510. ‘I Don’t Wanna Dance’, by Eddy Grant

The final part of our autumn of reggae comes from Eddy Grant. It’s a cute, catchy tune. But, alas, Eddy does not want to dance to it…

I Don’t Wanna Dance, by Eddy Grant (his 1st and only solo #1)

3 weeks, 7th – 28th November 1982

This record has a likeable homemade feel to it. So homemade, in fact, that I had to double-check that I wasn’t listening to a cheap, karaoke version instead of the original. Once upon a time, not so long ago, the sound of synths in a chart-topper was genuinely exciting. Now they more often tend towards cheap and tacky.

‘I Don’t Wanna Dance’ is a break-up song. But it is such a perky break-up song that you don’t really notice. Eddy is tired of his girl’s flirty ways, and has had enough. I don’t wanna dance, Dance with you baby no more… He’ll remain a gentleman, though. I’ll never do something to hurt you, Though the feeling is bad…

My favourite bit is the unexpectedly scuzzy guitar solo. It’s a really raw moment in what is a pretty safe, reggae-pop number. And in the video he cuts a very Slash-esque figure, plucking it out on a floating raft. Don’t wanna dance, Don’t wanna dance… he chants for the fade-out. It’s an undemanding number, a bit slow and repetitive, but enjoyable enough.

Of the three reggae hits in a row, I’d rate the first one – ‘Pass the Dutchie’ – as my favourite, and this second. ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’ was by far the most culturally significant, and best remembered, but it just didn’t grab me. Though I may be getting ahead of myself – I should save all this retrospection for the upcoming recap.

I did wonder if this was the follow-up to ‘Electric Avenue’ – the Eddy Grant solo hit that pretty much everybody knows – and perhaps rode the wave of that record’s success to top spot. But no, ‘Electric Avenue’ was actually this disc’s follow-up, making #2 in early 1983. And we mustn’t forget that Grant has been at #1 once before. Well over fourteen years earlier, in 1968, he and his band The Equals topped the charts with ‘Baby Come Back’, one of the very, very first #1s with a hint of reggae.

You could link this hit – and the gap between group and solo #1s – to Smokey Robinson, who also waited over a decade before his very own chart-topper away from his group. Eddy Grant continues to record and perform, and released his most recent album in 2017. It was titled ‘Plaisance’, after his hometown, in Guyana. Which is nice. Up next, that recap.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “510. ‘I Don’t Wanna Dance’, by Eddy Grant

  1. This was far and away my favourite of the reggae trio. Eddy Grant was always a master of the strong hook in a song, and he always seemed to have a foot in three camps – reggae, pop, and (almost hard) rock. I’m old enough to remember the Equals’ brief chart career, and even if the lyrics were a bit trite or bubblegum (‘Michael and the Slipper Tree’, or ‘Laurel and Hardy’, anyone?), they usually had such a good sound and infectious hook that you could forgive him.

  2. I loved The Equals, though Viva Bobby Joe was the one i was mad on. I love Eddy Grant but this was a bit pedestrian in comparison to his previous solo hits, Livin On The Front Line especially, and the Rockers Revenge cover of his Walking On Sunshine, both of them wipe the floor with this one, though its pleasant enough. Eddys song is still the best song called Walking On Sunshine but it got overhauled by that Katrina and the Waves upbeat gem in collective memory despite both being big hits.

  3. I never heard this before…but I like it. I like this better than Electric Avenue. I also like Baby Come Back.

  4. Pingback: Recap: #481 – #510 | The UK Number Ones Blog

  5. Pingback: 526. ‘Red Red Wine’, by UB40 | The UK Number Ones Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s