Introduction to Earl Grant


Earl Grant (born in 1931 in Idabel, Oklahoma – died in Lordsburg, New Mexico in 1970) was an American 1950s music-era multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, although he was primarily known as a pianist/organist. Music had been his calling; he was trained at various music schools, and became a teacher on that particular area. During his years in the US Army, he had also played at various clubs to supplement his income. Grant was signed to Decca in 1957; his debut single “The End” became his only pop hit, reaching the Top 10 there the following year. One of his earliest albums The Ebb Tide, became also a Top Ten hit on the album chart in 1961. Decca, his only label throughout his short life and career, had released other 29 Earl Grant albums, including the posthumously-released self-titled final album (the tracks there had already been recorded before his untimely death). His other notable tracks were “Evening Rain,” “House of Bamboo,” “Swingin’ Gently,” “Sweet Sixteen Bars” (a Top 10 R&B hit) and “Stand by Me,” all of which were well-received. Grant had also worked in films, appearing notably in Tender Is the Night and on The Ed Sullivan Show. Only 39 years old, he was instantly killed by a car accident in New Mexico, June 1970.

Early Years

Born on January 20, 1931 in Idabel, California, Earl Grant was an American pianist, organist, and vocalist who enjoyed his peak of success during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Aside from being proficient in keyboards, he also had the ability to play trumpet and drums. After attending music schools, he became a music teacher. Due to Grant’s army service, he was later stationed in Fort Bliss, where he was also performing in clubs to earn a living.

Recording Career

In 1957, Grant had a recording deal with Decca where he released his debut single “The End.” It became a national hit, peaking at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. His first album Ebb Tide was later issued in 1961 and also made at #7 on the Billboard 200. Later that year, the single “Ebb Tide” was released and became a best-seller. It sold over one million copies and earned a gold disc status. The following years, Grant issued five singles on Decca which entered the charts: “Evening Rain” (#63, Ebb Tide, 1959), “House of Bamboo” (#88, 1960), “Swingin Gently” (#44, Beyond the Reef, 1962), “Sweet Sixteen Bars” (#55, Earl Grant at Basin Street East, 1962), and “Stand by Me” (#75, 1965). Throughout his music career, Grant recorded thirty albums for Decca.

Aside from recording music, Grant also had been engaged in film and television which included the appearances from Tender is the Night (1962), Juke Box Rhythm (1959), and The Ed Sullivan Show (1961).

On June 10, 1970 in Lordsburg, New Mexico, Grant was instantly killed in a car accident while driving from Los Angeles to Juarez, Mexico. Along with him was his 17-year old cousin who died in a mishap.