Death has claimed the life of another celebrity this weekend. 80’s hitmaker Colonel Abrams is no longer with us. According to reports, he died on November 25 at the age 67.
SoulTracks.com says that it was nearly a year ago that they reported that Abrams was suffering badly from diabetes and was financially strapped by the illness.
The Detroit-born, Manhattan raised singer began playing both piano and guitar while still quite young. By the mid 1970s, he had become part of the band Heavy Impact.
But it was nearly a decade later that Abrams really made a name for himself with the big hit “Music Is the Answer.” It began a string of dance hits that capitalized on the electronic sounds that were popular in the mid 80s, and included “The Truth,” “Over and Over,” “I’m Not Gonna Let You,” and his biggest song, the dancelicious international hit, “Trapped.”
Here’s what Wikipedia says about Abrams:
From an early age, he began playing the guitar and piano. He was in several early bands. Among them was Heavy Impact in which he played both guitar and keyboards alongside Joe Webb (guitar), Lemar Washington (guitar), Marston “Buffy” Freeman (bass guitar), Ronald Simmons (drums), Harry Jones (trumpet) and Barbara Mills (saxophone). In 1976, he formed Conservative Manor and once sang lead vocals for 94 East (the band featuring Prince on lead guitar).
He became popular on the New York underground scene via radio and club play, and had his first major hit in 1984 with “Music Is the Answer” on the independent label Streetwise. Other hits in the mid 1980s included “Leave the Message Behind the Door,” “Trapped” (a top ten hit in the UK, Ireland, Germany, and the Netherlands),“The Truth,” “Speculation,” “I’m Not Gonna Let You” and “Over and Over,” establishing Abrams as a solo artist, initially in Europe and later in the US.
His biggest hit, “Trapped” reached the top five in the UK Singles Chart and topped the US Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in 1985, followed by his self-titled album, which spent two weeks at number one the following year. It was estimated by the Phonographic Association that “Trapped” sold over five million copies worldwide by spring 1987. An electronic remix of “Trapped” was later released in 1995 by Boards of Canada, under the pseudonym Hell Interface. A new version of “Trapped” (“Trapped 2006”) was released in the UK.
“I’m Not Gonna Let You” also spent a week at number one in the dance chart in 1986. The album peaked at number 75 on the US Billboard Top 200 and Number 13 on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Although Abrams had no American pop hits through his career, he had a number of entries on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart in the 1980s and 1990s, including four entries that hit number one. In 1987, he had his fourth number-one US dance hit with “How Soon We Forget”, the same year that he released his second album, You and Me Equals Us.
Soul Tracks also writes that Abrams continued to chart on the Dance and R&B charts into the mid-90s, and performed around the world into the new century. He also formed his own Colonel Records and released music sporadically through the early part of this decade.
Unfortunately and tragically, by December of 2015, Abrams was quite ill and homeless, and his friends began a crowdfunding campaign to help him pay for his medical treatments.
PHOTO: Soul Train screenshot