Earl Grant (January 20, 1931 – June 10, 1970) was an American pianist, organist, and vocalist popular in the 1950s and 1960s.

Grant in 1967

Career

Grant was born in Idabel, Oklahoma. Though he would be known later for his keyboards and vocals, Grant also played trumpet and drums. Grant attended four music schools, eventually becoming a music teacher. He augmented his income by performing in clubs during his army service, throughout which he was stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas.[1][2]

Grant signed with Decca Records in 1957 and his first single "The End" reached number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts on October 13, 1958. The album Ebb Tide (And Other Instrumental Favorites) sold over one million copies, gaining gold disc status.[1] He recorded six more singles that made the charts, including "Swingin' Gently" (from Beyond the Reef), and six additional albums (on the Decca label) through 1968. He also recorded the album Yes Sirree! and the instrumental album Trade Winds, single-tracked on the Hammond organ and piano, featuring the love theme from the film El Cid and Chaplin's "Eternally". This album featured some realistic-sounding "tropical bird calls" produced by his electric organ. "House of Bamboo" was another big-selling single. Grant recorded 30 albums for Decca, mostly on the Brunswick label, a subsidiary of Decca.[2]

Several of his albums featured tenor saxophonist Plas Johnson.[3]

Grant also made a few appearances in films and on television, including Tender Is the Night (1962),[4] Juke Box Rhythm (1959),[5] It Takes a Thief (1969)[6] and The Ed Sullivan Show (1960).[7]

Grant sang the title theme for the 1959 film Imitation of Life.

He died instantly in a car accident in Lordsburg, New Mexico, at the age of 39[1] when the car he was driving ran off Interstate 10.[2] He was driving from Los Angeles to an intended destination in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, for an appearance at the La Fiesta nightclub. His 17-year-old cousin, Roosevelt Woods III, was also killed in the accident.[8]

Discography

  • The Versatile Earl Grant (Decca DL-8672, 1958)
  • The End (Decca DL-8830, 1958)
  • Midnight Earl (Decca DL-9201, 1958)
  • Grant Takes Rhythm (Decca DL-8905, 1959)
  • Nothin' But The Blues (Decca DL-8916, 1959)
  • Paris Is My Beat (Decca DL-8935, 1959)
  • The Magic of Earl Grant (Decca DL-74044, 1960)
  • Ebb Tide (And Other Instrumental Favorites) (Decca DL-74165, 1961)
  • Earl After Dark (Decca DL-74188, 1961)
  • Beyond The Reef (And Other Instrumental Favorites) (Decca DL-74231, 1962)
  • At Basin Street East (Decca DL-74299, 1962)
  • Midnight Sun (Decca DL-74338, 1962)
  • Yes Sirree! (Decca DL-74405, 1963)
  • Fly Me To The Moon (Decca DL-74454, 1963)
  • Just For A Thrill (Decca DL-74506, 1964)
  • Just One More Time (And Other Instrumental Favorites) (Decca DL-74576, 1964)
  • Trade Winds (Decca DL-74623, 1965)
  • Spotlight on Earl Grant (Decca DL-74624, 1965)
  • Winter Wonderland (Decca DL-74677, 1965)
  • Sings and Plays Songs Made Famous By Nat Cole (Decca DL-74729, 1966)
  • Stand By Me (Decca DL-74738, 1966)
  • Bali Ha'i (Decca DL-74806, 1966)
  • A Closer Walk With Thee (Decca DL-74811, 1966)
  • Earl Grant's Greatest Hits (Decca DL-74813, 1967)
  • Gently Swingin' (Decca DL-74937, 1968)
  • Spanish Eyes (Decca DL-74974, 1968)
  • In Motion! (Decca DL-75052, 1968)
  • This Magic Moment (Decca DL-75108, 1969)
  • A Time For Us (Decca DL-75158, 1969)
  • Earl Grant (Decca DL-75223, 1970)
  • The Best Of Earl Grant Singin' And Swingin' (CD) (MCA 008811183820, 1998)

Charted albums

Year Title Chart positions
US
1961 Ebb Tide (And Other Instrumental Favorites) 7
1962 At Basin Street East 92
Beyond The Reef (And Other Instrumental Favorites) 17
1964 Just for a Thrill 149
Fly Me to the Moon 139
1965 Trade Winds 192
1968 Gently Swingin' 168
1969 Winter Wonderland 14

Charted singles

Year Title Chart positions Release date
US US R&B
1958 "The End" 7 16 August 1958
1959 "Evening Rain" 63 January 1959
1960 "House of Bamboo" 88 January 1960
1962 "Swingin' Gently" 44 March 1962
"Sweet Sixteen Bars" 55 9 August 1962
1965 "Stand by Me" 75 July 1965
1966 "Silver Bells" [a] December 1969

Notes

  1. ^ "Silver Bells" did not chart on the Hot 100 but charted on Billboard's Christmas Singles chart for 6 non-consecutive years: 1966 (#15), 1967 (#4), 1968 (#8), 1969 (#3), 1970 (#4), 1972 (#8).[9][10][11][12]

References

  1. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 135. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  2. ^ a b c "Earl Grant Killed in Auto Crash". The News and Courier. June 11, 1970. p. 13A. Archived from the original on May 5, 2020. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Earl Grant Winter Wonderland LP liner notes. MCA-15001, 1965
  4. ^ The New York Times, June 11, 1970 – Earl Grant, a Popular Organist And Record Star, Dies in Crash
  5. ^ Library of Congress – JUKE BOX RHYTHM
  6. ^ TV.comIt Takes A Thief Season 2 Episode 19 Archived January 17, 2021, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ TV.comThe Ed Sullivan Show Season 12 Episode 45 Archived January 24, 2020, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Auto Accident Kills Earl, Grant, Organist-Singer". Meriden Journal. Meridan-Southington, Connecticut. June 11, 1970. p. 10. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
  9. ^ "Christmas Records." Billboard, vol. 75-76, no. 48-52 & 49-52, November 30, 1963-December 26, 1964, pp. 11, 8, 8, 7, 25, 22, 22, 34 & 36.
  10. ^ "Billboard Top Christmas Sellers." Billboard, vol. 77, no. 50-52, December 11, 1965-December 25, 1965, pp. 7, 15 & 12.
  11. ^ "Billboard Best Bets For Christmas." Billboard, vol. 78-81, no. 49-52, 48-52, 49-52 & 49-52, December 3, 1966-December 27, 1969, pp. 56, 40, 36, 33, 8, 92, 61, 50, 40, 82, 84, 69, 57, 11, 10, 12, & 10.
  12. ^ "Best Bets For Christmas." Billboard, vol. 82-85, no. 51-52, 51-52, 51-53 & 49-51, December 19, 1970-December 22, 1973, pp. 12, 59, 49, 49, 40, 51, 4, 28, 25 & 22.

Further reading

Michel Ruppli, The Decca labels: A discography (Greenwood Press, 1996)

Earl Grant (January 20, 1931 – June 10, 1970) was an American pianist, organist, and vocalist popular in the 1950s and 1960s.

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