portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Riposte to THATCHER from EDDY GRANT! 

This is a response to The Brixton Riots . . . . . . . !

On this day in music history: March 24, 1983 - “Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant is released. Written and produced by Eddy Grant, it is the it is the fourth US single for the Guyanese born, British raised singer, songwriter and musician. Immigrating to the UK in mid 60’s while still a teenager, Eddy Grant and his family settle in Kentish Town in Northwest London. In 1965, Grant becomes the lead singer and guitarist for the UK pop/rock band The Equals. The band scores his first major hit in 1968, when Eddy is only twenty years old with the worldwide hit “Baby Come Back” (#1 UK Pop, #14 US Pop). Also penning the classics “Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys” and “Police On My Back” (the later being covered by The Clash), Eddy leaves the band in 1971 after a health scare brought on by exhaustion. He begins a solo career in 1972, then in 1977 forms his own label Ice Records. The singles “Living On The Front Line” and “Walking On Sunshine”, with the latter being released in the US by Epic Records and topping the Club Play chart in remixed form in 1982. The song “Electric Avenue” is inspired by a street in the Brixton district of South London, where in the 1880’s was the first area in the city to be lit by electric street lights. A century later in 1981, Brixton is the scene of major rioting taking place between April 10 - 12, 1981. With the United Kingdom in the throes of a major recession, the conditions in Brixton are even worse. With a largely African-Caribbean population by affected by high unemployment, poor housing and a high crime rate, tensions boil over after citizens have one too many run ins with the police. With numerous people injured in the melee, in the aftermath, then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher publicly denies that racial bias and unemployment were reasons for the riots. Angered by her statements, Grant writes the song in part as a rebuke of her statements. The song is recorded at Grant’s Blue Wave Studios in St Phillip, Barbados in 1982. Released in the UK first in January of 1983, “Electric Avenue” hits number two on the UK singles chart. The song is released in the US on Epic subsidiary Portrait Records along with the album “Killer On The Rampage”, quickly becoming a smash on club dance floors and crossing over to radio. Entering the Hot 100 at #89 on April 16, 1983, it climbs to number two on July 2, 1983, spending five weeks in the runner up spot when it is unable to dislodge Irene Cara’s “Flashdance… What A Feeling” and The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” from the number one spot. The music video directed by Steve Barron (“Billie Jean”, “Take On Me”, “Don’t You Want Me”), receives heavy play on MTV and other video programs. The singles B-side, the non-LP track “Time Warp” also becomes a sizable club hit at the time “Electric Avenue” is on the charts. “Electric Avenue” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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