Colonel Abrams, a R&B singer, songwriter and producer who became a star in the 1980s with a string of house-flavored hits, died Friday after battling various ailments, numerous news outlets reported. He was 67.
The musician — best known for his hits “Trapped” and “I’m Not Gonna Let You” — had reportedly fallen on hard times before his death. Late last year, a GoFundMe crowdsourcing page was started for the singer, noting that he was homeless and ill, and New York radio station WBLS held a fundraiser in January hosted by several club music peers from his ’80s heyday.
The Detroit-born, Manhattan-raised Abrams once sang in a band called 94 East, featuring Prince on guitar, in the ’70s and was a member of the groups Conservative Manor and Surprise Package before eventually becoming a fixture on the New York City club scene in the 1980s.
While a few of Abrams’ songs climbed the Billboard R&B and dance charts in the U.S., he found greater success in Europe, where his 1985 single “Trapped” reached No. 3 on the U.K. singles chart.
In a 1986 interview Abrams gave after finding success abroad, he expressed frustration about being pigeonholed in the U.S. on the dance and Black music charts. He said he was greeted by European audiences as a “major pop artist” and that his music was “influencing a lot of other types of music that are not so-called ‘dance music.’”