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Lollapalooaza Throwback – Living Colour [VIDEO]

Back in the late-1980′s, hair metal bands like Motley Crue, Poison, Ratt, and Cinderella ruled the rock ‘n’ roll world. Then Living Colour came in and changed the game.

Not only did the group write songs that stayed more true to the traditional hard rock and heavy metal sound that appealed to a more mainstream audience, they wrote lyrics that reflected the state of the world instead of sappy power ballads, or party songs about drinking all night and bedding countless numbers of women.

They also broke the color barrier the world of rock seemed to have formed over time. While African-American musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Chuck Berry were major influences on the rock genre in terms of their guitar playing ability and song formula, as time wore on, a dividing line began to form that separated whites into the world of rock, and African-Americans into the world of Hip-Hop and R&B. For an all African-American hard rock band to come along and be successful went against the norm at that time, and proved that rock music wasn’t just a “white” thing.

Living Colour formed in New York City in the mid-80′s playing local club gigs as they worked on honing their sound. Their biggest, and really only hit was 1988 “Cult of Personality” a song still played on rock radio stations across the country to this day, and one that I will blast through my speakers whenever it comes on the radio, or pops up when I have my iPod on shuffle.

“Cult of Personality” features ridiculously impressive guitar work from Vernon Reid, and showcases the impressive vocal range of lead singer Corey Glover; a departure from the screaming and growling style of vocals often associated with the hard rock and heavy metal genres. Take a listen, and make sure the speakers are up loud enough so everyone can hear it.

Fun Facts

  • Lead singer Corey Glover played the role of Francis in Oliver Stone’s gritty Vietnam War film, Platoon.
  • Rolling Stones lead singer, Mick Jagger, was a key component in landing the group a record deal with Epic records, producing a demo for the group after taking a liking to their sound and style.
  • “Cult of Personality” was used as the entrance theme for WWE wrestler, CM Punk.
  • They’ve been nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning two. Both for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1990 and 1991.
  • They were one of the 10 bands to play the first Lollapalooza Festival in 1991.

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