Colonel Abrams as one of dance music’s most influential pioneers. House and dance music fans from around the globe joined in mourning one of its most notable legends who died last week.
Abrams was born in 1949 in Detroit, Mich., relocating to Manhattan at a young age with his family. Influenced by the Motown soul of his city of birth and the hard street rhythms and grit of New York, Abrams found a way to combine the two for his signature sound.
Alongside his brother Morris, Abrams formed the band Conservative Manor. He then fronted the 94 East band as its leader singer, which featured a young Prince on guitar ahead of his solo career fame. After 94 East dissolved, Abrams found footing as a club music staple in the ’80’s across New York and the United Kingdom. His first hit, “Music Is The Answer,” was released independently and helped Abrams get a deal with MCA.
Abrams’ self-titled major label debut featured his biggest hit, “Trapped,” which went on to hit big across Europe and is still considered a dance music’s classic. Abrams continued a streak of mild but charting hits well into the late ’80’s and early ’90’s, and maintained a busy tour schedule.
The turn of the century wasn’t as kind to Abrams. It was revealed last year that Abrams was suffering from diabetes and living on the streets. Efforts were made to rally around the singer but Abrams died at the age of 67 on Nov. 24.
A woman who says she is Abrams’ daughter-in-law has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help support his funeral costs.