Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  53. ^ Emirates Wonderful Life Dubai on YouTube
  54. ^ Swift, James (1 September 2015). "Katie Melua covers 'Wonderful Life' for Premier Inn campaign". Campaign. Retrieved 14 April 2017.

External links[edit]