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Black is the pseudonym for English singer-songwriter Colin Vearncombe (born 26 May 1962, Liverpool, England), who briefly enjoyed mainstream success in the late 1980s. William Ruhlmann of Allmusic described Vearncombe as a "smoky-voiced singer/songwriter, whose sophisticated jazz-pop songs and dramatic vocal delivery place him somewhere between Bryan Ferry and Morrissey."
Black's first release was "Human Features" on Rox Records in 1981. This was followed by another independent release in 1982 "More than the Sun", after which he was signed by WEA Records.
The first release for WEA was "Hey Presto" (1984), which got him noticed outside the UK: the video for this song featured on the satellite music channel Music Box, and the single was released in Australia. The second WEA single was a re-recording of "More than the Sun". After this, Black was dropped from the record label.
1985 was a gloomy year for Vearncombe, causing him to write the ironically entitled minor key song "Wonderful Life". Released independently through Ugly Man Records at first, this track got Black noticed by A&M Records who signed Vearncombe and launched his international career. At first, the single "Everything's Coming Up Roses" flopped, but the follow-up, "Sweetest Smile" became a UK top 10 hit. The third single, a re-release of "Wonderful Life", was a massive hit worldwide. The album of the same name, released in 1987, had similar success, reaping commercial and critical acclaim.
Black then went on to sell over two million records worldwide with Comedy (1988) and Black (1991). In the meantime, Vearncombe married Swedish singer Camilla Griehsel, formerly from the band One 2 Many. Disillusioned with having to deal with a big record company, Vearncombe founded the independent label Nero Schwarz (which is the word "black" in Italian and in German, respectively), and released one album Are We Having Fun Yet? (1993).
After a prolonged hiatus, Vearncombe returned in 1999 to release a string of recordings under his own name.
Vearncombe returned to the name "Black" to release a new recording entitled Between Two Churches in November 2005. On this album he included a song mocking the success of his hit "Wonderful life", where he poignantly re-asked the question, "Are you having a wonderful life?".
2009 saw two album releases. The Given was issued on 4 July, initially available as a free download under Vearncombe's name; and Water On Stone on 17 November, the first Black studio album in four years.
In September 2011, the album Any Colour You Like was released through Black's website.
|Year||Album Name||Credited as||Label||UK Albums Chart||WW sales mil.|
|1987||Wonderful Life||Black||A&M Records||No. 3||1.5|
|1988||Comedy||Black||A&M Records||No. 32||0.5|
|1991||Black||Black||A&M Records||No. 42||0.2|
|1993||Are We Having Fun Yet?||Black||Nero Schwarz Records & Various|
|1999||The Accused||Colin Vearncombe||Nero Schwarz Records & East Central One|
|1999||Abbey Road Live||Colin Vearncombe||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2000||Water On Snow||Colin Vearncombe||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2001||Live At The Bassline||Colin Vearncombe||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2002||Smoke Up Close||Colin Vearncombe||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2005||Between Two Churches||Black||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2009||The Given||Colin Vearncombe||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2009||Water On Stone||Black||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2013||Wonderful Life (Expanded & Remastered)||Black||A&M Records|
|Year||Album Name||Label||UK Top||WW sales mil.|
|1996||Master Series||A. & M. Records|
|2000||Millennium Edition||A. & M. Records|
|2000||The Collection||Spectrum Music|
|2007||Black: C.V.||Nero Schwarz Records|
|2011||Any Colour You Like||Nero Schwarz Records|
|1981||"Human Features"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||singles only|
|1982||"More Than The Sun"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"More Than The Sun" (WEA)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1986||"Wonderful Life"||72||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Wonderful Life|
|1987||"Everything's Coming Up Roses"||76||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Wonderful Life" (re-recording)||8||7||2||9||10||6||2||1||2||—||—|
|"I'm Not Afraid"||78||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Everything's Coming Up Roses" (GER only)||—||—||—||—||—||—||11||8||—||—||—|
|"Sweetest Smile" (FRA only)||—||—||38||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Wonderful Life" (AUS only)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||23||—|
|"The Big One"||54||—||—||23||—||—||43||—||—||—||—||Comedy|
|"You're A Big Girl Now"||86||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1989||"Now You're Gone"||66||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"I Can Laugh About It Now" (SPA only)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1991||"Feel Like Change"||56||—||—||—||—||—||72||—||—||—||—||Black|
|"Here It Comes Again"||70||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Fly Up To The Moon" (feat. Sam Brown)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1993||"Don't Take The Silence Too Hard"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Are We Having Fun Yet?|
|"Wishing You Were Here"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Just Like Love"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1994||"Wonderful Life" (re-issue)||42||30||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||single only|
|2005||"Two Churches EP"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Between Two Churches|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.|