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Eddy Grant

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Eddy Grant
Grant in Perth, Australia in 2009
Grant in Perth, Australia in 2009
Background information
Birth nameEdmond Montague Grant
Born (1948-03-05) 5 March 1948 (age 76)
Plaisance, British Guiana (now Guyana)
OriginLondon, England
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
  • drums
  • keyboards
Years active1965–present

Edmond Montague Grant (born 5 March 1948)[10] is a Guyanese-British singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, known for his genre-blending sound and socially-conscious lyrics; his music has blended elements of pop, British rock, soul, funk, reggae, electronic music, African polyrhythms, and Latin music genres such as 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 mixed pop groups who are best remembered for their million-selling UK chart-topper, the Grant-penned "Baby, Come Back".

His subsequent solo career included the 1982 song "I Don't Wanna Dance", plus the platinum 1983 single "Electric Avenue", which is his biggest international hit. He earned a Grammy Award nomination for the song.[12] He is also well known for the anti-apartheid 1988 song "Gimme Hope Jo'anna".

Early life


Grant was born in Plaisance, British Guiana (now Guyana), later moving to Linden.[13][14] His father, Patrick, was a trumpeter who played in Nello and the Luckies.[14] While he was at school, his parents lived and worked in the United Kingdom, sending back money for his education.[14] In 1960, he emigrated to join his parents in London.[15] 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.[16] He became a big fan of Chuck Berry, and after seeing him play at the Finsbury Park Astoria decided on a career in music.[16][17]



The Equals

Grant (second from top) 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".[18] 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.[19] The Equals had five further top 40 hits in the UK up to the end of 1970.[20] 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!.[21] Willie Nile released his version of "Police on My Back" on his Streets of New York CD.[22] 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.[23]

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.[15]

Ice Records


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.[13][15][16] 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.[15] 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.[24]



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.[15] 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".[15] 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.[25] The album included two further hit singles, "Can't Get Enough of You" and "I Love You, Yes I Love You".[25]

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.[15][17][25] He also began producing and promoting local artists such as David Rudder, Mighty Gabby, Tamu Hibbert, and Grynner.[15] 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.[15] His albums Going for Broke (1984), Born Tuff (1987), and File Under Rock (1988) failed to chart and produced no further hit singles.[15] Grant participated in Prince Edward's charity television special The Grand Knockout Tournament (1987).

Grant returned to the charts in 1988 with the anti-apartheid single "Gimme Hope Jo'anna", a no. 7 hit in the UK.[15][16][25] The song was banned by the South African government.[26] 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.[16][15]

Grant continued releasing albums in the 1990s, including Barefoot Soldier (1990), Paintings of the Soul (1992), Soca Baptism (1993), and Hearts and Diamonds (1999).[15] In 1994 he introduced a new genre, ringbang, at the Barbados Crop Over festival.[15][27] 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."[15] In 2000 he organised the Ringbang Celebration festival in Tobago.[15] 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.[28]

In 2004, Grant created a song for the yogurt based drink Yop, to the tune of "Gimme Hope Jo'anna".[29] On 18 April 2006, Grant released the album Reparation.[30] The title of this album is a call for restitution for the transatlantic slave trade.[31] There was an eleven-year gap before his next album, when he released his 2017 album Plaisance.

In 2008, he performed at Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday concert, and also played several dates in the UK, including the Glastonbury Festival.[26] As of 2023, Grant has refused to allow his music on streaming platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify, out of protest for how the platforms pay artists.[32] However, in February 2024, his album Killer on the Rampage became available on the aforementioned streaming services again, including the original version of “Electric Avenue.”


In September 2020, Grant sued Donald Trump, who was President of the United States at the time, for unauthorized use of Grant's 1983 chart hit "Electric Avenue" in an August 2020 presidential campaign video. Trump posted the video on Twitter where it was viewed more than 13 million times before Twitter took it down after Grant's copyright complaint. Grant's song plays during 40 seconds of the animated 55-second video.[33][34][35] Trump unsuccessfully attempted to have the suit dismissed, citing fair use and "absolute presidential immunity".[36][37][38] Grant asked for $300,000 in damages.[37]

Trump's attorney told the court that the deposition contained sensitive information about Trump's presidential campaign strategy. He asked that Trump and campaign advisor Dan Scavino's testimony be permanently sealed because it would give an "unwarranted competitive advantage" to his opponents in the 2024 presidential election, and because it "could be used against them in other, parallel, litigations unrelated to this matter.".[39] The case, Grant v. Trump (1:20-cv-07103), is pending in federal court in the Southern District New York.[40]

Awards and nominations


In 2016, it was announced that Grant would receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the government of Guyana.[41] He was previously honoured with a postage stamp featuring his likeness and Ringbang logo by the Guyana Post Office Corporation in 2005.[42] Grant was nominated for a Grammy in the 26th Annual Grammy Awards for his song "Electric Avenue".[12]




  • Lloyd Bradley, Sounds Like London: 100 Years of Black Music in the Capital (contributor), Serpent's Tail, 2013, ISBN 978-1846687617

See also



  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 (27 June 2008). "How Eddy Grant gave hope to South Africa". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  5. ^ a b c 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. ^ a b 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. ^ a b "Eddy Grant". Grammy.com. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  13. ^ a b Gregory, Andy (2002), International Who's Who in Popular Music 2002, Europa, ISBN 1-85743-161-8, p. 202.
  14. ^ a b c "Eddy Grant – the Ringbang man and a national icon is a ‘Special Person’", Kaieteur News, 3 March 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Thompson, Dave (2002) Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, pp. 111–114
  16. ^ a b c d e Lewis, Pete (2008) "Eddy Grant: Electric Interview", Blues & Soul, Issue 1076. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  17. ^ a b 100 Years of British Music, Omnibus Press, 2014, ISBN 978-1783055074
  18. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 185. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  19. ^ Roberts (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. p. 42.
  20. ^ "Equals", Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  21. ^ Deming, Mark. "Police on My Back – The Clash : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  22. ^ Thompson, Dave (21 February 2006). "Streets of New York – Willie Nile : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  23. ^ Deming, Mark (24 April 2007). "Tied & True – The Detroit Cobras : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  24. ^ Simpson, Dave (3 September 2018). "How we made Eddy Grant's Electric Avenue". theguardian.com. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  25. ^ a b c d "Eddy Grant", Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  26. ^ a b Perry, Andrew (2008) "How Eddy Grant gave hope to South Africa", The Daily Telegraph, 27 June 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  27. ^ Rollins, Scott. "Eddy Grant Talks About Ringbang". Zeeburgnieuws.nl. Archived from the original on 11 August 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  28. ^ "CD REVIEWS: Rocket Science, Serial Joe, The Strokes and many more"[usurped]. Chart Attack, October 9, 2001
  29. ^ "Yop - Me Mama". Retrieved 12 April 2022 – via YouTube.
  30. ^ Jeffries, David "Reparation Review", AllMusic. Retrieved 29 April 2016
  31. ^ Eddy Grant - Reparation Album Reviews, Songs & More | AllMusic, retrieved 31 December 2023
  32. ^ Delaney, Gary (28 May 2021). "Eddy Grant Has Criticised Streaming Platforms For Their Payment Of Artists". Nova.ie. Retrieved 21 March 2023.
  33. ^ LeBlanc, Paul (1 September 2020). "Twitter removes Trump campaign video featuring 'Electric Avenue' after complaint from musician Eddy Grant". CNN. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  34. ^ Katersky, Aaron (19 October 2021). "Donald Trump versus 'Electric Avenue''s Eddy Grant". ABC News. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  35. ^ Brittain, Blake (15 September 2023). "Trump asks court to trim 'Electric Avenue' copyright lawsuit". Reuters. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  36. ^ Brittain, Blake (29 September 2021). "Trump loses bid to escape 'Electric Avenue' copyright lawsuit". Reuters. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  37. ^ a b Pengelly, Martin (1 April 2022). "Trump may face day in court thanks to lawsuit from reggae singer Eddy Grant". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  38. ^ Carlisle, Stephen (30 September 2021). ""Electric Avenue" Derails Trump Train". Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  39. ^ Brittain, Blake (25 September 2023). "Trump, 'Electric Avenue' singer spar over ex-president's testimony". Reuters. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  40. ^ "Grant v. Trump (1:20-cv-07103), District Court, S.D. New York". CourtListener. 1 September 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  41. ^ "Eddy Grant visits President", Stabroek News, 3 February 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016
  42. ^ "Eddy Grant stamp unveiled". ufdc.ufl.edu. Guyana Chronicle. p. 10. Retrieved 16 March 2021.