Formed in Liverpool, England in 1980, the pop group Black
was primarily a vehicle for singer/songwriter Colin Vearncombe
, who first emerged at the age of 16 in the punk unit the Epileptic Tits. The first incarnation of Black
, consisting of Vearncombe and a cast of anonymous session players, debuted with the single "Human Features" on the local Rox label. The record quickly sold out, and soon Vearncombe was approached by the Eternal label, operated by fellow Liverpudlians Pete Wylie
With the addition of ex-Last Chant keyboardist Dave Dickie and bassist Jimmy Sangster, Black
became a true band, and soon issued their sophomore effort "More Than the Sun."
The trio eventually came to the attention of WEA, which funded Black
's third single "Hey Presto." The record stiffed, however, and when an orchestral rendition of "More Than the Sun" met a similar fate, Black
were dropped from their contract. Although he continued on as producer, Dickie soon relinquished his performing duties, and the fate of the group looked grim. Some 18 months of writing and searching for a new record deal followed before Vearncombe was contacted by the tiny Ugly Man label, which issued the minor hit "Wonderful Life." Soon A&M came calling, and in 1987 Black
scored a U.K. Top Ten hit with "Sweetest Smile"; the follow-up, a reworked "Wonderful Life," was also successful. The group's debut LP, also titled Wonderful Life
, appeared in late 1987, and was well-received throughout Europe. Black
's sophomore effort, the Robin Millar
, followed in 1988, but failed to match the success of its predecessor; after a long hiatus and a number of lineup changes, the group finally resurfaced in 1991 with an eponymously titled LP featuring cameos from Robert Palmer
and Sam Brown
soon left A&M, and after teaming with producer Mike Hedges
, issued Are We Having Fun Yet?
on their own mail-order label, Nero Schwartz, in 1993.