Grace Jones: Camera, Disco, Studio at The Nottingham Contemporary was an enjoyable post to write and the feedback referred to her great music.
Nightclubbing was my entry point and it was great to listen to it again. It is a great album containing some of Jones’s own work and a number of great covers. There is Nightclubbing, the title track by David Bowie and Iggy Pop; Demolition Man, which Sting wrote for Grace Jones before the Police used it, and a particular favourite, Walking in the Rain, by Harry Vanda and George Young. The album has some great session musicians and contains exhilarating drum programming. My favourite track, however, comes at the end and is in a slightly different tempo than the rest. I’ve done it again is a sumptuous Bossa Nova Jazz number from the pen of Marianne Faithfull. A real delight.
The Jean-Paul Goude album cover. This is of course not a music blog and it is the artwork which I want to feature. From an original painting by Jones sometime boyfriend, Jean-Paul Goude, the cover became an icon of 80s club music. The work is a painted photograph from 1981, Blue-Black on Black in Brown. The pose and man’s Armani coat emphasises the sexual ambiguity, giving an almost androgynous appearance.
The cover gained many plaudits ranging from NME’s top 20 album covers of ‘actual works of art’ to American Photo’s top 30 albums of all time, and Simon Russell, writing for DIY, claiming the album cover as one of the greatest of all time, highlighting Jones’ “smouldering noir-bisexuality”. Time Out described Grace Jones as a “Work of Art: a statue” while adding that it considered it the “sexiest album cover of all time”. Praise indeed.
Nightclubbing‘s distinctive amalgamation of rock, funk, post-punk, pop and reggae reveals Jones as one of the most distinctive musical acts of the 1980s. Her collaborative style could be considered one of the early convergences of “fashion, art, and music”, which the Nottingham exhibition displayed.