News May 12, 2019

New Zealand biz farewells Malcolm Black: “A massive loss to the music community”

New Zealand biz farewells Malcolm Black: “A massive loss to the music community”

Artists Neil Finn and Bic Runga and associations and Recorded Music NZ have paid tribute to the achievements of Malcolm Black ONZM.

Black passed Friday May 10 after a two year battle with bowel cancer. He was 58.

He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2018 New Year Honours for services to music.

The one time singer with 1980s Dunedin band Netherworld Dancing Toys became NZ’s first specialist music lawyer and was a key advisor on the setting up of New Zealand on Air funding scheme.

Black co-managed Neil Finn and Crowded House for a time, was A&R executive at Sony (signing Stellar*, Che Fu, Brooke Fraser and Dimmer), and in 2016 became the NZ writer-director on the APRA AMCOS board.

Black was best known for the NZ classic ‘For Today (I Remember Your Smile)’, which won him and co-writer Nick Sampson the APRA Silver Scroll in 1985.

The band reformed last October for a performance of the song at the Silver Scrolls.

During the 2017 Silver Scrolls, he was rushed to hospital suffering severe stomach pains.

The cancer was discovered, he had most of his bowel removed, and told he had nine months to live.

APRA AMCOS called his passing “a massive loss for the music community,” adding “We will miss his wisdom, thoughtfulness, guidance and humility. His contribution to music in New Zealand is like none other.”

Recorded Music NZ noted his many roles in the industry –
“a manager, a mentor, an advocate, a champion and, in an often cut-throat business, a lovely gentle-natured bloke who made you listen through the wisdom of his words rather than the volume of it.”

Neil Finn echoed the sentiments, telling the Stuff website, “He has played such a giant role in New Zealand music’s evolution” and summed up, his “wry smile and generous spirit” will live on in his memory.

In early 2019, Black returned to his Dunedin roots and recorded a farewell album with local musicians Songs For My Family.

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