27/1/16 – Colin Vearncombe AKA Black – 26th May 1962 – 26th January 2016 / Black – Wonderful Life – 1987 / Sweetest Smile – 1987 / Blind Faith – 2015

colin vearncombe press shotTo die in your late sixties after fifty years of smoking, drinking and taking drugs, might not be a surprising end. But a car crash at 53 leaving behind a wife and three children – well that’s just not fair.

Colin Vearncombe was best known as Black and for his European hit Wonderful Life that reached the Top Ten all over Europe in 1987. An earlier hit in the UK, Sweetest Smile had his label rerelease the previously independently released Wonderful Life to huge success. His velvety baritone, the tones of a modern Scott Walker, saw him release fifteen albums under both his own name and stage name since 1987. His last album, Blind Faith was released in April 2015.

I met him once in London at a small cafe where he was playing an acoustic set. He seemed to be an easy going normal man, creative, graced with a special voice but hindered by his one massive hit that overshadowed his later lovely records. Listen to his last album and weep for this sophisticated, romantic realist that seemed to be able to express life’s pain and beauty through his art, his poetry and his music.

On the way to Cork airport on January 10th he was involved in a serious car accident causing severe head injuries from which he never recovered, dying a few days later. He is survived by his wife, Swedish singer Camilla Griehsel and their three boys. RIP Colin Vearncombe. Condolences to friends and family.