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Grace Jones Biography

Grace Mendoza, 19 May 1948, Spanish Town, Jamaica, West Indies (1952 and 1954 have also been listed as her year of birth). Six feet of style, looks and attitude, Jones moved to New York City in 1964, then became a successful Paris model, appearing on the covers of Vogue, Elle and Der Stern. After a flirtation with acting, she made some unexceptional disco records that sold on the strength of her image and her explicit stage show. Both were carefully crafted by her boyfriend, French artist Jean-Paul Goude. Warm Leatherette marked a major stylistic development. Recorded at Compass Point, Nassau, it featured top Jamaican session men Sly And Robbie, new wave material and the half-spoken delivery style that became the Grace Jones trademark. Her first hit was a cover version of the Pretenders’ ‘Private Life’ which made the UK Top 20 in 1980. On Nightclubbing she turned her hand to writing, producing quality songs such as ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’. In 1984 she diversified into movies, taking on Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan The Destroyer. The following year she played alongside Roger Moore in the James Bond movie A View To A Kill. A return to the recording studios with writer/producer Trevor Horn (on his ZTT Records label) provided her with the UK number 12 hit single, ‘Slave To The Rhythm’. An album of extended versions and megamixes also sold well. In 1986 the compilation Island Life was a big UK success, with ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’ (number 12) and ‘Love Is The Drug’ (number 35) reaching the UK charts the second time around. Subsequent releases struggled to retain this commercial ascendancy, and Jones slipped from view during the 90s. Although Chris Blackwell of Island Records had faith in her as a musical artist the public always saw her as a personality. Her striking looks, outspoken nature and media coverage buried her musical aspirations and talent.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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