Monday, April 21, 2008

All Grace All Class

A few months ago I undertook an exercise in apparent futility. I wondered if I could come up with a definitive list of my 100 alltime favourite songs. Well after much deliberation I eventually came up with a list. No doubt some of the content and most of the order would change depending on my mood and with the passage of time.
But one song stood out and was clearly my number one favourite song of alltime. Grace Jones' 'Slave To The Rhythm' from her 1985 album 'Island Life'. My main criteria for selecting my favourite songs was to consider firstly how much impact the song made when first I heard it, but more importantly its longevity, that is did I still love the song as much today as I did then.

Given that I purchased not only the album 'Island Life' on CD, but also a full album of various remixes of the song 'Slave To The Rhythm', as well as a CD maxi-single of eight more remixes, it was a logically choice that this Grace Jones classic would be top of the heap. In essence I am a slave to the rhythm of this song. When combined with the unique vocals of Ms Jones, its a tune I can listen to at any time, and its appeal is uniformly high to me.

Born in Jamaica, Grace Jones was a tertiary educated former fashion model who made a huge impact on the ultra hip New York nightclub scene in the late 70s. Initially she released three failed 'disco style' albums. Jones then branched out into a more experimental, almost avant garde music style that seemed to prove the hook to snag the mainstream popularity she so richly deserved. The peak of her creative endeavours (so far as her recording years goes) arrived with 1985's 'Island Life'. 'Slave To The Rhythm' was the stand out track, to the extent that at the same time and entire album of remixes was rereleased. Both were produced by the multi-talentd Trevor Horn. 'Slave To The Rhythm' peaked at #12 in the U.K. and #20 in Australia, and #1 on my personal chart.

Accompanying the song was an ingenious promotional clip, incorporating elements of Grace Jones' career(s) to date, meshed with surreal imagery and subtle (and not so subtle) political and social commentary. In short it was bloody brilliant!!

Grace Jones would continue to record well into the 90s, and also appeared in a number of films, most notably as the femme fatale in the 1986 James Bond adventure 'A View To A Kill'. (She features in cameo role in Duran Duran's title track video to the film).

Enjoy the sublimely cool video clip to this song via the following link:

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