Thanks to the king of southwest Georgia and This Is American Music queso grande, Corey Flegel, for inspiring today’s post. We were chatting a few days ago about the new Glossary album, Long Live All Of Us, and he made reference to The Equals, of whom I was sadly ignorant. I soon discovered they were a ’60s/’70s English band led by Eddy Grant, later of “Electric Avenue” fame. In fact, when Eddy formed the band in 1965, they were the first multi-racial rock ‘n’ roll band in England, predating both The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Foundations by about a year. How did I not know any of this?!?! My ignorance astounds me sometimes.
The Equals had a UK #1 with “Baby, Come Back,” best seen in this 1968 video featuring Eddy as a black proto-Ziggy, I shit you not. However, for anyone around my age (42) they’re probably best known for originally recording “Police On My Back,” twelve years before The Clash covered it on Sandinista! Not surprisingly, the one Equals song to jump out and smack me upside the head is clearly in the spirit of “Police.”
The Equals – Diversion
Released in 1973, “Diversion” sounds like it’s part Muscle Shoals, part Bowie (again), and yet seems to hint at the coming punk explosion. It also sounds exactly what I love about the Reigning Sound. As a matter of fact, I’d be shocked (and stunned) if Greg Cartwright wasn’t a huge fan of this song. Oh, who am I kidding? He probably owns three different import versions of the 45.
“I had a slight diversion, but I’m back, I’m back, I’m back!”