China Black is the collective title given to Simon Fung (b. Hong Kong, China) and Errol Reid (b. Montego Bay, Jamaica, West Indies). Reid emigrated to the UK with his parents, settling in Birmingham. He began singing at an early age being influenced by soul artists including Luther Vandross, Freddie Jackson and Teddy Pendergrass. He entered and won numerous talent competitions, which led to him serving his musical apprenticeship on the sound system circuit. Reid recorded a number of solo outings that, having garnered airplay on local radio stations, led to him re-establishing his career in London. Fung was also living in London at the time and had graduated into production work, working with the Fredericks, Cornell McKoy and jazz guitarist Ronny Jordan. It was Jordan who introduced Fung and Reid in 1990, a meeting that led to the formation of China Black. The duo first recorded in the soul style, including their celebrated opus ‘Searching’. In 1992, the song was released as a lovers rock tune, which signalled the return of the Big One label to the reggae charts after an eight-year absence, with Longsy D co-producing. ‘Searching’ topped the reggae chart, maintaining a high profile for three months. In 1994, the ballad was licensed to Wildcard, which led to a crossover hit in the UK Top 10 when remixed by ex-Steel Pulse, Headline and Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra performer Mykaell S. Riley. The duo followed the hit with ‘Stars’ and, in 1995, ‘Almost See You (Somewhere)’, neither of which was able to repeat the success of their debut in spite of the latter’s Steely And Clevie remix. Their fourth release, ‘Don’t Throw It All Away’, proved a club anthem with remixes by Rokstone and the Beatmasters. The duo maintained a high profile on the performance circuit, including an appearance at the Anti Racist Alliance Festival playing to an audience in excess of 50, 000. In 1997, the duo recorded a version of the spiritual ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’, to promote the Five Nations rugby tournament, accompanied by the England rugby squad.
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