Eddy Grant

Last updated

Eddy Grant
Eddy Grant at Supreme Court Gardens cropped.jpg
Grant performing in 2009
Background information
Birth nameEdmond Montague Grant
Born (1948-03-05) 5 March 1948 (age 71)
Plaisance, British Guiana
Origin London, United Kingdom
Genres
Occupation(s)Musician
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
  • drums
  • keyboards
Years active1965–present
Labels

Edmond Montague Grant (born 5 March 1948) is a Guyanese-British vocalist and musician. He was a founding member of the Equals, one of the United Kingdom's first racially integrated pop groups. He is also known for a successful solo career that includes the platinum single "Electric Avenue". He also pioneered the genre ringbang. [1]

Guyanese people in the United Kingdom are citizens or residents of the United Kingdom whose origins lie in Guyana.

The Equals band

The Equals are a British pop, R&B and rock group formed in North London, England in 1965. They are best remembered for their million-selling chart-topper "Baby, Come Back", though they had several other chart hits in the UK and Europe. Eddy Grant founded the group with Pat Lloyd, John Hall, and brothers Derv and Lincoln Gordon, and they were noted as being "the first major interracial rock group in the UK" and "one of the few racially mixed bands of the era".

Electric Avenue (song) 1982 song by Eddy Grant

"Electric Avenue" is a song written, recorded and produced by Eddy Grant, who released it from his 1982 album Killer on the Rampage. In the United States, with the help of the MTV video he shot for it, it was one of the biggest hits of 1983. The song's title refers to Electric Avenue in the south London district of Brixton which was the first market street to be lit by electricity. According to Grant, he first became aware of the street's existence during a stint acting at the Black Theatre of Brixton. The area is now known for its high population of Caribbean immigrants. At the beginning of the 1980s, tensions over unemployment, racism and poverty culminated in the street events now known as the 1981 Brixton riot. Grant, horrified and enraged, wrote and composed the song in response; a year afterwards, the song was playing over the airwaves. Grant had left the UK shortly after the riots to live in Barbados: his most recent batch of songs had been lost in baggage transit, and "Electric Avenue" was one of the songs he wrote immediately afterwards to make up for the lost material.

Contents

Early life

Grant was born in Plaisance, British Guiana, later moving to Linden. [2] [3] His father, Patrick, was a trumpeter who played in Nello and the Luckies. [3] While at school, his parents lived and worked in the United Kingdom, sending back money for his education. [3] In 1960, he emigrated to join his parents in London. [4] He lived in Kentish Town and went to school at the Acland Burghley Secondary Modern at Tufnell Park, where he learned to read and write music. [5] He became a big fan of Chuck Berry, and after seeing him play at the Finsbury Park Astoria decided on a career in music. [5] [6]

Plaisance is a village in Guyana between Better Hope and Goedverwagting. It was purchased by freed slaves from cattle farmer A J Watershodt for $39,000 after the abolition of slavery in 1838. It was officially declared a village in 1892.

British Guiana British posession in the Guianas region between 1814–1966

British Guiana was the name of the British colony, part of the British West Indies (Caribbean), on the northern coast of South America, now known as the independent nation of Guyana.

Linden, Guyana Town in Upper Demerara-Berbice, Guyana

Linden is the second largest city in Guyana after Georgetown, and capital of the Upper Demerara-Berbice region, located at 6°0′0″N58°18′0″W, altitude 48 metres (160 feet). It was declared a town in 1970, and includes the communities of MacKenzie Christianburg, and Wismar. It lies on the Demerara River and has a population of roughly 29,298. It is primarily a bauxite mining town, containing many mines 60–90 metres deep, with many other pits now in disuse.

Career

In 1965, Grant formed the Equals, playing guitar and singing background vocals, and the band had two hit albums and a minor hit with the single "I Get So Excited" before having a number one hit in 1968 with his self-penned song "Baby Come Back". [7] The tune also topped the UK Singles Chart in 1994, when covered by Pato Banton featuring Robin and Ali Campbell of the reggae group UB40. [8] The Equals had five further top 40 hits in the UK up to the end of 1970. [9] The Baby Come Back album featured a song by Grant titled, "Police on My Back" which was recorded by the Clash for their 1980 album Sandinista! . [10] Willie Nile released his version of "Police on My Back" on his Streets of New York CD. [11] The Equals' song "Green Light" co-written by Grant from their 1968 album Supreme, was recorded by the Detroit Cobras, for their 2007 album, Tied & True . [12]

A record chart, also called a music chart, is a ranking of recorded music according to certain criteria during a given period of time. Many different criteria are used in worldwide charts, often in combination. These include record sales, the amount of radio airplay, the number of downloads, and the amount of streaming activity.

UK Singles Chart British singles sales chart

The UK Singles Chart is compiled by the Official Charts Company (OCC), on behalf of the British record industry, listing the top-selling singles in the United Kingdom, based upon physical sales, paid-for downloads and streaming. The Official Chart, broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and MTV, is the UK music industry's recognised official measure of singles and albums popularity because it is the most comprehensive research panel of its kind, today surveying over 15,000 retailers and digital services daily, capturing 99.9% of all singles consumed in Britain across the week, and over 98% of albums. To be eligible for the chart, a single is currently defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as either a 'single bundle' having no more than four tracks and not lasting longer than 25 minutes or one digital audio track not longer than 15 minutes with a minimum sale price of 40 pence. The rules have changed many times as technology has developed, the most notable being the inclusion of digital downloads in 2005 and streaming in July 2014.

Pato Banton is a reggae singer and toaster from Birmingham, England. He received the nickname "Pato Banton" from his stepfather; The first name derives from a Jamaican night owl that stays up all night calling "patoo, patoo" and the last name from the disc jockey slang word "Banton" which means heavyweight lyricist or storyteller.

In this period he also worked as a songwriter and producer for other artists, including the Pyramids (producing their debut single "Train Tour to Rainbow City") and Prince Buster, for whom he wrote "Rough Rider", and started the Torpedo record label, releasing British-made reggae singles. [4]

Symarip were a ska and reggae band from the United Kingdom, originating in the late 1960s, when Frank Pitter and Michael Thomas founded the band as The Bees. The band's name was originally spelled Simaryp, which is an approximate reversal of the word pyramids. Consisting of members of West Indian descent, Simaryp is widely marked as one of the first skinhead reggae bands, being one of the first to target skinheads as an audience. Their hits included "Skinhead Girl", "Skinhead Jamboree" and "Skinhead Moonstomp", the latter of which was based on the Derrick Morgan song, "Moon Hop".

Prince Buster Jamaican singer-songwriter and producer

Cecil Bustamente Campbell OD, known professionally as Prince Buster, was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and producer. The records he released in the 1960s influenced and shaped the course of Jamaican contemporary music and created a legacy of work that would be drawn upon later by reggae and ska artists.

Reggae Music genre from Jamaica

Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora. A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals, "Do the Reggay" was the first popular song to use the word "reggae", effectively naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience. While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, especially the New Orleans R&B practiced by Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint, and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady. Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political comment. Reggae spread into a commercialized jazz field, being known first as "Rudie Blues", then "Ska", later "Blue Beat", and "Rock Steady". It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat, and the offbeat rhythm section. The immediate origins of reggae were in ska and rocksteady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument.

On 1 January 1971, Grant suffered a heart attack and collapsed lung, leading to his departure from the Equals to concentrate on production, opening his own Coach House Studios in the grounds of his Stamford Hill home in 1972, and starting Ice Records in 1974, initially distributed by Pye Records and later by Virgin Records. [2] [4] [5] He produced the Pioneers' 1976 album Feel the Rhythm, as well as early recordings by his younger brother Rudy, working under the name the Mexicano. [4] During this time he also branched out of music, learning to tap dance, and subsequently trying his hand at acting at the behest of fellow Guyanese immigrant, actor Norman Beaton. [13]

Stamford Hill neighbourhood in Hackney, East London

Stamford Hill is an area of Inner London, England, located about 5.5 miles north-east of Charing Cross. The neighbourhood is a sub-district of Hackney, the major component of the London Borough of Hackney, and is known for its Jewish Chasidic community, the largest concentration of Charedi Hasidic Jews in Europe.

Ice Records is a record label based in Barbados owned by musician Eddy Grant. In addition to Grant's music, the label also seeks "to record, promote and market classic calypso, soca and ringbang ." Ice Records lays claim to owning the largest catalog of Caribbean music in the world.

Pye Records was a British record label. Its best known artists were Lonnie Donegan (1956–69), Petula Clark (1957–71), The Searchers (1963–67), The Kinks (1964–71), Sandie Shaw (1964–71), Status Quo (1968–71) and Brotherhood of Man (1975–79). The label changed its name to PRT Records in 1980, before being briefly reactivated as Pye Records in 2006.

A self-titled solo album released in 1975 made little impact, nor did the proto-soca Message Man , completed and released in 1977, on which Grant played all the instruments himself. [4] His breakthrough as a solo artist came two years later with the album Walking on Sunshine , which spawned the UK top 20 hit "Living on the Frontline". [4] He returned to the charts in 1980 with the top 10 hit "Do You Feel My Love", the opening track of Can't Get Enough , the 1981 album giving him his first entry in the UK Albums Chart. [14] The album included two further hit singles, "Can't Get Enough of You" and "I Love You, Yes I Love You". [14]

Soca music is a genre of music that originated within a marginalized subculture in Trinidad and Tobago in the early 1970s, and developed into a range of styles by the 1980s and later. Soca was initially developed by Lord Shorty in the early 1970s in an effort to revive traditional calypso, the popularity of which had been flagging amongst younger generations in Trinidad by the start of the 1970s due to the rise in popularity of reggae from Jamaica and soul and funk from USA. Soca is an offshoot of kaiso/calypso, with influences from Latin, cadence, funk and soul.

<i>Message Man</i> 1977 studio album by Eddy Grant

Message Man is the second album by Eddy Grant. He plays every instrument and sings every voice on this album. The album is significant for its socio-political stance in songs such as "Race Hate" and "Cockney Black". The track, "Hello Africa", is considered a major highlight of this album with Grant creating a unique genre that remains difficult to categorize to this day.

<i>Walking on Sunshine</i> (Eddy Grant album) 1978 studio album by Eddy Grant

Walking on Sunshine is the title track of the 1978 album by Reggae and Soca artist Eddy Grant on the Parlophone music label. It was the follow-up to his 1977 album Message Man. It features the hit singles, 'Living On The Front Line' and the title track. The former introduced Grant to the mainstream in the UK in 1979, peaking at number 11 in the charts while the latter was Grant's debut in the lower reaches of the US R&B charts (#86).

Grant became based in Barbados from 1982 (where he opened his Blue Wave Studios), the same year releasing his most successful album, Killer on the Rampage , which included his two biggest solo hits, "I Don't Wanna Dance", which spent three weeks at number one in the UK as well as selling well internationally, and "Electric Avenue", which reached no. 2 in both the UK and the US. [4] [6] [14] He also began producing and promoting local artists such as David Rudder, Mighty Gabby, Tamu Hibbert, and Grynner. [4]

A lean period followed; his 1984 theme song for Romancing the Stone was cut from the film and stalled outside the UK top 50 when released as a single, although it fared better in the US. [4] His albums Going for Broke (1984), Born Tuff (1987), and File Under Rock (1988) failed to chart and produced no further hit singles. [4]

He returned to the charts in 1988 with the anti-apartheid single "Gimme Hope Jo'anna", a no. 7 hit in the UK. [4] [5] [14] The song was banned by the South African government. [15] In the late 1980s he pursued other business interests including music publishing, and a nightclub, and built up the success of his Blue Wave studio, which was used by the Rolling Stones, Sting, Cliff Richard, and Elvis Costello. [5] [4]

He continued releasing albums in the 1990s, including Barefoot Soldier (1990), Paintings of the Soul (1992), Soca Baptism (1993), and Hearts and Diamonds (1999). [4] In 1994 he introduced a new genre, ringbang, at the Barbados Crop Over festival. [4] [16] Grant said of ringbang: "What ringbang seeks to do is envelop all the rhythms that have originated from Africa so that they become one, defying all geographical boundaries." [4] In 2000 he organised the Ringbang Celebration festival in Tobago, [4] . In 2001, a remix of Electric Avenue reached no. 5 in the UK and an attendant Greatest Hits album reached no. 3 in that country.. [17]

In 2006 he released the album Reparation . [18]

In 2008, Grant performed at Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday concert, and also played several dates in the UK, including the Glastonbury Festival. [15]

In 2016 it was announced that Grant would receive a lifetime achievement award from the government of Guyana. [19]

Discography

Bibliography

See also

Related Research Articles

Barrington Levy reggae and dancehall artist from Jamaica

Barrington Ainsworth Levy is a Jamaican reggae and dancehall artist.

Robert Palmer (singer) English singer-songwriter and musician

Robert Allen Palmer was an English singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer. He was known for combining soul, jazz, rock, pop, reggae, and blues.

People of African descent from the Caribbean have made significant contributions to British Black music for many generations.

Nick Heyward English singer-songwriter

Nicholas Heyward is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist known for being the frontman of the early 1980s band Haircut 100 and for his solo career.

Edwin Ayoung, better known as Crazy, is a Trinidadian calypsonian. He has been active since the mid-1970s and is one of the most successful artists from Trinidad and Tobago.

Ky-Mani Marley Jamaican recording artist and actor

Ky-Mani Marley is a Jamaican reggae and hip-hop artist. His name is of East African origin, and means "Adventurous Traveler". He is the only child of Bob Marley with Anita Belnavis, a Jamaican table tennis champion.

"The First Cut Is the Deepest" is a 1967 song written by Cat Stevens, originally released by P. P. Arnold in May 1967. Stevens' own version originally appeared on his album New Masters in December 1967.

Chaka Demus & Pliers are a Jamaican reggae duo made up of deejay Chaka Demus and singer Pliers, known for their hits "Tease Me" and "Murder She Wrote". As a duo, they enjoyed more commercial success with mainstream pop fans after their collaboration began in the early 1990s than either had in their previous solo career.

Everything I Own single

"Everything I Own" is a song written by David Gates. It was originally recorded by Gates's rock band Bread for their 1972 album Baby I'm-a Want You.

Eddy Grant discography

Eddy Grant has released 15 studio albums, 13 compilation albums and 19 singles. His album Killer on the Rampage peaked at number 10 on the Billboard 200 chart in the US and was certified gold. His single "Electric Avenue" received Platinum accreditation in the US, and "I Don't Wanna Dance" topped the charts in five countries including Belgium, Ireland and his native UK. In 2001, his ringbang remix of "Electric Avenue" reached number 5 in the UK Singles Chart.

Baby, Come Back (The Equals song) single by The Equals

"Baby, Come Back" is a song written by Eddy Grant, and originally performed and recorded by his band the Equals.

"I Don't Wanna Dance" is a 1982 single by Eddy Grant. It went to number one on the UK Singles Chart and held there for three weeks in November 1982. It was later released in the United States, but only reached No. 53 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1983. It was later reissued as the B-side of Grant's "Electric Avenue".

Ali Campbell musician, UB40 member

Alistair Ian Campbell is an English singer and songwriter who was the lead singer and a member of the English reggae band UB40. As part of UB40, Campbell sold over 70 million records worldwide and toured the globe for 30 years. In 2008, Campbell left UB40 due to a dispute with band management so he then embarked on a solo career. In 2012, Campbell was announced as one of the three judges on the judging panel of the TV show, New Zealand's Got Talent. In August 2014, Campbell announced that he had reunited with former UB40 band mates Astro and Mickey to record a new album, Silhouette, released on 6 October 2014.

"Some Guys Have All the Luck" is a song written by Jeff Fortgang, which has been a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 twice, first by The Persuaders in 1973 reaching No. 39, then by Rod Stewart in 1984 where it hit No. 10 in the U.S. and No. 32 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The Shakers recorded it for their debut album Yankee Reggae and released the song as a 45 rpm single.

Rudolph Grant, also known as Little Brother Grant and The Mexicano, is a reggae deejay and singer.

Ringbang is variously a Caribbean fusion of music genres, a philosophy, and an aesthetic propounded by Eddy Grant in 1994.

References

  1. 1 2 Greene, Jo-Ann (5 March 1948). "Eddy Grant – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  2. 1 2 Gregory, Andy (2002), International Who's Who in Popular Music 2002, Europa, ISBN   1-85743-161-8, p. 202.
  3. 1 2 3 "Eddy Grant – the Ringbang man and a national icon is a ‘Special Person’", Kaieteur News, 3 March 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Thompson, Dave (2002) Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, ISBN   0-87930-655-6, pp. 111–114
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Lewis, Pete (2008) "Eddy Grant: Electric Interview", Blues & Soul, Issue 1076. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  6. 1 2 100 Years of British Music, Omnibus Press, 2014, ISBN   978-1783055074
  7. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 185. ISBN   1-904994-10-5.
  8. Roberts (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. p. 42.
  9. "Equals", Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  10. Deming, Mark. "Police on My Back – The Clash : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  11. Thompson, Dave (21 February 2006). "Streets of New York – Willie Nile : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  12. Deming, Mark (24 April 2007). "Tied & True – The Detroit Cobras : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  13. Simpson, Dave (3 September 2018). "How we made Eddy Grant's Electric Avenue". theguardian.com . Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  14. 1 2 3 4 "Eddy Grant", Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  15. 1 2 Perry, Andrew (2008) "How Eddy Grant gave hope to South Africa", Daily Telegraph , 27 June 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  16. Rollins, Scott. "Eddy Grant Talks About Ringbang". Zeeburgnieuws.nl. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  17. "CD REVIEWS: Rocket Science, Serial Joe, The Strokes and many more". Chart Attack, October 09, 2001
  18. Jeffries, David "Reparation Review", Allmusic. Retrieved 29 April 2016
  19. "Eddy Grant visits President", Stabroek News, 3 February 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016