Steven Young of Colourbox and M/A/R/R/S Dies
Steven Young, who was part of the '80s English synth-pop group Colourbox and created the groundbreaking global hit "Pump Up the Volume" with M/A/R/R/S, has died. The cause of death has not been revealed at press time.
The news was broken by his label, 4AD, who posted a promotional photo of the band on their Facebook page. "It’s with much sadness that we share the news that reached us today that Steven Young from Colourbox and M/A/R/R/S has passed away," the caption read. "One of the label’s true pioneers, Steven leaves behind an incredible legacy and will forever be in our hearts. Our thoughts go to his brother Martyn, their family and his friends."
Colourbox was the project of Young and his brother Martyn, with whom he founded the band in 1982. Their debut EP a year later revealed strong influences of soul and reggae underneath the electronic surface. A self-titled full-length followed in 1985 topped the U.K. Indie chart and featured the hits "Say You," "Punch" and "The Moon Is Blue."
A couple of years later, they teamed up with another 4AD act, A.R. Kane, to form M/A/R/R/S -- Martin and Steven were the "M" and "S" in the name -- and released only one single. But "Pump Up the Volume," which reached the No. 13 on Billboard's Hot 100, No. 1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart and No. 8 on the R&B Singles chart, became celebrated for being constructed primarily out of samples. The song was nominated for a 1989 Grammy in the Best Pop Instrumental Performance category.
But the group did not get the chance to record a follow-up. M/A/R/R/S was hit with a wave of lawsuits for not licensing the samples and, according to AllMusic, they "quickly disintegrated in the wake of financial squabbling." Colourbox called it quits around that time, too, but a four-CD set that compiled their entire catalog was released in 2012.
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