Earl Grant

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Grant in 1967.

Earl Grant (January 20, 1931 – June 10, 1970) was an American pianist, organist, and vocalist popular in the 1950s and 1960s.


Grant was born in Idabel, Oklahoma. Though he would be known later for his keyboards and vocals, Grant also played trumpet and drums. Grant attended four music schools, eventually becoming a music teacher. He augmented his income by performing in clubs during his army service, throughout which he was stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas.[1][2] Grant signed with Decca Records in 1957 and his first single "The End" reached number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The single "Ebb Tide" sold over one million copies, gaining gold disc status.[1] He recorded five more singles that made the charts, including "Swingin' Gently" (from Beyond the Reef), and six additional albums (mostly on the Decca label) through 1968. He also recorded the album Yes Sirree and the instrumental album Trade Winds, single-tracked on the Hammond organ and piano, featuring the love theme from the film El Cid and Chaplin's "Eternally". This album featured some realistic-sounding "tropical bird calls" produced by his electric organ. "House of Bamboo" was another big-selling single. In all, Grant recorded 30 albums for Decca, mostly on the Brunswick label, a subsidiary of Decca.[2]

Several of his albums featured tenor saxophonist Plas Johnson.[3]

Grant also made a few appearances in films and on television, including Tender Is the Night (1962), Juke Box Rhythm (1959), and The Ed Sullivan Show (1961).[4]

Grant sang the title theme for the 1959 film Imitation of Life in a way very close to an imitation of Nat King Cole.

He died instantly in a car accident in Lordsburg, New Mexico, at the age of 39[1] when the car he was driving ran off Interstate 10.[2] He was driving from Los Angeles to an intended destination in Juarez, Mexico. His 17-year-old cousin was also killed in the accident.[5]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Earl Grant among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[6]

Select discography[edit]

  • Versatile Earl Grant (Decca, 1958)
  • The End (Decca, 1958)
  • Midnight Earl (Decca, 1958)
  • Grant Takes Rhythm (Decca, 1959)
  • Nothin' but the Blues (Decca, 1959)
  • Paris Is My Beat (Decca, 1959)
  • The Magic of Earl Grant (Decca, 1960)
  • Ebb Tide and Other Instrumental Favorites (Decca, 1961)
  • Earl After Dark (Decca, 1961)
  • Beyond The Reef (Decca, 1962)
  • At Basin Street East (Decca, 1962)
  • Midnight Sun (Decca, 1962)
  • Yes Sirree! (Decca, 1963)
  • Fly Me to the Moon (Decca, 1963)
  • Just for a Thrill (Decca, 1964)
  • Just One More Time And Other Instrumental Favorites (Decca, 1964)
  • Trade Winds (Decca, 1965)
  • Spotlight on Earl Grant (Decca, 1965)
  • Winter Wonderland (Decca, 1965)
  • Sings and Plays Songs Made Famous by Nat Cole (Decca, 1966)
  • Stand by Me (Decca, 1966)
  • Bali Ha'i (Decca, 1966)
  • A Closer Walk with Thee (Decca, 1966)
  • Gently Swingin' (Decca, 1968)
  • In Motion (Decca, 1968)
  • Spanish Eyes (Decca, 1969)
  • This Magic Moment (Decca, 1969)
  • A Time For Us (Decca, 1969)
  • Earl Grant (Decca, 1970)

Charted albums[edit]

Year Title Chart positions
1961 "Ebb Tide" 7
1962 "Earl Grant at Basin Street East" 92
"Beyond the Reef" 17
1964 "Just for a Thrill" 149
"Fly Me to the Moon" 139
1965 "Trade Winds" 192
1968 "Gently Swingin'" 168
1969 "Winter Wonderland" 14

Charted singles[edit]

Year Title Chart positions
1958 "The End" 7 16
1959 "Evening Rain" 63
1960 "House of Bamboo" 88
1962 "Swingin' Gently" 44
"Sweet Sixteen Bars" 55 9
1965 "Stand by Me" 75
1969 "Silver Bells" 3


  1. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 135. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  2. ^ a b c "Earl Grant Killed in Auto Crash". The News and Courier. 11 June 1970. p. 13A. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
  3. ^ Earl Grant Winter Wonderland LP liner notes. MCA-15001, 1965
  4. ^ IMDB.com
  5. ^ "Auto Accident Kills Earl, Grant, Organist-Singer". Meriden, CT Journal. 11 June 1970. p. 10. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
  6. ^ Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  • Michel Ruppli, The Decca labels: A discography (Greenwood Press, 1996)

External links[edit]