Dark past of late Black Lace star Colin Gibb – from bankruptcy to child sex conviction & recording ‘worst pop song ever’

HE will be fondly remembered by many as the man who recorded The Worst Pop Song of All Time.

Yet Black Lace star Colin Gibb — who has died “unexpectedly” aged 70 — would much rather have been a serious rock star than release the 1984 novelty hit Agadoo.

Black Lace star Colin Gibb has died at 70, above with his trademark feather cut in band’s heyday

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Black Lace star Colin Gibb has died at 70, above with his trademark feather cut in band’s heydayCredit: Facebook
Gibb is most known for Black Lace's 1984 novelty hit Agadoo, Colin in Black Lace on Top Of The Pops in 1984

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Gibb is most known for Black Lace’s 1984 novelty hit Agadoo, Colin in Black Lace on Top Of The Pops in 1984Credit: BBC

But with his trademark bleached feather-cut hair and Hawaiian shirts — known as “wally wear” — he eventually embraced the wacky image to go with the infuriatingly catchy tune.

Instantly recognisable, he would be serenaded with Agadoo’s bizarre lyrics wherever he went.

Those lines, while hardly Shakespearian, have been belted out across dancefloors on the Costas for generations: “Agadoo, doo, doo/Push pineapple, shake a tree

“Agadoo, doo, doo/Push pineapple, grind coffee/To the left, to the right/Jump up and down and to the knees/Come and dance every night/Sing with hula melodies.”

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It may be nonsense, but the song has sold more than a million copies and was only kept off the No1 spot by George Michael’s debut solo hit Careless Whisper.

However, in 2003 a panel of music experts in Q magazine named it The Worst Song of All Time, labelling it “magnificently dreadful”.

Lift engineer

The panel added: “It sounded like the school disco you were forced to attend, your middle-aged relatives forming a conga at a wedding party, a travelling DJ act based in Wolverhampton.”

At the time Colin said Black Lace had played the song live so many times “you go numb”, adding: “But at least we get paid for it.”

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The Leeds-born guitarist died suddenly on Sunday, just days after announcing his retirement.

On May 13, he had posted on Facebook: “Well, all good things must come to an end.”

What happened to Dream?

He played a final show at Hotel Villa de Adeje Beach in Tenerife shortly afterwards.

His wife Sue posted: “I love you Colin, spent 22 years living your Agadoo dream, we were due to retire to Spain on Thursday. You were so happy, so looking forward to our new life, now you’re gone.”

Real name Colin Routh, he joined the four-piece Black Lace while working as a lift engineer in 1976.

The band toured the UK, playing the summer season at Butlins holiday camps in Skegness and Filey.

In 1979 they were chosen to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest with their song Mary Ann.

They finished seventh, the single peaking at No42.

With the band’s fortunes not improving, two members quit, leaving just Colin and fellow guitarist Alan Barton.

Widow Sue says Colin had spoken of wanting mourners at his funeral to wear Agadoo-style 's**t shirts'

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Widow Sue says Colin had spoken of wanting mourners at his funeral to wear Agadoo-style ‘s**t shirts’Credit: Facebook

Then in 1983 their record label suggested they record a novelty song called Superman.

Colin recalled: “I said ‘No’, but they insisted. We just did it and handed over the recording.

“It wasn’t something we wanted to do but then we saw what Superman was doing — filling the space on dance floors.”

It was a hit, reaching No9.

Rock music is what I love

Colin

Then the following year the label came up with an even cheesier song — Agadoo.

It was hardly Colin’s idea of a banging hit.

Years later he said: “Rock music is what I love. At one point I used to be in an Eagles tribute band.”

But Agadoo became a worldwide sensation, with Black Lace making ten Top Of The Pops appearances.

More novelty hits followed and success brought Colin a fleet of cars including a Porsche and a Jaguar.

‘S**t shirts’

Then his showbiz world came crashing down, first when the record label’s distribution company went bust, taking some £70,000 worth of royalties from Agadoo.

A hefty tax bill was followed a decade later by bankruptcy, and his relationship with Alan Barton had also become seriously strained.

Colin left the band after being convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old fan.

But when Alan also quit Black Lace in 1987, Colin rejoined the live band, who were still a draw for Costa holidaymakers until the final show last month.

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Widow Sue says Colin had spoken of wanting mourners at his funeral to wear Agadoo-style “s**t shirts”.

A fitting send-off for a man who made a career from cheesiness.

Despite being synonymous with a novelty record, Colin always wanted to be a serious musician

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Despite being synonymous with a novelty record, Colin always wanted to be a serious musicianCredit: Facebook
Colin on Top of the Pops with Alan Barton

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Colin on Top of the Pops with Alan BartonCredit: BBC

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