Peak UK Chart Position: #3 in October 1985.
Not quite a one-hit wonder; in fact, he had five songs in all that entered the UK top 100, although “Trapped” was by far the biggest. Colonel Abrams (his real name) was born in Detroit on May 25th 1949, and was in several bands in his early musical career, including (in 1976) briefly being lead vocalist for 94 East, a group that featured none other than Prince on guitar.
“Trapped” got huge attention in the clubs of Boston, Washington DC, and Detroit well before the track had even made it to record. Abrams got signed to MCA records thanks to the track being noticed by the management of New Edition. It eventually went to number one on the US Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, as well as spending three weeks at number three in the UK (this day in 1985 marking the third of the three). It was suggested by the press that Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” in 1987 heavily borrowed the bassline from “Trapped”.
Last year, Abrams was reported to be very ill, and a crowdfunding campaign was set up in order to get him re-homed and able to access vital medical treatment that was required. Fellow house music pioneer Marshall Jefferson recorded a short video urging support of the campaign, which you can view in the link above. It is not entirely clear what the outcome has been.
Back to Christmas Day 1985, where Top of the Pops did its customary review of the year hosted by a selection of Radio 1 DJs. In and among the likes of King, Paul Young, Feargal Sharkey, and the late Baltimora, was “Trapped” – the 22nd best selling single of 1985. Here, Dixie Peach – only the third black DJ to feature on Radio 1 – presents the performance.