Electric Avenue singer Eddy Grant was so well known in London in the 1980s, even Rolling Stones superstar Mick Jagger marvelled at his popularity.
The Equals’ frontman, who enjoyed huge chart success with solo singles I Don’t Wanna Dance and Gimme Hope Jo’Anna, told The Big Issue he was one of the most recognisable people in Britain at the peak of his success.
“Everybody knew me,” he recalled. “I give the story of myself and Mick Jagger walking down the street, going to the cricket, and he’s saying to me, ‘How come everybody shouts out to you? What’s going on?’ I said, ‘I don’t know Mick, maybe it’s because I live here.’ I’ve been instantly recognisable for most of my life, and it’s got its pluses and minuses.”
Never one to shy away from the limelight, Grant took pleasure in attracting public attention from the moment his band The Equals had a hit with Baby Come Back in 1968.
“I had this whacking great afro and I bleached it absolutely white,” he said. “You can’t imagine – at that time there was nobody like that. I remember the first day I had it done. I walked down the road and cars were running into each other. What was this apparition walking along the road? It was a very exciting time.”
At the height of their success The Equals were invited to support many big stars who came to London, including Cream, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Procol Harum, Wilson Pickett and Solomon Burke. Grant also got to meet one of his heroes.