Singer-songwriter ‘Black’ dies following car crash in Cork

Colin Vearncombe sold more than two million albums worldwide

Hit song Wonderful Life being performed by 1980s singer-songwriter Colin Vearncombe,the voice of Black, who died following a car crash in County Cork.


The 1980s singer-songwriter Colin Vearncombe, the voice of Black – who had a hit with the song Wonderful Life – died on Tuesday following a car crash in Co Cork a fortnight ago.

A simple announcement was placed on his Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon: Colin Vearncombe. 26/5/1962-26/1/2016.

Later, a statement read: We’re deeply saddened to announce the death of Colin Vearncombe (aka Black) earlier today, Tuesday 26th January 2016. Colin never regained consciousness following a road traffic accident sixteen days ago. He died peacefully surrounded by his family who were singing him on his way.

“His wife Camilla and his three sons paid tribute to the staff at the Intensive Treatment Unit of Cork University Hospital saying: ‘Colin received the best possible care from the expert and highly professional staff there and we are deeply grateful for everything they did.’

“The funeral will be a private one, but we will be holding a memorial service for him in Liverpool in the near future as we know there are many, many people who will want to celebrate Colin’s life and work. The date and time will be announced in due course, along with details of a charity to which any donations in memory of Colin can be made.

“No need to laugh or cry.

“It’s a wonderful, wonderful life.”

The 53-year-old had been driving from his home in Schull to Cork Airport when the crash occurred on January 10th.

He incurred serious head injuries and was in an induced coma at Cork University Hospital.

Originally from Liverpool, Vearncombe – who sold more than two million albums worldwide under the name Black – had lived in Schull for many years and toured extensively.

He once said he had moved to Cork because: “I like my elbow room, and eccentricity is tolerated here.”

He lived with his ex-wife, four sons and a selection of foreign students who lodged with him.

In a recent update on his Facebook page his management said that after a scan last Friday it was “not looking good” for the singer as his condition had deteriorated.

The post also said: “Thank you everyone who has posted, messaged, emailed or texted. Please keep doing it as his family are deeply moved and helped by your support and love.”

Mr Vearncombe had a 35-year career in music, releasing his first single with Black, Human Features, in 1981. Black signed a major label deal with WEA in 1984, but was soon dropped.

In 1985, he wrote and released the single Wonderful Life as a comment on his situation, which became a worldwide hit after it was rereleased by A&M in 1987.

Though he never replicated that commercial success, he was able to continue working, releasing eight albums as Black and six under his own name, including last year’s Black album Blind Faith.

Mr Vearncombe attributed his commercial failure after the success of Wonderful Life to rows with his label, which caused him to stop writing songs – “his one regret”, he said in an interview in 2014.

He suggested to the interviewer that the piece should be headlined “Portrait of a modern has-been.”

Mr Vearncombe has also published poetry and staged exhibitions of his art in west Cork.

He was due to become a grandfather later this spring.