Monday, February 13, 2012

Eddy Grant: Electric Avenue

While today’s song was written about the 1981 Brixton riots in London and Electric Avenue in Brixton, it reminds me of East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In that suburb of Pittsburgh, Electric Avenue is perpendicular to and entered the sight of Westinghouse Electric. It was in this facility that the first licensed commercial broadcast in the US occurred with KDKA reporting the results of the 1920 Harding/Cox presidential election.

Westinghouse Electric was located within the shadow of the Westinghouse Bridge which connected my hometown of North Versailles to East Pittsburgh to the west. While the buildings are still there, Westinghouse Electric is no longer the occupant. My father worked for the sister company Westinghouse Airbrake in nearby Wilmerding.

With a number of Westinghouse corporations present in the community, this area was called the Westinghouse Valley. Even my Explorer Post 283 in Wilmerding wore a Westinghouse Electric logo on our right uniform sleeve to signify the district of the East Boroughs Council to which we belonged.

OK, back to the song. Eddy Grant was born in Guyana and moved to London as a child with his family. As an adult, he moved to Barbados – a country which has one of the neatest flags – sorry, I am into vexillology.  A number of years ago, I won a bet in Las Vegas (non financial) by being able to name a number of flags that were used for decorations at a conference a group of us from work were attending. I know it’s strange, but it’s me.

“Electric Avenue” was a #2 charting hit in 1982 in both the US and the UK. The song also peaked at #6 on the dance chart and #18 on the R&B chart. It was his highest charting song in the US and was only one of two songs that made it to the Top 40 – the other being the theme from “Romancing the Stone.”

12 Inch Dance Mix

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