Colonel Abrams

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Colonel Abrams
Born (1949-05-25) May 25, 1949 (age 67)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Origin New York, United States
Genres R&B, soul, house, electronic, dance, urban contemporary
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1976–present
Labels MCA
Scotti Bros.
Acid Jazz
Strictly Rhythm

Colonel Abrams (born May 25, 1949) is an American singer, urban contemporary musician, songwriter, dancer, and actor.


Abrams' family moved to the East Village, Manhattan on East 13 Street. 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, 94 East (the band featuring Prince on lead guitar).[1]

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.[2] 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),[2] "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.[3]

In 1985, he signed to Steven Machat's label and production company, AMI. Machat, who was in collaboration and working with a British producer, Richard James Burgess, hired him to produce Abrams's self-titled debut album. Machat then arranged for MCA Records to sign Abrams for worldwide releases. Richard James Burgess produced the songs, "Trapped", "I'm Not Gonna Let You", and "Table for Two".

"Trapped" reached the top five in the UK Singles Chart and topped the US Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in 1985,[4] 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.[citation needed] 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.

On January 9, 2007, Abrams released the single "Just When You Thought", the third single on his own record label, Colonel Records, after "Heartbreaker" and "Let Us All Be Friends". In 2007, Abrams released "Never Be", "Just Like Mathematics", and "True Stories". In June 2008 his single, "Only a Few", was issued. He performed at the '80s Reunion' in August 2011.

On the October 9, 2014 episode of BBC television program Mock the Week, Abrams track "Trapped" featured as a large constituent of a section concerning the use of Private Browsing, in which comedians Dara Ó Briain (hosting), and Ed Byrne (panelist) could not stop laughing during its recording.[5]

In 2014 a sample of Colonel Abrams original signature track "Trapped" was used by Belgian band The Subs on a cover of the track, featuring on their album Hologram.

A crowdfunding campaign was launched in 2015 to home Abrams, as he was homeless and needed to raise funds in order to access vital medical treatment.[6]



  • Colonel Abrams (MCA, 1985)
  • You and Me Equals Us (MCA, 1987)
  • About Romance (Scotti Bros./Acid Jazz, 1992)
  • Make a Difference (Music USA, 1996)
  • Best of Colonel Abrams (Universal Special Products, 1999)
  • Strapped: The Very Best of the Remixes (Famous, 2010)


  • 1984: "Music Is The Answer"/"Leave the Message Behind the Door"
  • 1985: "Trapped"/"The Truth"
  • 1986: "Speculation, I'm Not Gonna Let You and Over and Over"
  • 1987: "How Soon We Forget, Nameless, Soon You'll Be Gone"
  • 1990: "Bad Timing"
  • 1991: "You Don't Know (Somebody Tell Me)" (#58 US R&B)
  • 1992: "When Somebody Loves Somebody" (#70 US R&B)
  • 1992: "Never Be Another One" (#22 US Dance)
  • 1993: "I'm Caught Up"
  • 1993: "As Quiet as It's Kept"
  • 1994: "So Confused" (#15 US Dance)
  • 1994: "So Proud"
  • 1995: "Victim of Loving You"
  • 1996: "Heartbreaker"
  • 1996: "99½"
  • 1996: "As I Take You Back"
  • 1996/7: "Get With You"
  • 1997: "Make a Difference"
  • 1997: "Trapped '97"
  • 2000: "Music Is My Life"
  • 2001: "Don't Give Me a Love That I Can't Use"
  • 2002: "Hurt My Feelings"
  • 2002: "Could It Be"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wynn, Ron "Colonel Abrams Biography", Allmusic. Retrieved April 16, 2016
  2. ^ a b Chin, Brian (1986) "Colonel Abrams Enjoys Overseas Success", Billboard, April 19, 1986, p. 27. Retrieved April 16, 2016
  3. ^ McShane, Larry (1986) "Colonel Abrams Finds Acceptance", Kentucky New Era, August 15, 1986, p. 7B, retrieved 2011-06-10
  4. ^ "Tipoff", Wilmington Morning Star, June 16, 1986, p. 2D, retrieved 2011-06-10
  5. ^ "Dara O'Briain tries to explain Private Browsing but can't stop laughing". Mock the Week. BBC. October 9, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2016. 
  6. ^ Bennison, Aidan (2015) "Crowdfunding campaign launched for Colonel Abrams", FACT, December 8, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2016

External links[edit]