NEWS

The Music Walk of Fame honours pioneering musician and local legend Eddy Grant

Published 8 months ago on September 10, 2023

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

THE MUSIC WALK OF FAME

PIONEERING MUSICIAN AND LOCAL LEGEND

EDDY GRANT

HONOURED WITH MUSIC WALK OF FAME STONE UNVEILING IN CAMDEN

WITH TRIBUTES FROM SIR LENNY HENRY CBE, ROBERT PLANT, MIKE READ, THE HIGH COMMISSIONER OF GUYANA DR. RAJENDRA SINGH AND RUDOLPH WALKER

  • Guyanese-British musical pioneer Eddy Grant has been honoured today in stone unveiling for The Music Walk of Fame
  • Tributes were heard from friends and collaborators of Grant including Sir Lenny Henry CBE, Mike Read, The High Commissioner of Guyana Dr. Rajendra Singh, Rudolph Walker and Robert Plant 
  • On Monday 4 September UB40, Janis Joplin and Harvey Goldsmith CBE kicked off a special week of unveilings, followed by Gordon Mac (Founder of Kiss FM), Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson on Tuesday 6 September, and The Sugarhill Gang on Wednesday
  • This week will also see the Buzzcocks, Billy Bragg, Shalamar and The Kinks also honoured, ahead of the first ever annual Camden Music Festival on Saturday 9th September
  • They all join former inductees David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Madness, The Who, and Soul II Soul who have all been honoured on the walk in previous years

Camden, London (7th September) – London’s prestigious Music Walk Of Fame today inducted pioneering multi-instrumentalist and producer Eddy Grant, immortalised on the Camden pavement in recognition of his musical and social achievements, both independently and his work with the UK’s first multiracial band The Equals. 

At today’s ceremony on Camden High Street, the crowds heard from friends of Eddy’s including award-winning actor and comedian Sir Lenny Henry CBE and BBC Radio 1 DJ and Top of the Pops host Mike Read. The High Commissioner of Guyana Dr. Rajendra Singh also offered his admiration in light of Eddy’s lifetime achievement award from the government of Guyana in 2016. Messages of support from actor Rudolph Walker and musician Robert Plant were also projected on the screen. 

The Music Walk of Fame honours artists and trailblazers from around the globe, from all eras, genres, and ages, with a stone on the Camden based trail. Later this week Buzzcocks, Billy Bragg, Shalamar and The Kinks will all receive their recognition, culminating in the first ever annual Camden Music Festival on Saturday 9th September.

Lee Bennett, Founder of The Music Walk of Fame, said:

Eddy grew up in and around these neighbourhoods after arriving from Guyana at the age of 12. Making Camden his playground and workplace he really is one of our own, who kicked the doors down musically, humanitarianly and politically, taking that Camden rebel ethos to the world. 

Lee went on to say;

Through his late 60s endeavours he made it possible for other artists to express themselves in a multicultural environment that didn’t exist in any way at that time. This gave rise for many others to express themselves for years to come. Kicking the ass of any social barriers that came his way. Music owes this man a huge debt.

Before welcoming Eddy to the stage, Lenny Henry paid his respects, saying;

“Eddy is the king. He represents everything. He represents rock, he represents hip hop, he represents reggae… He could have relaxed by now, bought a house in Ibiza- but no, he has done so much more. Mandela Day, the end of the GLC… the man is an icon.”

He added;

Eddy has always performed in his leather outfit. I love that outfit. He is actually wearing it today under his other clothes. He is an amazing man, and I love him very very much.” 

Robert Plant followed on, alongside his family on a video message, starting with “Eddy, old bean… in 1966 we made our records and put them out on the same day, and now all these years later, here we are. Wishing you congratulations, my friend, into the Camden pantheon.

Eddy Grant thanked MWOF for the stone, saying that; “It’s a beautiful thing for a guy who never expected it. When I told my dad that I wanted to be a musician, he told me that England doesn’t have a place for a guy like me. But I told him that I would make one.”

He added; “I want to create one thing, the human race, and make sure that it lasts. We all have problems. Sometimes you don’t like your brother, your mother, your father, your sister. But it’s not race. We have made a problem out of something that is so beautiful.”  

Eddy Grant was one of the earliest artists to popularise reggae and Caribbean music in the UK and worldwide. His band, The Equals, one of the UK’s first diverse pop groups, achieved success in the late 1960s with hits like "Baby, Come Back," which had a reggae-infused sound, released originally in 1966 and reissued within the UK in 1968, the track peaked at number one on the UK Singles Charts for 9 consecutive weeks and stayed in the top 75 for 18 weeks.

Blending a variety of genres including pop, British rock, soul, funk, reggae and electronic music, Eddy Grant gave these genres a new life introducing them to a worldwide audience. Penned as a musical visionary, Grant also pioneered the genre of ‘Ringbang,’ known as a ‘Caribbean fusion of music genres.’ 

Alongside his global reach, Grant used his music to address a multitude of social and political issues. "Gimme Hope Jo'anna" was a powerful anthem protesting apartheid in South Africa, while "Living on the Frontline" and "War Party" tackled themes of social injustice and war.

Eddy Grant's music and success have had a significant impact on Caribbean and black culture, both in the UK and globally. He served as an inspiration for other Caribbean artists and musicians and helped bring Caribbean music to a broader audience.

The Music Walk of Fame unveilings continue tomorrow with Buzzcocks and The Kinks, finishing on Saturday with Billy Bragg, Shalamar and the first ever Camden Music Festival. 

Music Walk Of Fame Schedule:

Friday 8th September - Punk band Buzzcocks are awarded their stone for their extraordinary career and influence. And a stalwart of British musical and public life. The Kinks are also to be honoured during their 60th anniversary year, an integral British rock band formed in the 1960s, known for their influential hits like "You Really Got Me" and "Lola," with Ray Davies as the frontman and primary songwriter.

Saturday 9th September - Stalwart of British musical and public life, Billy Bragg will receive his own award for his 40 year career as a singer songwriter and activist. As a founder of Red Wedge, a collective of musicians, he galvanised the UK youth with the policies of the Labour Party, as a voice against the Conservative Leader, Maggie Thatcher.

US R&B legends, Shalamar complete the line up. Their dance hits soundtrack generations - ‘Take That to the Bank’, ‘Make That Move’,  ‘The Second Time Around’, ‘I Can Make You Feel Good’ to name just a few - and they also brought moonwalking and body popping to the UK via a famous Top Of The Pops appearance.

The aim is for the Music Walk of Fame stones to become the highest accolade in music worldwide.

Instagram @musicwalkoffame

Twitter @musicwalkoffame 

Facebook: The Music Walk of Fame 

Facebook: The Camden Music Festival 


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