Edmond Montague Grant (born March 5, 1948) is a Guyanese-British singer-songwriter and musician. He was a founding member of The Equals, one of the United Kingdom’s first racially integrated pop groups. His subsequent solo career included the platinum single “Electric Avenue”. He also pioneered the genre ringbang.
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. 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”. 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. The album included two further hit singles, “Can’t Get Enough of You” and “I Love You, Yes I Love You”.
Grant became based in Barbados from 1982 (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. He also began producing and promoting local artists such as David Rudder, Mighty Gabby, Tamu Hibbert, and Grynner.
A lean period followed; his 1984 theme song for 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. His albums Going for Broke (1984), Born Tuff (1987), and File Under Rock (1988) failed to chart and produced no further hit singles.
He returned to the charts in 1988 with the anti-apartheid single “Gimme Hope Jo’anna”, a no. 7 hit in the UK. The song was banned by the South African government. 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.
He continued releasing albums in the 1990s, including Barefoot Soldier (1990), Paintings of the Soul (1992), Soca Baptism (1993), and Hearts and Diamonds (1999). In 1994 he introduced a new genre, ringbang, at the Barbados Crop Over festival. 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.” In 2000 he organised the Ringbang Celebration festival in Tobago. 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.
In 2006, he released the album Reparation.
In 2008, Grant performed at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday concert, and also played several dates in the UK, including the Glastonbury Festival.
In 2016, it was announced that Grant would receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the government of Guyana.
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