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Living Colour

During the 1980s, rock had become completely segregated and predictable, the opposite of the late '60s/early '70s, when such musically and ethnically varied artists as Jimi Hendrix, Sly & the Family Stone, and Santana ruled the Earth. But bands such as New York's Living Colour helped break down the doors by the end of the '80s, leading to a much more open-minded musical landscape that would eventually pave the way for future bands (Rage Against the Machine, Sevendust, etc.). The group (singer Corey Glover, guitarist Vernon Reid, bassist Muzz Skillings, and drummer Will Calhoun) first formed in the mid-'80s, with Reid being the only member with real prior band experience; he was a member of Ronald Shannon Jackson's experimental jazz outfit, and had recorded with Defunkt, Public Enemy, as well as issuing a solo album with Bill Frisell, 1984's Smash & Scatteration.

It took the fledgling band a few years for their sound to gel, as they honed their act at N.Y.C.'s famed CBGB's. But the group found an unlikely supporter in Mick Jagger, who took the band under his wing, produced a demo for the quartet, and helped them secure a record deal with Epic (just prior, Glover had to take a brief leave of absence from the band, as he landed a role in Oliver Stone's Vietnam War epic movie, Platoon). Living Colour's debut album, Vivid, was issued in the summer of 1988, yet it would take a few months for momentum to build. By the winter, the band's striking video for their anthem "Cult of Personality" was all over MTV, pushing Vivid to the upper reaches of the charts and to platinum certification. Living Colour also took home their first of several Grammy Awards, as "Cult" won Best Hard Rock Performance at the 1989 ceremony, and the band supported the release with a string of dates opening stadiums for the Rolling Stones' first U.S. tour in eight years that autumn.

Starting with Vivid and continuing on future albums, the band showed that rock could still convey a message (as evidenced by such tracks as "Open Letter to a Landlord," "Funny Vibe," among others). The quartet regrouped a year later for their sophomore effort, Time's Up, an album that performed respectably on the charts but failed to live up to the expectations of their smash debut. An appearance at the inaugural Lollapalooza tour in the summer of 1991 kept the group in the public's eye, as did an EP of outtakes, Biscuits. Skillings left the group shortly thereafter (replaced by studio vet Doug Wimbish), as their darkest and most challenging release yet, Stain, was issued in 1993. Although it failed to sell as well as its predecessors, it retained the band's large and dedicated following, as Living Colour appeared to be entering an interesting and groundbreaking new musical phase of their career. The band began writing the following year for what would be their fourth full-length, but an inability to settle on a single musical direction caused friction between the members, leading to Living Colour's demise in early 1995.

In the wake of Living Colour's split, all of its former members pursued other projects. Reid issued a solo album, 1996's Mistaken Identity (as well as guesting on other artists recordings), while Glover attempted to launch a career as a solo artist, issuing the overlooked Hymns in 1998 and finding time to appear as a VJ on VH1 and acting in the 1996 movie Loose Women. Calhoun and Wimbish remained together and launched a new outfit, the drum'n'bass-inspired Jungle Funk, who issued a self-titled debut release in 1997 (Wimbish also issued a solo album, Trippy Notes for Bass, in 1999). With Living Colour out of commission for several years by the early 21st century, Calhoun and Wimbish teamed up once more with Glover in a new outfit, Headfake, playing often in the New York City area. A few days before Christmas in 2000, Headfake played a show at CBGB's, and were joined on-stage by Reid, which led to rumors of an impending Living Colour reunion. The rumors proved to be true, as Living Colour launched their first tour together in six years during the summer of 2001. In 2003, Living Colour returned with a deal with Sanctuary and their most experimental release to date, Collideøscope. Two years later the rarities collection What's Your Favorite Color? was released, followed by Everything Is Possible: The Very Best of Living Colour in 2006 and the all new Chair in the Doorway in 2009. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Only you can set you free. Think of what it means.
mkeenan4561
Stain is real heavy, but my fav is Time's Up - the quintessenti a l Living Color record - heavy funky serious funny..
rmhbaron
One of the most influential, yet not given the respect they have earned. Cory has one of the most powerful voices in rock and has been a major influence to current great bands such as Sevendust. I'm really glad I just rediscovered them. It's been a while you guys, but I was there when they hit the scene back in the 80's and remember staring at MTV asking where these guys came from and thankful for bringing some vibe to 80's rock.
This is one of the most underrated groups around. Vernon Reid is one of most talented guitarist around....an d what more could I say about Cory's vocals. Unlike most 80s rock bands they're still around kicking a**. Living Colour forever.
Vernon Reid melts my brain every time.
I just added this because I just wanted to her cm punk theme song
anoakumame
CM PUNK...CM PUNK...CM PUNK!
Wow this goes waay back man!
Saw these guys in Oct 2103.....Pla y e d Vivid in it's entirety.... I ' v e seen a lot of shows in my lifetime..Th i s may have been top 3 ever!Definit e l y , best sounding...B r i n g earplugs!LOU D !
koops23
One of the all-time greats...
Great song from an awesome band!
great band.
Their rhythm section is amazing.
Funk-Metal! Yayeah!
I saw these guys on the Stain Tour and I was on the front row right in front of Vernon Reid! His guitar playing was so stupefying good it melted my ear drums but the whole band kicked azz!
Unquestionab l e most underated heavy Rock-an-Roll band of late '80's...poss i b l y ever. Songs not wishy washy, candy coated yet radio worthy. Each musician a master at craft...esp. V o x & G u i t a r . Just saw them LIVE April2013 @FILMORE S.F., played Album in entirety...p l u s e s some added spicey interludes in between. Frikin' sounded good as ever...(I imagine). The industry is popularity contest, & these guys didn't t KISS THE RIGHT ASSES, no other reason for their missing the mega-succuss - n - f a m e train.
These guys are BADASS .......there is no doubt about it !!!!
Does Vernon Reid play like he is a Jimi Hendrix worshipper.. . . h e is better rhan GOOD !!!
This group's so awsome..very underated!! I think they influence so many bands!!
scfan23
Corey Glover is not the son of Danny Glover. Corey is a reverend now...which I'm sure Danny would have plenty to say about were they related...
Corey Glovers father is Danny Glover of Lethal Weapon movies
I like the guitar solo on Cult of Personality. Decidedly crazy.
I think Living Colour should perform at WrestleMania next year when CM punk is introduced. It makes sense cause WM will be at met life stadium in New Jersey and there from NY.
Out Of Mind is a very good song.
wtf, cult of personality was all over radio and mtv in the late 80's.
f**k yea!!
First heard them on Grand Theft Auto San Andreas with one of my top overall rock songs Cult of Personality.
how come mtv & vh1 didn't expose this group better during the 90s? I'm just hearing this group because of WWE and CM Punk.
howlingmadco y o t e
Money Talks is probably the best B-side on Biscuits. It's got the socially conscious lyrics from Vivid and takes it to the dark place visited in most of the tracks in Vivid, Type, Leave It Alone, and even Behind the Sun.
kk352358
Back in the day, Open Letter to a Landlord was so accurately a portrayal of the housing situation in places like Harlem, Bed-Sty and the South Bronx to name a few of the bleak, mostly Black residents who were frequently rendered homeless by greedy landlords who paid arsonists to set fire to the apartment buildings in hopes of insurance payments; it was such a powerful song ...now you can burn a building down, but you can't erase a memory, these houses may look all worn down, but they have a valu
im the cult of personality
their song 'cult of personality' is CM PUNKS new theme song!
Chris, what they mean by the segregation of music is that white people had one type of rock, and black had another type, whereas the 60's and 70's, there was a melding of all of it. This band is what changed that, allowing people of all colours to enjoy a varied scope of musical styles.
LOve the band however Pandora speaks of the segregation in music in the 80's(unlike 60's & 70's) but this band was an ALL black band were they not segregated too????
66607340
the age of television created many cults of many personalitie s , the internet has only added to that..
this group was bad!!!!!!
hippl5
Why pandora gave me this crap, I'll never know.
Oh man, I listened to Stain all the time-- nearly wore out that red cassette. Would love to see it on here.
aaron_coutur e
Chair in the Doorway is a great album. Great Musicians! Check out Vernon Reid's solo work. It is truly awesome. One song? Please! These guys have songs for the most intense headbanger all the way to songs my mother loves to listen to while pruning the garden. Not many bands can pull that off and they do it with ease.
i love it.....its sooo fresh.i have a band and this sounds like a demo.it sounds exactly like you would play it without the records sound
THEY ROCK!!!!!!!! ! ! ! !
Get Stain! I don't care that the greatest hits has some of their songs, It's not the same!
mfrold
Yes. I would love to see songs of Stain, like Wall and Leave it Alone and Go Away, on Pandora.
Hi fellow Living Colour fans, note that big chunks of "Time's Up" and "Stain" appear on the greatest-hit s comp "Pride," which we do have.

That said, are there specific songs missing from "Pride" you're really jonesing for?

Best,
-Ian E
Pandora Listener Support
Vernon Reid is a wicked guitarist.
good band, good riffs, make you wanna move
Good to see these guys back together and putting out a new cd.
So Time's up failed to live up to the expectations of Vivid, right? Well, you forgot to mention that this "failure" also won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock album...whoe v e r wrote this biography was definitely biased.
agamman
One of my prime frustrations with Pandora is their inconsistent coverage of a band's albums. I don't know if there is a problem with their record companies or what, but they're missing two great albums, Time's Up and Stained were both great! Time's up is my album favorite.
right the f**k on, udo! reid murders the guitar.....s o r r y your experience was tainted by a taint
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