So soon after David Bowie and Glenn Frey we hear of another pop star’s death. Less than a week ago we heard that Colin Vearncombe, aka Black, was injured in a serious car crash in Ireland and the next day the Irish Examiner ran the headline ‘Singer Colin Vearncombe ‘needs a miracle’ to pull out of coma after crash’, sadly that miracle next happened.
Colin was born in Liverpool in May 1962 and learned guitar as a child. His pop career began back in 1981 when he formed a group with two school friends and used the moniker Black and released their first single Human Features on the local Rox record label.
In 1982 he supported the Mighty Wah! and the Thompson Twins on their respective tours. By 1984 Black was now just Vearncombe on his own and in 1985 he wrote the song Wonderful Life which, with its minor key, seemingly appealed to radio stations when it was released on the minor independent label Ugly Man. Despite airplay it spent just one solitary week on the chart at number 72. But thankfully the A&R department at A&M records noticed him and immediately signed hit to their label. The first song they released was Sweetest Smile in the summer of ’87 and it brought Colin international success when it reached number eight in the UK. Not a month after Sweetest Smile dropped out of the chart, Colin re-recorded Wonderful Life for re-issue and that also peaked at number eight.
Over the next three years Black charted five more singles the highest being Paradise which peaked at number 38. In the late eighties Colin married the Swedish former One 2 Many vocalist Camilla Griehsel. He became disillusioned with the record industry and formed his own Nero Schwarz label – Nero being black in Italian and Schwarz being black in German and released one album, Are We Having Fun Yet? in 1993.
After a six year absence, Colin returned and dropped the name Black and so released a number of singles and albums under his own name. In 2005 he reinstated the Black moniker and released the 2011 album Any Colour You Like exclusively through his own website.
He moved to Ireland living in a small village near Cork, he hated London calling it, “such a bad-tempered, miserable city.” He had taken up art painting women, or as he called it “wobbly women.” He held a few exhibitions which also included poetry-writing and enjoys his family life. He said, “Conversations are never a problem and can inspire a song. Songs basically get written. In Ireland you’re never short of someone willing to talk. Shutting them up is more of a problem.”
On Sunday 10th January 2016 he was involved in a serious car crash and had a swelling on his brain after sustaining a serious head injury in the crash near Cork Airport. Camilla and their three son were by his bedside constantly. His management issued a statement which read, ‘Scans have revealed that the injuries to his brain are worse than we feared and that he has only a slim chance of pulling through.” Sadly he didn’t and Colin passed away on 26th January aged just 53.