Colin Vearncombe

Black’s Colin Vearncombe dies, aged 53

Colin Vearncombe, the singer-songwriter best known for his 1987 hits Wonderful Life and Sweetest Smile under the group name Black, has died two weeks after suffering head injuries in a car crash in Ireland.

Vearncombe had been placed in a medically induced coma “to allow him the best possible chance of recovery” following the accident on 10 January, but updates on his official website painted a grim picture as it was discovered that his injuries were worse than originally thought. Colin passed away on 26 January without having regained consciousness, surrounded by his family “who were singing him on his way.”

Born in Liverpool in 1962, Vearncombe played his first gig under the group name Black in 1981 but it took five years – including a brief period when Black was a duo with keyboardist Dave Dix – to find a modicum of success when Wonderful Life reached number 72 in the UK chart in September 1986. The following year Black cracked the top ten when Sweetest Smile and a re-recording of Wonderful Life both reached number 8. Black’s début album, also called Wonderful Life, made number 3 in the autumn of 1987 and the single Paradise was a top forty hit in early 1988. Second album Comedy reached number 32, including minor hits The Big One and Now You’re Gone, while a self-titled third album in 1991 was a top fifty hit and spawned Black’s last hit singles Feels Like Change and Here It Comes Again. After a fourth Black album Are We Having Fun Yet? released on Vearncombe’s own Nero Schwarz label in 1993, Black was put on the back burner. Colin returned to the music scene in 1999 with The Accused, his first release to be credited to himself rather than Black. Vearncombe continued to perform and record, both as Black and under his own name, and successfully crowdfunded the last Black album Blind Faith in 2015.

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