After splitting with Dix, 1985 was a gloomy year for Vearncombe, causing him to write the ironically entitled minor key song "Wonderful Life". At first released independently through Ugly Man Records, the 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.
On 12 January 2016, he was involved in a serious car accident in Ireland and placed in a medically-induced coma after sustaining serious head injuries. Vearncombe died from his injuries at the intensive care unit of Cork University Hospital on 26 January 2016 at the age of 53.
Links to Peel
Black's debut release was Human Features on Vox in 1981: on playing it, Peel commented, "They used to be called something else, actually, and I was reading in Mersey Sound that they were called something else, and I've been feverishly trying to find what it was that they were called."   Black recorded two sessions for Kat's Karavan: they reveal a little of the worldweary side of Vearncombe that he would later mine to such success, but also an undercurrent of quirky humour. It may have been the broadcasts of these that brought him to the notice of WEA who signed (and dropped) him in the following year.
Festive Fifty Entries
- Two sessions (the 2nd produced by Dale Griffin), neither commercially available.
- Under Wraps / As Long As It Takes / Blue / Stephen For The Moment
- It's Easy / Fast Car Soundtrack / Widemouth Frog / Why Do I Do The Things I Do When They Only Get Me Done?
Other Shows Played
- 21 July 1981: Human Features (7") Rox ROX 17
- 02 August 1981 (BFBS): Human Features (7") Rox ROX 17
- 03 August 1981: Human Features (7") Rox ROX 17
- 23 August 1981 (BFBS): Human Features (7") Rox ROX 17
- 18 February 1982: Human Features (7") Rox ROX 17
- 17 November 1982: Jump (b/w 'More Than The Sun' 7") The Wonderful World Of... WW3
- 29 November 1982: More Than The Sun (7") The Wonderful World Of... WW3
- 21 May 1984: Hey Presto (7") Eternal
- ↑ It appears Peel never did find out: it is possible that he was referring to David Dix's first band, The Last Chant.