Composer, guitarist, and Reggae singer Eddy Grant was born Edmond Montague Grant on March 5, 1948, in Plaisance, Demerara-Mahaica, Guyana, to Patrick Alexander Grant, a trumpeter. He has one brother, Rudy Grant. In 1960, he emigrated to London where he studied at Acland Burghley Secondary Modern at Tufnell Park, a school for artistic students. Grant concentrated in music composition.
In 1965, during his junior year, Grant formed the Equals, the United Kingdom’s first ethnically diverse pop group. He graduated in 1966 and two years later the Equals had two hit albums and a minor hit single “I Get So Excited.”
In 1968 Grant and the Equals released “Baby Come Back” which was their first million-selling record. Grant was the lead guitarist and primary lyricist for the song.
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.
In 1975 Grant became a solo artist. His 1978 Walking On Sunshine album, the first of his career as a solo artist, was released on the Parlophone music label and sold more than 500,000 copies. It was followed by the 1980 single “Do You Feel My Love” from his album, Can’t Get Enough, which peaked at no. 8 on the UK Singles Chart and reached 39 in the United States, 41 in Australia, and 43 in Germany. In 1982, the album Killer on The Rampage peaked at no. 10 on the US Billboard 200 chart and sold more than one million copies. It reached no. 9 in New Zealand and peaked at no. 11 in both Australia and Germany, no. 30 in Sweden and 45 in the Netherlands indicating that Grant was a major international record artist.
Grant released “Electric Avenue” in 1983 which peaked at no. 2 in both the UK and US and sold more than one million records making it the biggest hit of his career.
During the 1980s when anti-apartheid protest spread throughout the world, Grant supported the movement with his records “Police on my Back” (1980) and “Gimme Hope Jo’anna” (1988) both of which highlighted the racially oppressive South African regime. The South African government banned his songs but “Gimme Hope Jo’anna” reached no. 7 in the UK.
Grant 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, Grant 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. He was previously honored with a postage stamp featuring his likeness and Ringbang logo by the Guyana Post Office Corporation in 2005.