Colonel Abrams, Legendary ‘80s R&B and House Singer, Dies at 67
The R&B and House music community has lost another pioneer over the holidays. Legendary ‘80s singer Colonel Abrams, best known for his club hits “Trapped” and “I’m Not Gonna Let,” passed away on Thanksgiving night (Nov. 24), from complications of various ailments. He was 67.
According to SoulTracks.com, Abrams was suffering from diabetes and was homeless due to his debilitating illness. In January, New York radio station WBLS held a fundraiser in his name to help him pay his mounting medical bills. Funeral arrangements are still pending.
Abrams was born in Detroit but was primarily raised in New York. At a young age, he was a competent musician with the ability to play piano and guitar. He started his music career by performing in several local bands, including Heavy Impact, where he played guitar and keyboards. He soon made a name for himself in the local New York underground scene and garnered his first big hit in 1984 with “Music Is the Answer” on the independent label Streetwise.
In 1985, Abrams released his self-titled debut album and garnered his first major chart-topping dance hit with “Trapped.” His commanding, baritone vocals made the song an unbridled love anthem that resonated with his fans. According to reports, Abrams sold an estimated 7 million copies of “Trapped” worldwide by 1987.
Abrams’ string of hits continued with “I'm Not Gonna Let (You)," “Speculation” and "Over and Over", establishing Abrams as the king of the dance floor from the U.S. to Europe. In 1987, Abrams notched his fourth No. 1 hit on the Billboard Dance chart with "How Soon We Forget," from his second album, You and Me Equals Us.
Abrams continued to perform through the mid-90s, but could never match the success he had in the '80s. He was able to formed his own indie label Colonel Records and released music through it.
Unfortunately, by 2015, Abrams became ill and was suffering with diabetes. He became homeless after being unable to pay his medical bills. Subsequently, he would succumb to his illnesses on Thanksgiving night.
Upon hearing the tragic news of Abrams' death, artists and producers went on social media to express their condolences to the late singer's family.
Rapper Big Daddy Kane wrote on his Instagram page, "2016 is a year of back-to-back sadness. RIP Colonel Abrams. Smh."
Legendary producer Jellybean Benitez typed a heartwarming tribute to Abrams on his Facebook page. "Thank you for all your contributions and songs that rocked dance floors worldwide," he wrote. "You knew the dance floor was about to erupt when one of your songs came on. I am happy that we had a chance to share some laughs together and blessed to have known you."
Colonel Abrams will be sorely missed. Music is indeed the answer. May he rest eternally in peace.