Vince Charles was part of Neil Diamond’s band for over 25 years, where he performed as percussionist and steel drum player. He first worked with Diamond in 1973 on 'Reggae Strut' for the acclaimed 'Serenade' album, before joining the band permanently in 1977. Prior to working with Neil Diamond he worked with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.
Born in St Kitts, and raised in the Virgin Islands, Charles performed in the Caribbean Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair in 1964-65, then after playing at Canada’s Montreal Expo '67, he moved to Los Angeles, where he became a studio musician and worked with Herb Alpert (Tijuana Brass).
Vince had an impressive movie music CV, where his work can be heard on soundtracks such as 'Cocktail', 'The Little Mermaid' and 'Trading Places', and also sequels to 'Ghostbusters' and 'Police Academy'.
Having joined the Neil Diamond band permanently in 1977 he was a constant on tours and albums, and a popular band member amongst fans, often working alongside fellow percussionist King Errisson. Their laid back, “sunshine personalities” complemented each other beautifully, bringing the warm sounds of their homelands to many of Neil’s shows, Charles also played Los Angeles clubs with his own group, originally titled, Vince Charles and Friends, the group recorded three albums, 'Mixture 44', 'Soliloquy' and 'Caribbean Christmas'.
Vince Charles sadly passed away June 3rd 2001, aged 55, during his concert tour of that year, Neil Diamond offered a eulogy to Vince during a show in Las Vegas, and dedicated the song 'Captain Sunshine' to his memory, a fitting song to a man who had dedicated himself to his craft.
I have just read Rachel's story, the only word I can use is "Beautiful", I was moved by her warmth and love for Vince, and how the simplest things in life made their union so special. The sense of loss she feels is tangible, and one can only feel regret for her loss, even after so many years have passed, her sincerity shines through her words, and I hope she now looks back on her life with Vince with great fondness, to have shared in such a love is a rare thing indeed, very few find it.
I sincerely wish her much joy this New Year, and hope Vince's legacy offers the strength and comfort we all need when we lose someone so dear.
I echo my earlier hope, in that she likes the piece I have compiled on Vince. - Dave Radstock