Now in the street there is violence And - and a lots of work to be done No place to hang out our washing. And - and i can't blame all on the sun Oh no no Oh no we gonna rock down to electric avenue And then we'll take it higher. Oh we gonna rock it down to electric avenue And then we'll take it higher Workin' so hard like a soldier Can't afford a thing on tv.
Eddy Grant, singer-songwriter
Frank Agarrat, sound engineer
DJs used to smash our records live on air, but we somehow made a connection with young people. Baby Come Back went to No 1, and we bought Aston Martins to show other young people that anything was possible. I woke up in hospital. I was 23 and had had a heart attack because of a genetic condition. I was so overwhelmed I left the band. I had to write a whole new set of material.
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Electric Avenue is a street in Brixton , London. Built in the s, it was the first market street to be lit by electric lights. Today, the street contains several butchers and fish mongers and hosts a part of Brixton Market , which specializes in selling a mix of African, Caribbean, South American and Asian products. It is located just around the corner from Brixton Underground station
In the United States, with the help of the MTV video he shot for it, it was one of the biggest hits of The song's title refers to Electric Avenue in the south London district of Brixton which was the first market street to be lit by electricity. According to Grant, he first became aware of the street's existence during a stint acting at the Black Theatre of Brixton. At the beginning of the s, as identified by the Scarman Report , tensions over unemployment, racism and poverty exacerbated by racist policing culminated in the street events now known as the Brixton riot. Grant, horrified and enraged, wrote and composed the song in response; a year afterwards, the song was playing over the airwaves. Grant had left the UK shortly after the riots to live in Barbados: his most recent batch of songs had been lost in baggage transit, and "Electric Avenue" was one of the songs he wrote immediately afterwards to make up for the lost material. Filmed in Barbados,  the song's music video helped it to gain popularity in the United States. In the early years of MTV , the network ran music videos almost exclusively by white artists and was criticized by famous musicians, such as David Bowie , for not having black artists on the network.