Electric Avenue

Album: Killer on the Rampage (1982)
Charted: 2 2

Songfacts®:

  • Most American listeners didn't read much into the lyrics, but Grant claims this is a serious song. It refers to a real place in London, and tells the story of a poor man who beholds the things in life he could never achieve.
  • Electric Avenue is a shopping area in the Brixton section of London, named because is was the first street in the area to get electric lights. Brixton was the setting for riots between police and protesters in 1981, which Grant refers to in the opening line, "Down in the street there is violence."
  • This is one of the highest-charting reggae-influenced pop songs ever. Grant, a native of Guyana, had many pop and ska groups in England and Barbados. His first band, The Equals, had three Top 10 hits in England in the 1960s. They were the first multiracial band to find success in the UK.
  • Some interesting chart timing on this song: It made #2 in the UK in January 1983, but didn't reach that position in the US until July. The difference was MTV, which popularized the song when they put the video into rotation not long after Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" made the network much more accepting of black artists.
  • Many artists, including the Rolling Stones, recorded at Grant's studio in Barbados. A keen businessman, he tried to buy the rights to Bob Marley's songs in 1991, but he was outbid.
  • This was the biggest hit Grant ever had, but he still made showings in the Top 40 internationally with several British singles and "Romancing the Stone" in the US (#26, 1984).
  • Grant filed a copyright lawsuit against the Trump campaign in 2020 after the song appeared in one of President Trump's campaign videos. In the animated ad, the tune plays as a high-speed train bearing the "Trump-Pence" logo zips past rival Joe Biden, who is creeping along in an old-fashioned car. Said Grant's attorney: "Eddy stands for peace and justice and this ad is not consistent with the ideals Eddy has stood for and sung about for years."

Comments: 24

  • Oldschool from SocalFrom the article in RS Mag interview Eddie Grant says “the song is about highlighting the memory of those in the area barely making it vs the uptown taking it easy”. It includes “an objection to violence but peaceful” demonstrations. Based upon a riot that happened on the corner “Electric Ave.”. “Electric Ave was the line between” the lower income and upper and by “turning in either direction led to yes, cul de sacs / dead ends. So you must “go higher” in order to achieve success, $, finer living etc.
  • Pc from UkThe song relates to the Brixton riots where electric avenue resides in South a East London.
  • Johhny from Australiai always thought that ed grant refferrs about some neon/bars in jamaica,as electric avenue,and take it higher,reffers as"electric,high on coke.the fun part is that he screams that "boooooom" typicaly from some cokehead is melting by the effects...a crazy nightlife song
  • Palomarjack from TehachapiThere is no "abhor ya'" in the lyrics no matter how much you want there to be. First, there is no other hateful passages, only ones alluding to hate. Second, how is abhoring the audience related to "Working so hard like a soldier"? Where as, "Deep in my heart I'm a warrior", refering back to the above line makes vastly more sense, regardless how "cool" you might think it is to express abhorance/hate.
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaThere's a sign on Electric Avenue (somewhere) that says, "No Outlet" (Maybe that's a UK warning of it being a cul-de-sac?
  • Geez from LaNo way, Bart. Jeff is right with "Deep in my heart, I abhor ya." (Deep in my heart I abhor ya-Can't get food for the kid-Good God) So clear at 54 seconds. Listen to the meaning of the song. A warrior who can't get food for his kid? haha
  • Bart from New Milford, NjTo Paulo in Yonkers: Neither lyric is correct. It's "Deep in my heart I am warrior". Go to 54 seconds in and listen again.
  • Paulo from Yonkers, Ny"Deep in my heart, I'm a warrior" or "Deep in my heart, I abhor ya." What's the consensus? Sounds DISTINCTLY like the latter to me (and also a much cooler lyric).
  • Adrian from Houston, United Kingdom'Electric Avenue' is also featured in the movie "Pineapple Express"
  • L from Mtl, QcJeff, it was probably by "Raggadeath". Came out in 1994-ish.
  • Brian from Eugene, OrWhenever I hear this song it always brings to mind the home electronics section at Montgomery Ward's which they called "Electric Avenue"...it seems like MW might have used this song in their advertisements back in the day.
  • David from Birmingham, Englandthe song is about th road that eddie grew up on is aston an incer city place in birmingham England
  • David from Birmingham, Englandthis song is about a place in aston birmingham England
  • David from Birmingham, Englandthis song was about a place in Aston in Birmingham england
  • Flo from Toulouse, FranceEddy Grant is NOT a one-hit-wonder !!!

    I think Pras/Kymani Marley version is far better. One of my all-time favourites.
  • Jenny from Arcata, CaThere's a version of Electric Avenue by Ziggy and Pras that maybe the version your talking about Jeff
  • Jeff (who Else?) from Boston, MaCame across a rap version of Electric Avenue in mp3 format. It had the original sampled with rap lyrics over it. Sounded great but never knew who recorded it. I'd like to buy the complete version. Anyone have a clue who did it?
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InThis song was one of the best back in it's day. I looked forward to hearing this on the radio along with Survivors's Eye of the Tiger. I was 13 and coming into my teen years so it holds alot of sentimental value along with being a great tune.
  • Victor from Vienna, Vawyclef jean did a great cover of this song
  • Dana from Albany, NyElectric Avenue was an OK song, but the Eddy Grant song that really did it for me was "Living on the Front Line". I was lucky enough to see Eddy Grant perform at the student union at SUNY Albany. Eddy and his band had all those white kids from Long Island on their feet and seriously boogying! My wife and I went and brought her 10 year old son and another friend of his. At one point they said they wanted to get closer and disappeared into the crowd. A little later we saw that a couple of college boys in the front had hoisted them onto their shoulders, at eye level and just a few feet from Eddy Grant. He was gratious enough to sing directly to them. They were so excited they could hardly stand it. It was one of the best shows I've ever seen.
  • Alex from New Orleans, LaIt was once thought to be about smoking marijuana for the lyrics "And then we'll take it higher"
  • Travis from Lawrence, KsThe song is about the struggle for racial equality in England. The Electric Avenue Tony (and Eddy Grant) refers to was the site of many civil rights marches. The line "now in the streets there is violence, and lots of work to be done" highlights this point.
  • The Jyd from Albany, NyI used to live on Electric Avenue in upstate NY. it was not an exciting place to be...
  • Tony from London, United StatesElectric Avenue is a well-known street in Brixton, the area of South London with the highest concentration of West Indian immigrants and their descendants (especially Jamaicans)
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