Living Colour was an African American funk metal group from the 1980s with Corey Glover doing the vocals, who was also in Platoon as an actor, and Vernon Reid on guitar who is somewhere around number seventy on Rolling Stone’s list of the hundred best guitarists ever. They were well known for their powerful song messages and music videos such as Cult of Personality with the most epic guitar solo I have ever heard.
Living Colour was ranked number seventy on VH1’s list of the one hundred best hard rock groups ever. Cult of Personality was featured as a song in the video game, Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock. Love Rears Its Ugly Head was voted the 303rd best song in 2006 out of 2006 best songs by the Triple M Countdown. Rolling Stone has called the band “funk metal pioneers”. CM Punk uses Cult of Personality as his theme song in WWE. As a matter of fact many people listen to Cult of Personality because of CM Punk.
Living Colour has made many music videos for their songs such as Cult of Personality, Middle Man, Open Letter To a Landlord, Funny Vibe, Glamor Boys, Elvis Is Dead, Type and Sunshine of Your Love, which was a cover of one of Cream’s hit songs. Sunshine of Your Love by Living Colour was part of the sound track for an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie called True Lies and its music video has parts of True Lies in it. This makes it similar to the music video for You Could Be Mine by Guns and Roses with parts from Terminator 2 because it was on the Terminator 2 sound track. I have also posted that song on my blog. Living Colour has won MTV Video music awards for Cult of Personality in three different categories; best new artist, best group video and best stage performance. They have also won grammy awards for Cult of Personality and Time’s Up and have been nominated to win a grammy for Glamor Boys and Leave It Alone.
Living Colour pushed boundaries in two different areas. They pushed for reform with their songs and they were one of the few African American heavy metal groups during the 1980s. Many people from other music groups were intimidated by how different Living Colour was and how they didn’t want to play by hard rock’s rules. Despite having a lot of opposition, Living Colour also got help from some influential people in the music industry that helped make them successful. Some of the people who helped them were from the Rolling Stones and Living Colour helped make a Rolling Stones album to pay them back.
According to Vernon Reid, “Mick Jagger is rock and roll.” Mick Jagger who was impressed by Vernon Reid’s guitar ability and Jeff Beck both showed up for an important concert by Living Colour in New York City. Living Colour made the music video for Cult of Personality in a loft in Brooklyn New York. The song was partly inspired by the guitar work Jimmy Paige had done for Led Zeppelin. Cult of Personality made references to many different political leaders and had the song message of why we would follow people and how we should not idolatrize them. It made it to the top twenty in America on the charts.
Living Colour inspired Tom Morello to form a heavy metal group called Rage Against the Machine that is popular but I am not particularly fond of. Muzz Skillings, the bass player for Living Colour, left Living Colour in the early 1990s and Living Colour broke up in the mid 1990s when they were working on their fourth album due to personal issues. However, they reformed in the early 2000s and made an album called Colleidoscope that did not chart well. Vernon Reid has said he loves playing Living Colour’s biggest hit song Cult of Personality on stage for people and does not understand why many other music artists do not like playing the hit songs that their groups have made.
Living Colour like Stryper or Joan Jett and the Blackhearts was not only an influential music group for rock and roll during the 1980s but also for a minority in rock and roll, particularly hard rock or metal, such as Christians or women, this time African American heavy metal artists.