Saturday, July 13, 2013

Eddy Grant--Electric Avenue (1983)

     Eddy Grant was born in 1948 in Guyana and in 1960 him and his parents immigrated to England, where the youngster became influenced by the new sounds of r&b influenced rock and roll that was beginning to happen. Several years later, he formed a group called The Equals in 1965 which was one of first interracial groups in that country, and soon gained a reputation for strong live performances.  They had some major peaks and valleys on the charts but one song of note was, "Baby, Come Back" in 1968 which was a number one song at home, and even reached  the top 40 here in the states.

     He began his foray into reggae music with the opening of a record company, Torpedo in 1970, but the work with the company, plus his hectic schedule with The Equals took a toll. Despite Grant being a teetotaler, and a vegetarian to boot, he succumb to a heart attack at the age of 23 in 1971. He quit The Equals and sold the record company. Grant then bought a record studio and began to focus on recording other artists. When he did appear again on record, with 1977's, "Message Man", it was a totally different personality on record, with a much stronger (and bitter at times) message politically. It was also the beginnings of what is now known as soca, which was a hybrid of Calypso and Soul. Some, especially fans of Lord Shorty will dispute this, but either way this album was one of the first to fuse the two.  
     His star continued to rise as a solo artist in Britain as his mix of Caribbean influences and Soul began to make waves all through Europe, finally making an impact here with the release of, "Electric Avenue" in 1983 off of the album, "Killer on the Rampage" reaching number 2 in the spring/summer of 1983. The next year he reached the top 40 again with the theme from the movie, "Romancing the Stone" which was his last hit here in the states.
     His influence however continued to grow around the world. Although he continues to write and record, he has spent much of his time recording reggae legends, mentoring new artists, and developing a new reggae hybrid called, ringbang.


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