The more creative input Jones had in her 10 studio albums, the better the songs, mixing genres including disco, reggae, electro, dub and pop. Here are 10 of them. A resident in Paris at the time, Jones had picked up French in three months and was able to deliver the linguistic nuances of the song when she recorded it in New York with Philly disco legend Tom Moulton.
The story behind La Vie En Rose is fascinating. Moulton had actually recorded it with another singer — Teresa Waiter — with the intention of producing a disco hit with no drums, but to his dismay she refused to let him release it. Moulton was all ready to bury the record, when somehow a single copy ended up at Sunshine Sound in New York. Acetates then found their way on to the local disco circuit, and the song became a dancefloor hit.
The producer said he was shocked and angered to discover the style of the rendition Jones was interested in recording was in fact his very own version.
Jones recorded it the next day over the exact same instrumental, and even the style of the vocal lines are often very similar. I certainly believed that I was [in tune]. As Moulton got to know Jones better, the pair attempted to find songs that matched her character more for her second album, Fame.
Grace Jones hit me! I gotta keep this mic! Despite the quality of Muse, her final album with Moulton, it bombed — disco had oversaturated the pop market. It was as much an assault on the corniness and narrow-mindedness of rock as punk. Where it ended up was the fault of the white, straight music business, which drained it of all its blackness and gayness, its rawness and volatility, its original contagious, transgressive abandon. Having moved away from Jamaica as a teenager to live in Syracuse, then moving to New York and then Paris, she found returning to her roots was what she needed to truly discover the music she wanted to make.
By , Jones had got everything right. She worked collaboratively with her partner — the graphic designer and photographer Jean-Paul Goude — to create beautifully artful images that projected power and androgyny, like on the famous crepuscular cover of Nightclubbing , where she poses with cigarette hanging out of mouth all of the artwork throughout the rest of her Island years with Goude is mesmeric. If the flattop hair and masculine power dressing looked amazing, then so too was the music; Nightclubbing, her second album with Sly and Robbie and producers Chris Blackwell and Alex Sadkin, is a masterpiece, and the jewel in the crown might just be Walking in the Rain, a cover of an obscure track by Flash and the Pan.
Pull up to the Bumper started life as an instrumental B-side to Walking in the Rain, and was held over from Warm Leatherette because the hard Latin disco rhythms and unstoppable funk groove felt so incongruous.
It only really became a hit in the UK on its second release, in support of the contract-fulfilling compilation Island Life in , and on closer inspection, eyebrows were raised at some of the lyrical content, which could be interpreted as a large metaphor for anal sex. If you think the song is not about parking a car, shame on you. Strong and sexy the track might be, but the lyrics are hilarious.
Better known as Slave to the Rhythm the radio version that everyone recognises , Ladies and Gentleman was one of a number of tracks produced by Trevor Horn for one of the most peculiar releases in musical history. Slave to the Rhythm was pitched as a musical biography, featuring various interviews and a number of versions of that song remixed, some recognisable, others obscured. As a parting gift to her former employers, the record was released collaboratively between Island and Capitol as the only LP ever put out on the label Manhattan Island.
Arriving months late and with a bill running into millions, the song itself was a hit, even if it was too modest a hit to recoup the enormous outlay. If the quality of the album sleeve in any way correlates with the quality of the music inside, then the cover of Inside Story says all you need to know.
The choice of Nile Rodgers as producer was not an unmitigated disaster, but the record sounds more like a collection of studio tricks with Jones tacked on with samples than it does an album with any substance. Grace became almost completely disenfranchised by the music business after her lacklustre Bulletproof Heart album in , releasing the odd single for film soundtracks, but showing little interest in making another album.
If the music press had worked itself into a lather about the decade it took Axl Rose to finally release Chinese Democracy, then there was no such fanfare for Jones, despite an absence of almost two decades. What the critics were unanimous about though was the quality of Hurricane.
Perhaps best of all is Williams Blood, an autobiographical track that taps back into some of her more difficult experiences in Jamaica as a child. The verses are musically foreboding, while the choruses, with their ebullient gospel choirs splaying shards of iridescent light onto proceedings, make for an emotional juxtaposition that sways back and forth several times.
Grace Jones — 10 of the best. So, I decided to take up welding … Grace Jones can do anything. Jeremy Allen. Wed 13 Jan Do or Die As Moulton got to know Jones better, the pair attempted to find songs that matched her character more for her second album, Fame.
Private Life Despite the quality of Muse, her final album with Moulton, it bombed — disco had oversaturated the pop market.