Introduction to The Equals
Deriving their name from the fact that the group was racially integrated, The Equals’ sound was, as expected, diverse as the band members themselves. One of the few “mixed” groups during that era, they played in many styles such as pop, rock, reggae, and R&B. The group, formed during the mid-60s music era, was led by vocalist Eddy Grant who was born in British Guyana and moved to London, England, with his family when he was 12. He and his family settled on a Hornsey Rise council estate, where the Equals were formed and began playing together. The group also included twin brothers Dervin and Lincoln Gordon and Pat Lloyd and John Hall. The Equals released a single containing “Hold Me Closer”/”Baby Come Back” in 1966. Although the A-side didn’t perform well in the charts, “Baby Come Back” (which is the record’s flip side) did much better when the single was re-issued over a year after. It went to #1 on the UK singles chart in 1968, and by 1969 the record hit gold status. It also entered the US Top 40 at #32 in 1968. In 1971, Grant left to pursue a solo career, and since his departure the Equals never charted again although they continued to enjoy as a live act.
The formation and early years of The Equals
The British pop/rock/r&b group The Equals were best remembered with their smash hit “Baby Come Back” in 1968. Founded by Eddy Grant (born Edmond Montague Grant on March 5, 1948), the band was formed in North London, England in 1965. Grant was a Guyanese British who was then wearing a dyed blonde hair by the time the group was established. The other members were John Hall, Pat Lloyd and the Gordon twin brothers Derv and Lincoln. As a newly-formed band, one of their early stints was performing on a Hornsey Rise council estate in 1965.
The Equals releasing their singles
The Equals’ first record was released in 1966 and distributed by President UK imprint. The 45 consisted of “Hold Me Closer” b/w “Baby, Come Back.” The record was a chart-topper in Germany and in the Netherlands but it did not sell well in the UK. However, they re-issued the song and it finally reached the #1 spot in the UK Single chart. The successful B-side made to US pop chart as well, peaking at #32. The group continued a large a number of records for President until in the mid-1970’s, but none of these made any commercial impact that would make “Baby Come Back” as their lone hit.
From 1968 to 1970, The Equals continued to release lesser UK hits such as “Laurel and Hardy” (#35, 1968), “Michael and The Slipper Tree” (#24, 1969), “Viva Bobby” (#6, 1969) and “Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys” (#9, 1970). Apparently, the group was caught in a motorcycle accident in September 1969 in Germany.
Life after The Equals
In early 1971, Grant had to return to his home in Guyana and leave The Equals for he was suffering from lung and heart infection. After the treatment, he continued his career as a successful solo artist. Grant had Top 40 hits during in the late 1970’s and early 80’s like “Living on the Frontline,” “Romancing Avenue ,” “Electric Avenue” and “I Don’t Wanna Dance which was a UK chart-topper. .
The Equals left a legacy through the years; Their song “Police on My Back” was later recorded in 1980 by the British punk rock band The Clash, while Willie Nile issued his own version of the song for his CD Streets of New York. In 2007, the garage rock band The Detroit Cobras redid “Green Light” and included it on the album Tied and True.