Colin Vearncombe aka Black

Hello again, and welcome to another edition of 羽曳野古市英会話の英国音楽!

Not many, alas, will remember the wonderful Colin Vearncombe who went by the stage name of Black.

Colin Vearncombe aka Black had hit the big time in the 1980sーmost notably with the song we have shared hereーbut by the end of the decade, disillusioned with the way big record companies operated, he went underground, so to speak, and set up his own label aptly called Nero Schwarz.

It’s a mortal life…

Let me tell you a sad little story. (Well, you must be used to it by now: 2016 has been a rather sad year, and I have shared many tragic stories with you here. I promise to try and be more cheerful next year.)

The weekend preceding 26th January, 2016, I was telling my partner about this wonderful 80s voice called Black. I played “Wonderful Life” and once more marvelled at the timeless quality of the song and the voice. Wondering where Black had gone and what he was up to, I found the album Blind Faith on YouTube and was utterly and instantly mesmerised. It is a work of sumptuous beauty. On 26th January, I purchased it on iTunes and listened to it in a loop. Three weeks later, I stumbled on the news… He had died on 26th January as a result of a car crash. He had reentered my world on the day of his death… The sadness I felt is difficult to explain. I hope he knew that he was loved by many and as far as Japan.

Let’s raise our glasses then to all our absent friends and family members and all that disappeared in 2016.

It’s a wonderful life…

If you thought that I was trying to lift the mood by sharing a joyful song, think again. The song is not about how wonderful life is. About his composition, Vearncombe said:

“By the end of 1985 I had been in a couple of car crashes, my mother had a serious illness, I had been dropped by a record company, my first marriage went belly-up and I was homeless. Then I sat down and wrote this song called ‘Wonderful Life’. I was being sarcastic.” The Daily Telegraph, [paper only] (28 Jan 2016), p.27

“Wonderful Life” from Black’s 1986 album of the same name.

Lyrics

Listen and fill in the gaps:

“Here I go out to sea again
The ________ fills my hair
And dreams hang in the ___
Gulls in the sky and in my blue eye
You know it feels unfair
There’s magic everywhere
Look at me standing
Here on my own again
Up straight in the sunshine

No need to run and hide
It’s a wonderful, wonderful life
No need to laugh and cry
It’s a wonderful, wonderful life

The sun’s in your eyes
the heat is in your hair
They seem to hate you
because you’re there
And I need a ______
oh I need a ______
to make me happy
Not stand here on my own
Look at me standing
Here on my own again
Up straight in the sunshine

No need to run and hide
It’s a wonderful, wonderful life
No need to laugh and cry
It’s a wonderful, wonderful life

I need a friend, oh I need a friend
To make me happy, not so alone
Look at me here
Here on my own again
Up straight in the sunshine

No need to run and hide
It’s a wonderful, wonderful life
No need to laugh and cry
It’s a wonderful, wonderful life

No need to run and hide
It’s a wonderful, wonderful life
No need to laugh and cry
It’s a wonderful, wonderful life”

Wonderful life (x2)


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