Living Color

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Living Color
Living Color live in Graz 2010
Living Color live in Graz 2010
General information
origin New York City, United StatesUnited StatesUnited States 
Genre (s) Alternative metal , funk metal
founding 1984, 2002
resolution 1994
Current occupation
Corey Glover
Doug Wimbish (since 1992)
Vernon Reid
Drums ,
Will Calhoun
former members
Muzz Skillings (until 1992)

Living Color (partly also in the cover artwork Living Coloür written) is an alternative metal - band , the 1984 New York was founded. She had her career peak in the late 1980s / early 1990s and is considered one of the pioneers of crossover and funk metal . After a break from 1995 to 2002, the band is still active today.

Band history


Living Color was founded in 1985 by Vernon Reid , who had already made a name for himself in the progressive jazz and postpunk scene of New York with Decoding Society . As early as 1983 he had founded a project with Greg Carter and bassist Alex Mosel, which remained nameless and whose line-up changed frequently. With Muzz Skillings (bass), Corey Glover (vocals) and Will Calhoun (drums) he finally found a stable line-up and gave the band the name Living Color. The band name refers to a saying before broadcasts on the NBC channel : "The following program is brought to you in living color" (Eng. "The program is presented to you in living colors"). The formation celebrated its first successes in the opening act of the Rolling Stones , whose singer Mick Jagger often supported them. He also produced the demo recordings for Glamor Boys and Which Way to America? , due to which the band was signed by Epic Records . He also occasionally took over backing vocals and harmonica .

1988–1995: The successful years

In 1988 they released the debut album Vivid , from which the song Cult of Personality was released as a single and for which the band received the 1990 Grammy Award in the category of best hard rock performance of the year . The song became a hit in the United States, not least because the accompanying video was played very frequently on MTV , and is still received today. So it appeared in the computer games Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock . The song Funny Vibe , which was also released as a single, featured Flavor Flav and Chuck D from Public Enemy and is considered an early harbinger of the crossover trend of the 1990s, as different styles such as hip-hop , hard rock and Funk are merged. The album was also a huge hit, selling over two million copies worldwide. For this it was awarded a platinum record in the United States and Canada . The band also won awards for Best Group Video , Best New Artist in a Video, and Best Stage Performance in a Video at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards .

In 1989 there were some problems with Guns n 'Roses , as Living Color criticized the use of the words " niggers ", "fagots" and "immigrants" in the song One in a Million . During a joint tour, the two bands fought arguments in which they involved the audience. The disputes could not be resolved. The follow-up album Time's Up was released in 1990 and was also a great success. The band managed to be internationally successful for the first time and Living Color reached the top 100 in the German, Swiss and British charts, while it reached number 13 in the United States. The theme song won a 1991 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance of the Year . Rap legend Queen Latifah can be heard on the track Under Cover of Darkness . On the track Elvis Is Dead took Little Richard guest vocals. In 1991 the rarity album Biscuits was released in the form of an extended play . This included cover versions by James Brown , Jimi Hendrix , Talking Heads and Al Green . In the same year the band played at the alternative festival Lollapalooza , which was initiated by Perry Farrell .

Shortly thereafter, Muzz Skillings dropped out and was replaced by Doug Wimbish, who had previously worked as a session musician with Jeff Beck , Madonna and Mick Jagger. In 1993 the album Stain was released , which had a song with a German title on the album, the track Ausländer , which dealt with everyday racism. The title was coined by the riots in Rostock-Lichtenhagen in 1992. It was not quite as successful as its predecessor. While working on a successor, the band got stuck musically and couldn't find a common line. As a consequence, Living Color dissolved in 1995. The end marks the best-of album Pride.

1995–2001: Between the years

While the band was broken up, the musicians went on various projects. Vernon Reid released the solo album Mistaken Identity in 1996 . Corey Glover also tried a solo career and published Hymns in 1998 , which, however, went largely unnoticed. He also tried his hand at acting , as he did in Platoon in 1986 . He was also active as a VJ on VH1 . Will Calhoun and Doug Wimbish formed the band Jungle Funk . Together with Glover, they also played together as a headfake .

Since 2001: Reunion

In 2000, Reid also appeared at a performance by Headfake in the CBGB , so that all members of Living Color were on stage. As expected, rumors of a reunion were circulating and in fact Living Color returned in 2001 to play a tour together. In 2003 the band signed a recording deal with Sanctuary and released the album Collideøscope , which was unsuccessful. After several compilations , the work Chair in the Doorway followed in 2009 , which reached number 161 on the Billboard 200 .

Her song Cult of Personality reached new fame on July 25, 2011 as the debut song of the American wrestler CM Punk , who had previously used this song on Ring of Honor . The band played this song live on April 7, 2013 on WrestleMania XXIX. In the course of this, Living Color reached number 75 on the British charts and placed in the iTunes charts . CM Punk used the song after his wrestling career in the MMA league Ultimate Fighting Championship . In 2016, the mixtape Who Shot Ya was released , a homage to the murdered rapper Notorious BIG. In 2017, a new album called Shade will also be released.

Music genre

Living Color can be assigned to alternative metal , funk metal and crossover . Your music is difficult to classify and consists of various elements. The focus is on hard rock , but elements from jazz , funk , hip-hop and pop can also be found. They collaborated with musicians from the hip-hop area, including Public Enemy and Run DMC . At the beginning, the Bad Brains, also from New York, were a big influence. In terms of lyrics, the band mainly deals with political issues. In particular, their lyrics are shaped by the everyday racism that the band members had to experience as black people. In doing so, they break with clichés and maintain an ironic point of view. Her first debut single Cult of Personality contained quotes and samples from John F. Kennedy , Mahatma Gandhi , Josef Stalin and Benito Mussolini, among others . Living Color were co-founders of the Black Rock Coalition , an association of black musicians from the field of rock music, and made political statements on their records also with regard to the status of blacks in the history of rock music. B. the accusation of the instrumentalization of black culture by whites in the title Elvis Is Dead .



year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1988 Vivid - - - - US6th

(76 weeks)US
First published: May 3rd, 1988
1990 Time's up DE56 (8 weeks)
- CH4 (23 weeks)
UK20 (19 weeks)

(35 weeks)US
First published: August 20, 1990
CA:goldgold, AU: goldgold
1993 Stain DE29 (9 weeks)
AT25 (8 weeks)
CH39 (4 weeks)
UK19 (3 weeks)
US26 (12 weeks)
First published: March 2, 1993
2003 Collideøscope - - - - -
First published: October 7, 2003
2009 The chair in the doorway - - - - US161 (1 week)
First published: September 15, 2009
2017 Shade - - CH25 (1 week)
- -
First published: September 9, 2017


year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1991 Biscuits - - CH32 (5 weeks)
UK18 (20 weeks)
US26 (12 weeks)
First published: July 16, 1991
  • 2016: Who Shot Ya (LC Productions)

Live albums

  • 1994: Dread (Import Japan)
  • 2005: Live from CBGB’s (Legacy Recordings)
  • 2005: Instant Live (Instant Live)
  • 2008: CBGB OMFUG Masters: August 19, 2005 The Bowery Collection (Celluloid Records)
  • 2009: The Paris Concert (In-Akustik)


  • 1995: Pride ( Epic Records )
  • 1998: Super Hits (Epic / Legacy Recordings)
  • 1998: Play It Loud (Sony Music Distribution)
  • 2005: What's Your Favorite Color ?: Remixes, B-Sides and Rarities (Sony Music Distribution)
  • 2006: Everything Is Possible: The Very Best of Living Color (Epic / Legacy Recordings)


year Title
Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, album , rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1989 Cult of Personality
- - - UK89 (4 weeks)
US13 (15 weeks)
Open Letter (To a Landlord)
- - - - US82 (5 weeks)
Glamor Boys
- - - UK83 (5 weeks)
US31 (13 weeks)
1990 Type
Time’s Up
- - - UK75 (6 weeks)
1991 Love Rears Its Ugly Head
Time’s Up
- - - UK12 (11 weeks)
Solace of You
Time’s Up
- - - UK33 (5 weeks)
Cult of Personality (1991)
- - - UK67 (2 weeks)
1993 Leave It Alone
- - - UK34 (2 weeks)
- - - UK53 (1 week)
2011 Cult of Personality
- - - UK75 (2 weeks)

More singles

  • 1989: Memories Can't Wait
  • 1989: Funny Vibe (with Flavor Flav and Chuck D )
  • 1990: Elvis Is Dead
  • 1992: Pride
  • 1992: Fight the Fight
  • 1993: Nothingness
  • 1993: Bi
  • 1994: Sunshine of Your Love (cover of Cream )
  • 2003: Song Without Sin
  • 2009: Behind the Sun

Video albums

  • 1989: Primer (VHS, Laserdisc, CBS Records) (US:goldgold)
  • 1991: Time Tunnel (VHS, Sony Music)
  • 2006: Video Hits (DVD, Sony BMG)
  • 2007: On Stage at World Cafe Live (Decca Records)
  • 2008: The Paris Concert (In-Akustik)

Compilation Contributions

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e David Fricke: Living Color's Time Is Now. But the Black Rock Coalition's best-known band wouldn't think of resting on its laurels. Rolling Stone , November 1, 1990, accessed February 8, 2017 .
  2. a b c Holger Stratmann (Ed.): Rock Hard Encyclopedia . Rock Hard GmbH , Dortmund 1998, ISBN 3-9805171-0-1 , p. 216 .
  3. a b Dustin Schoof: Living Color singer Corey Glover looks back on 25 years of 'Vivid'., March 29, 2013, accessed February 8, 2017 .
  4. MTV VMAs 1989., accessed on February 8, 2017 .
  5. a b c d Living Color. , accessed on February 8, 2017 .
  6. ^ Stain: AllMusic Review by Greg Prato at Allmusic (English). Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  7. a b Artist Biography by Greg Prato at Allmusic (English). Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  8. What Happened After SmackDown, Punk's Theme Song, Updates on Finlay & Cara., accessed February 8, 2017 .
  9. LIVING COLOR To Release 'Mixtape' Featuring Reinvention Of NOTORIOUS BIG's 'Who Shot Ya'. Blabbermouth , August 19, 2016; accessed February 8, 2017 .
  10. a b c Chart sources: AT CH DE UK US . Retrieved February 7, 2017
  11. a b Awards for Music Sales:
  12. ^ Gold & Platinum Search - Music Canada - Vivid . Music Canada . Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  13. Gavin Ryan: Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010 . Moonlight Publishing, Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia 2011.