Friday, September 25, 2015

"Electric Avenue" by Eddy Grant

Top 10 Alert!
Platinum Record Alert!
Song#:  1412
Date:  04/16/1983
Debut:  89
Peak:  2
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Reggae, Funk, New Wave

Pop Bits:  Born in British Guyana and raised in London, Grant's first taste of success was in the late 60s with his rock/R&B group The Equals. Their song "Baby Come Back" (written by Grant) eventually made its way to #1 on the UK chart in 1968 (#32 US). They had a couple of UK Top 10 follow-ups, but by 1971 the group disbanded after Grant suffered a heart attack. He later built his own recording studio and began to work on on music that combined Caribbean and African sounds. With his own record label in place (Ice Records), Grant issued the socio-poltical album "Message Man" in 1977. Although not a hit, the music that Grant recorded was unlike any specific genre and it would prove to be highly influential. He recorded several more albums, but nothing really hit until the song "Do You Feel My Love" reached #8 in the UK in 1980. Two years later, Grant grabbed his first UK #1 with "I Don't Wanna Dance" from his album "Killer on the Rampage." Although that song didn't break him in the US, the album's second single, "Electric Avenue," took the charts by storm. It reached #2 in the UK while also spending five weeks at #2 in the US (#6 Dance, #12 Rock, #18 R&B). The song's unique sound and mass appeal sent the singles' sales to the platinum level. It would be Grant's only Top 10 hit.

ReduxReview:  Man, I hated this song. I couldn't turn the radio dial fast enough when this song came on. It just wasn't my thing. I didn't get the reggae/soca/funk style, I didn't like Grant's voice, and I detested that farting synth glide. I have a better understand now about the style/song and can appreciate it much more, so my hate has subsided. I still would not call it one of my favorites of the era, but I do think it is an interesting relic and one that was influential.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song was inspired by the 1981 riots in the Brixton section of South London. With an impoverished African-Caribbean community, the area was hit hard by the UK recession and tensions were high between residents and police. It all erupted on what was dubbed "bloody Saturday." In the area of the riots was a street named Electric Avenue. It was named as such in the 1880's because it was the first marketplace street to be lit with electricity. Apparently, there wasn't much rioting in that specific area, but the event and street were powerful enough for Grant to write the song. However, its more serious lyrics are often overshadowed by its danceable groove.


No comments:

Post a Comment