This American rock band was formed in 1984 by Vernon Reid, Muzz Skillings and William Calhoun. Reid had studied performing arts at Manhattan Community College, having moved to New York from England at the age of two.
Both Skillings and Calhoun were experienced academic musicians, having studied and received acclaim at City College and Berklee College of Music, respectively.
The lineup was completed with the addition of vocalist Corey Glover, who had just finished a role in Oliver Stone’s movie Platoon (1986).
Their first major engagement came when Mick Jagger saw them performing at CBGBs and invited them to the studio for his forthcoming solo album. Jagger’s patronage continued as he produced two demos for the band, which secured them a contract with Epic.
Their debut, Vivid (1988), earned them early critical acclaim and rose to #6 on the US charts.
Fusing disparate black musical formats such as jazz, blues and soul, alongside commercial hard rock, its diversity was reflected in the support slots the band acquired to promote it – Cheap Trick, Robert Palmer and Billy Bragg among them.
In 1985, Vernon Reid formed the Black Rock Coalition pressure movement (alongside journalist Greg Tate) and Living Colour grew to be perceived as the most articulate black rock band in the US.
Two subsequent singles, Cult Of Personality and Open Letter, were both provocative but intelligent expressions of urban concerns.
The ties with The Rolling Stones remained strong with Reid collaborating on Keith Richards’ solo album. They also joined the Stones on their Steel Wheels tour.
After sweeping the board in several Best New Band awards, Time’s Up (1990) was released in 1990 and worldwide touring established Living Colour as a highly potent force in mainstream rock.
Following Muzz Skillings’ departure, bass player Doug Wimbish joined them for Stain (1993), which added a sprinkling of studio gimmickry on a number of tracks.
The band announced its dissolution in 1995.