In the England of the late 60’s, a period of massive immigration from the Caribbean and consequently difficult relationships with the natives, North-East London’s five-piece band The Equals was one of the first to break the boundaries of the racial segregation and to show that whites and blacks could peacefully live together.
British Guyana-born guitarist and composer Eddy Grant formed the band in 1965 with his former Tufnell Park’s schoolmates of Jamaican origin, the twin brothers Lincoln (guitar) and Derv Gordon (vocals), plus the British pair of John Hall (drums) and Pat Lloyd (bass). Their music was a beautiful and exciting mixture of Rhythm’N’Blues with British beat-pop with hints of reggae and ska.
Signed by President records, ‘Baby Come Back’, the flip side of their third 1968 single ‘Hold Me Closer’, was an instant hit in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium 18 months before England, afterwards it was all a downhill and many classics will follow.
In 1972 Eddy Grant, who later will have a worldwide solo chart success with ‘Electric Avenue’ in 1982, left the group following health problems, after that the Equals would never be the same anymore. Their last successful single couldn’t have a more appropriate title : ‘Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys’.
Their songs over the years were covered by many artists as Pato Banton and The Detroit Cobras, but the most remarkable was The Clash‘s version of ‘Police In My Back’ included it on the 1980 legendary triple album ‘Sandinista!’.
Surprisingly few days ago, premiered by the excellent Victim Of Time blog, the promo video for the group’s single from 1970 ‘I Can See But You Don’t Know’ has been re-edited and published on YouTube, for the first time in all its glory, by their ‘number one fan’, the guitarist/vocalist of the band So What and DJ Jason Duncan who is currently writing a ‘definitive’ The Equals’ book.
Check this fantastic ‘Wilson Pickett meets The Who’ rock’n’roll killer below.