Colonel Abrams, a singer who was one of the house and dance music pioneers of the 1980s, died Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, according to multiple news sources. He was 67.
Abrams – Colonel was his real name – was born May 25, 1949, in Detroit, Michigan. His family moved to Manhattan, New York, when he was a youngster, and he took up the guitar and piano. By 1976, he was singing lead vocals in a band that featured Prince
briefly on guitar.
Abrams hit his stride in the 1980s in New York City clubs, releasing his first big hit, "Music Is the Answer" in 1984. His other 1980s hits included "Leave the Message Behind the Door," "Trapped," and "I'm Not Gonna Let." "Trapped" and "I'm Not Gonna Let" became major hits in Europe. "Trapped" was a top-10 pop hit in Britain, German, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
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He considered "Trapped" the song that established his sound.
"The producer can't give you the sound," Abrams told Billboard magazine in 1986. "You, the artist, have to know what sound you want; only then does your individuality come out."
The artist had fallen on hard times in recent years. He had diabetes and was homeless.
A relative has set up a GoFundMe page to help defray funeral expenses incurred by the Abrams family.
Kerri "Kaos" Chandler, a music producer, recalled Abrams in a Facebook post.
"Hello Everyone, We have lost another friend this week, I am very sad to say Colonel Abrams has passed away. Thank you Tony "Tune", Barbara Tucker, Marshall Jefferson and so many that helped as much as they could on the gofundme page. Rest in peace my friend, With Love, Respect and Admiration. Kerri"
- Kerri Chandler, Nov. 27, 2016