Singer/songwriter Eddy Grant (born Edward Montague Grant in 1948) is about to embark on a British tour in the United Kingdom with several solo concerts and others in conjunction with soft-reggae legends UB40 (of “Red Red Wine” fame). The 61-year-old, born in Guyana but raised in London, first won fame in the late 1960s with chart-topping group The Equals (“Baby Come Back” was a number one hit in 1968). He had worldwide hits in the 1980s with songs such as “Electric Avenue” and “I Don’t Wanna Dance.” This blogger, for one, will never forget Grant’s boundless energy, spectacular voice, and his performance of my favorite song, “Living on the Front Line” (and, OK, his then trademark leather outfit) on stage at Cornell University some years ago . . . well, let’s just say, sometime in the 80s.
Here is part of his interview with the UK’s Press Association:
Why have you decided now is the time to go out on tour?
It all started last year when I performed at a Mandela Concert, Glastonbury and Womad (music festivals). As a result I decided having sold all of these records all of these years and not having played to a significant number of the people who bought them, I should really go out and make their acquaintance. I’ve missed all of the fantastic times of being out on the road with the band and stuff.
Is it true that, given any opportunity, you’ll talk about the political issues?
Well, I’m one of the artists who formed the long line of protest writers, and it’s not something I actually promote, but that is the way I write – apart from the love songs.
What issues are important to you at the moment?
There are many issues. But I don’t just write for the sake of writing. If something happens politically which upsets my sensibilities, then eventually that will come out in a song. I don’t just sit there and think, ‘Oh there’s something happening in Afghanistan, I’ve got to write about that’ – I’m not that kind of writer. But if there is a particular injustice highlighted in the media which particularly catches my attention, I’ll write about it. [. . .]
Why did you decide to move to the Caribbean rather than stay in the UK?
Because I’d always promised myself if I had kids I’d like to see them educated in the Caribbean like I was, and to have that difference of lifestyle. So we moved out there in 1981. I left what had become my home country and decided to take my children and my wife back to Barbados.
What’s it like coming back to the UK?
England has a special place in my life because half of my life has been spent here and half of my education has been here, so I’m a bi-functional person. I function just as well in the England society as I do in the Caribbean society, and I don’t really put one in front of the other necessarily because there is no need. I get by in both environments.
For Grant’s “Living on the Front Line,” see
For full interview, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/caribbean/news/story/2009/11/091105_eddygrant.shtml
Shown here, The Very Best of Eddy Grant: Road to Reparation (released in the UK in 2008). See http://eil.com/Shop/moreinfo.asp?catalogid=437800