Eddy Grant

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Eddy Grant
Eddy Grant at Supreme Court Gardens cropped.jpg
Eddy Grant live in Perth, Australia in 2009.
Background information
Birth nameEdmond Montague Grant
Born (1948-03-05) 5 March 1948 (age 73)
Plaisance, British Guiana
OriginLondon, England
Genres
Occupation(s)Musician
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
  • drums
  • keyboards
Years active1965–present
Labels

Edmond Montague Grant (born 5 March 1948) [10] is a Guyanese–British singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, known his genre-blending sound; his music has blended elements of electronic pop, reggae, British rock, African polyrhythms, soul, funk and Latin samba, among many others. [11] In addition to this, he also helped to pioneer the genre of ringbang. [5] He was a founding member of The Equals, one of the United Kingdom's first racially-integrated pop groups. His subsequent solo career included the platinum single "Electric Avenue", which is his biggest international hit.

Contents

Early life

Grant was born in Plaisance, British Guiana, later moving to Linden. [12] [13] His father, Patrick, was a trumpeter who played in Nello and the Luckies. [13] While at school, his parents lived and worked in the United Kingdom, sending back money for his education. [13] In 1960, he emigrated to join his parents in London. [14] 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. [15] He became a big fan of Chuck Berry, and after seeing him play at the Finsbury Park Astoria decided on a career in music. [15] [16]

Career

Grant (behind) as a member of the R&B/pop-rock band, the Equals, photographed in April 1968 in Amsterdam. Equals1968Koch.jpg
Grant (behind) as a member of the R&B/pop-rock band, the Equals, photographed in April 1968 in Amsterdam.

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 song "Baby Come Back". [17] 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. [18] The Equals had five further top 40 hits in the UK up to the end of 1970. [19] 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! . [20] Willie Nile released his version of "Police on My Back" on his Streets of New York CD. [21] 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 . [22]

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. [14]

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. [12] [14] [15] 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. [14] 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. [23]

A self-titled solo album released in 1975 made little impact, as did the proto-soca Message Man , completed and released in 1977, on which Grant played all the instruments himself. [14] 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". [14] 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. [24] The album included two further hit singles, "Can't Get Enough of You" and "I Love You, Yes I Love You". [24]

From 1982 onward Grant was based in Barbados (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. [14] [16] [24] He also began producing and promoting local artists such as David Rudder, Mighty Gabby, Tamu Hibbert, and Grynner. [14] A lean period followed; his 1984 title song for the movie 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 and Canada. [14] His albums Going for Broke (1984), Born Tuff (1987), and File Under Rock (1988) failed to chart and produced no further hit singles. [14]

Grant returned to the charts in 1988 with the anti-apartheid single "Gimme Hope Jo'anna", a no. 7 hit in the UK. [14] [15] [24] The song was banned by the South African government. [25] 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. [15] [14]

Grant continued releasing albums in the 1990s, including Barefoot Soldier (1990), Paintings of the Soul (1992), Soca Baptism (1993), and Hearts and Diamonds (1999). [14] In 1994 he introduced a new genre, ringbang, at the Barbados Crop Over festival. [14] [26] 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." [14] In 2000 he organised the Ringbang Celebration festival in Tobago. [14] 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. [27]

In 2006, Grant released the album Reparation . [28]

In 2008, Grant performed at Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday concert, and also played several dates in the UK, including the Glastonbury Festival. [25]

In 2016, it was announced that Grant would receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the government of Guyana. [29] He was previously honored with a postage stamp featuring his likeness and Ringbang logo by the Guyana Post Office Corporation in 2005. [30]

Discography

Bibliography

See also

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The Equals

The Equals are an English pop, R&B and rock group formed in North London 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 John Hall, Pat Lloyd, 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".

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

Walking on Sunshine is the second studio album by Guyanese-British musician Eddy Grant, originally released in 1978 by Ice Records. Recorded at Grant's Stamford Hill recording studio, the album was the follow-up to his solo debut Message Man (1977) and fuses styles of Caribbean music like reggae, soca and calypso with other genres, including funk and pop. The musician played most of the album's instrumentation himself, and described the record as reflecting his joyousness. However, some songs feature tough cultural themes, particularly those on the first side.

Eddy Grant discography

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Electric Avenue (song) 1982 song by Eddy Grant

"Electric Avenue" is a song written, recorded and produced by British singer and songwriter Eddy Grant, who released it on 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 refers to the Electric Avenue in London, and to the 1981 Brixton riot in the Brixton district of the city.

Gimme Hope Joanna 1988 single by Eddy Grant

"Gimme Hope Jo'anna" is a British anti-apartheid song written and originally released by Eddy Grant in 1988, during the apartheid era in South Africa. The song was banned by the South African government when it was released, but was widely played there nonetheless. It reached number seven on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Grant's first British top 10 hit for five years.

Baby, Come Back (The Equals song) 1966 single by the Equals

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Romancing the Stone (song) 1984 single by Eddy Grant

"Romancing the Stone" is a song written, recorded and produced by Eddy Grant, who released it from his 1984 album Going for Broke. It was intended for the 1984 feature film of the same name, in fact was announced by Casey Kasem on the 30 June 1984 edition of American Top 40 as the title song to the movie, but ultimately was used only briefly in the film. Clips from the film appeared in at least one official music video for the song, and the song is mentioned in the film's closing credits.

Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys 1970 single by the Equals

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References

  1. Ulibas, Joseph (6 October 2014). "Reggae rocker Eddy Grant can still get so excited on Electric Avenue". Axs. Archived from the original on 29 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  2. Dave Thompson (2002). Reggae & Caribbean Music. Backbeat Books. p. 111. ISBN   978-0-87930-655-7.
  3. Pareles, Jon (11 August 1983). "POP: EDDY GRANT SINGS". The New York Times . Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  4. Perry, Andrew. "How Eddy Grant gave hope to South Africa". The Daily Telegraph . Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  5. 1 2 3 Greene, Jo-Ann. "Eddy Grant – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  6. "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 6 October 1979 via Google Books.
  7. 1 2 Curwen Best (2004). Culture @ the Cutting Edge: Tracking Caribbean Popular Music. University of the West Indies Press. p. 120. ISBN   978-976-640-124-5.
  8. Himes, Geoffrey. "THE CALYPSO KINGS: BACK ON THE MARCH". The Washington Post . Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  9. Sweeney, Philip (16 December 1993). "ROCK / 'Ring Bang': the way forward: Eddie Grant, reggae singer turned entrepreneur and soca's Mr Big, is a hard man to track down. Philip Sweeney got tired of chasing after his Mercedes and invited him to tea in Bristol". Independent. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  10. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 243. ISBN   1-904994-10-5.
  11. Himes, Geoffrey (2 August 1983). "Eddy Grant's Electric Rock". The Washington Post. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  12. 1 2 Gregory, Andy (2002), International Who's Who in Popular Music 2002, Europa, ISBN   1-85743-161-8, p. 202.
  13. 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
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  16. 1 2 100 Years of British Music, Omnibus Press, 2014, ISBN   978-1783055074
  17. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 185. ISBN   1-904994-10-5.
  18. Roberts (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. p. 42.
  19. "Equals", Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  20. Deming, Mark. "Police on My Back – The Clash : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  21. Thompson, Dave (21 February 2006). "Streets of New York – Willie Nile : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  22. Deming, Mark (24 April 2007). "Tied & True – The Detroit Cobras : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  23. Simpson, Dave (3 September 2018). "How we made Eddy Grant's Electric Avenue". theguardian.com . Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  24. 1 2 3 4 "Eddy Grant", Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  25. 1 2 Perry, Andrew (2008) "How Eddy Grant gave hope to South Africa", The Daily Telegraph , 27 June 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  26. Rollins, Scott. "Eddy Grant Talks About Ringbang". Zeeburgnieuws.nl. Archived from the original on 11 August 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  27. "CD REVIEWS: Rocket Science, Serial Joe, The Strokes and many more". Chart Attack, October 09, 2001
  28. Jeffries, David "Reparation Review", AllMusic. Retrieved 29 April 2016
  29. "Eddy Grant visits President", Stabroek News, 3 February 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  30. "Eddy Grant stamp unveiled". ufdc.ufl.edu. Guyana Chronicle. p. 10. Retrieved 16 March 2021.