Grace Jones (born May 19, 1948) is a Jamaican singer, actress and model.
Jones started out as a model and became a muse to Andy Warhol. During
that era she regularly went to the New York City nightclub Studio
54. Jones secured a record deal with Island Records in 1977, which
resulted in a string of dance-club hits. In the late 1970s, she adapted
the emerging electronic music style and adopted a severe, androgynous
look with square-cut hair and angular, padded clothes. Many of her
singles were hits on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play and Hot Dance
Airplay charts, for example 1981 "Pull Up to the Bumper",
which spent seven weeks at #2 on the U.S. dance chart. Jones was
able to find mainstream success in Europe, particularly the United
Kingdom, scoring a number of Top 40 entries on the UK Singles Chart.
Her most notable albums are Warm Leatherette, Nightclubbing and Slave
to the Rhythm, while her biggest hits are "Pull Up to the Bumper",
"I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango)", "Private
Life", "Slave to the Rhythm" and "I'm Not Perfect
(But I'm Perfect for You)".
Jones is also an actress. Her acting occasionally overshadowed her
musical output in America; but not in Europe, where her profile as
a recording artist was much higher. She appeared in some low-budget
films in the 1970s and early 1980s. Her work as an actress in mainstream
film began in the 1984 fantasy-action film Conan the Destroyer alongside
Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill.
In 1986 she played a vampire in Vamp, and both acted in and contributed
a song to the 1992 film Boomerang with Eddie Murphy. In 2001, she
appeared in Wolf Girl alongside Tim Curry.
Life and career
Background and early career
Grace Jones was born in 1948 in Spanish Town, Jamaica, the daughter
of Marjorie and Robert W. Jones, who was a politician and Apostolic
clergyman. Her parents took Grace and her brothers, Chris and Noel
Jones (Bishop Noel Jones), and relocated to Syracuse, New York in
1965, where she studied theatre at Syracuse University. Before
becoming a successful model in New York City and Paris, Jones studied
theatre at Onondaga Community College. In the 1973 film Gordon's War,
Jones played the role of Mary, a Harlem drug courier.
Jones secured a record deal with Island Records in 1977, which resulted
in a string of dance-club hits and a large gay following. Her debut,
disco-oriented album Portfolio was released in 1977 to a considerable
success, and spawned hits "I Need a Man" and "La Vie
en rose". Two next albums followed, Fame in 1978 and Muse in
1979, which generated more pop melodies set to a disco beat, such
as "Do or Die" or "On Your Knees". Although popular
in club market, her first three albums failed to break the mainstream
sales charts. During that period, she also became a muse to Andy Warhol,
who photographed her extensively. Jones also accompanied him
to New York City nightclub Studio 54 on many occasions. The colourful
artwork and design for Jones' three first albums and accompanying
single releases were created by another of Warhol's longtime collaborators,
Richard Bernstein, arguably best known for his many cover illustrations
for Interview Magazine in the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1978, she
appeared with the French model and singer Amanda Lear in the controversial
six-episode Italian TV series Stryx.
Early 1980s: Compass Point Studios period
At the beginning of the 1980s, Jones adapted the emerging New Wave
music to create a different style for herself. Still with Island,
and now working with producers Chris Blackwell, Alex Sadkin and the
Compass Point All Stars, and recording at Blackwell's Compass Point
Studios in Nassau, Bahamas, she released the critically acclaimed
album Warm Leatherette in 1980. This included re-imaginings of songs
by The Pretenders ("Private Life"), Roxy Music ("Love
Is the Drug"), Tom Petty ("Breakdown"), The Normal
("Warm Leatherette") and Smokey Robinson ("The Hunter
Gets Captured by the Game"). The record met with even greater
success than her previous disco albums and the song "Private
Life" was her first to enter UK Singles Chart, and still remains
one of her highest-charting singles in that country. Parallel to her
musical shift was an equally dramatic visual makeover, created in
partnership with stylist Jean-Paul Goude. Jones adopted a severe,
androgynous look, with square-cut hair and angular, padded clothes.
The cover photographs of Warm Leatherette and Nightclubbing exemplified
this new identity.
1981 saw the release of Nightclubbing, a rapid follow-up to Warm
Leatherette. Jones chose a number of well-known hits to reinterpret,
including Iggy Pop's and David Bowie's "Nightclubbing" and
Ástor Piazzolla's "I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango)".
The latter would become one of the Jones's most recognizable tunes
and the self-penned, post-disco dance track "Pull Up to the Bumper"
spent seven weeks at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play
chart, and became a Top 5 single on the U.S. R&B chart when released
as a single in the fall of 1981. However, both Warm Leatherette
and Nightclubbing albums also included a few tracks co-written by
Jones herself, such as "A Rolling Stone" and "Feel
Up". In the UK, Nightclubbing claimed the number one slot on
music magazine New Musical Express' Album of the Year listing.
In 1981, Jones, appearing alongside noted psychotherapist Sonja Vetter,
caused a controversy by slapping chat show host Russell Harty across
the face live on air after he turned to interview other guests and
she felt she was being ignored. This topped a 2006 BBC poll
of the most-shocking British TV chat show moments.
In 1981 and 1982, Jones toured the UK, Continental Europe, Scandinavia
and the USA with her One Man Show, a performance art/pop theatre presentation
devised by Jean-Paul Goude and Jones herself, in which she performed
tracks from the albums Portfolio, Warm Leatherette and Nightclubbing
dressed in elaborate costumes and masks – in the opening sequence
as a gorilla – and alongside a series of Grace Jones lookalikes.
A video version, filmed live in London and New York City and completed
with some studio footage, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best
Long-Form Music Video next year. Her collaboration with Blackwell,
Sadkin and the Compass Point All Stars continued with the dub reggae-influenced
album Living My Life (1982), which featured the self-penned "My
Jamaican Guy", sung in patois and a cover of "The Apple
Stretching" by Melvin Van Peebles. In 1984, Jones' work as an
actress in mainstream film began, with the role of Zula, the Amazon,
in Conan the Destroyer alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and former
NBA player Wilt Chamberlain. She next landed the role of May Day in
the fourteenth James Bond movie A View to a Kill (1985).
Late 1980s and 1990s
In the mid-1980s, she worked with Trevor Horn and Bruce Woolley for
the conceptual musical collage Slave to the Rhythm, which was released
in the fall of 1985. The well-received album consisted of several
re-workings of the title track, which is arguably the most popular
song ever delivered by Grace Jones. Although never charted in the
Hot 100, the single did well on the R&B charts, dance charts,
and in the UK, peaking at number 12. Slave to the Rhythm, together
with Warm Leatherette and Nightclubbing albums, is now recognised
as one of Grace Jones' best works. In December, her first
retrospective album was released. Island Life collected most of the
singles from her 1977 debut up to recent 1985 hits. It included new
versions of "Love Is the Drug", which charted again, as
so did "Pull Up to the Bumper". Her next studio release,
the first album after leaving the Island Records label, was Inside
Story (1986), on which she worked with Nile Rodgers. It produced her
last Billboard Hot 100 hit to date, "I'm Not Perfect (But I'm
Perfect for You)", one of several songs she co-wrote with Bruce
Woolley. She appeared in the 1986 vampire film Vamp where she
played a queen vampire.
Her ninth studio album, Bulletproof Heart (1989), spawned the Number
1 U.S. Hot Dance Club Play hit "Love on Top of Love (Killer Kiss)",
produced by C+C Music Factory's David Cole and Robert Clivillés.
The second and the final single, "Amado Mio", was a cover
version of the song used in 1946 film Gilda and originally performed
by Rita Hayworth. Bulletproof Heart met with lukewarm reception. In
1992 Jones appeared in Eddie Murphy film Boomerang, for which she
also contributed the song "7 Day Weekend" to its soundtrack,
and released one more soundtrack single in 1993; "Evilmainya",
recorded for the film Freddie as F.R.O.7. She recorded two albums
during the 1990s, but they remain unreleased or unfinished thus far.
In 1994, she was due to release an electro album titled Black Marilyn
with artwork featuring the singer as Marilyn Monroe. "Sex Drive"
was released as the first single, however, due to heavy disagreements
with producers, the record was shelved. In June 1998, she was scheduled
to release an album entitled Force of Nature, on which she worked
with trip hop musician Tricky. The release of Force of Nature
was cancelled due to a disagreement between them and only a white
label 12" single featuring two dance mixes of "Hurricane
(Cradle to the Grave)" was issued; a slowed-down version
of this song became the title track of her comeback album released
ten years later. Jones cut the song "Storm" in 1998 for
the movie The Avengers. In 1999 she appeared in an episode of the
Beastmaster television series as the Umpatra Warrior.
In 2000, Jones cut "The Perfect Crime"(to the show Crime
Perfeito), an up-tempo song for Danish TV written by the composer
duo Floppy M. aka Jacob Duus & Kåre Jacobsen. Also in 2000,
Jones collaborated with rapper Lil' Kim, appearing on the song "Revolution"
from her album The Notorious K.I.M.. A year later, she appeared
alongside Tim Curry in Wolf Girl (also known as Blood Moon), as a
transvestite circus performer named Christoph/Christine. On 28 May
2002, she performed onstage in Modena, Italy with Italian opera tenor
Luciano Pavarotti during his annual Pavarotti and Friends concert
to support the UN refugee agency's programs for Angolan refugees in
Zambia. Together they performed the aria "Pourquoi me réveiller?"
from Jules Massenet's opera Werther. In November 2004, Jones sang
her hit "Slave to the Rhythm" at a tribute concert for record
producer Trevor Horn at London's Wembley Arena. In April 2005
Jones raised a controversy, when she was accused of verbally abusing
a Eurostar train manager in a quarrel over a ticket upgrade, and she
either was escorted off the train or left of her own accord, later
saying that she had been mistreated. In February 2006, Jones was
the celebrity runway model for Diesel's show in New York.
Grace Jones at Roskilde Festival 2009.
Producer Ivor Guest confirmed that he and Jones had completed recording
her new album in 2007. Other participants on the album included the
original Compass Point All Stars line-up, including Sly and Robbie,
Mikey Chung and Wally Badarou, joined by Brian Eno, Bruce Woolley,
Tricky and Tony Allen. The Hurricane album (initially to be titled
Corporate Cannibal) was released on 27 October 2008, on Wall of
Sound/PIAS Records, meeting with positive reviews. "Corporate
Cannibal" became the album's lead single, with its music video
directed by Nick Hooker. Jones embarked on a concert tour at the
end of 2008 and beginning of 2009, and appeared at Secret Garden Party
and Latitude Festival to promote the new album. The video for the
second single, "Williams' Blood", used live footage from
the Hurricane Tour. Grace Jones also collaborated with the avant-garde
poet Brigitte Fontaine on a duet named "Soufi" from Fontaine's
album Prohibition released in autumn 2009, and produced by Ivor Guest.
On 26 April 2010 Grace Jones performed at Royal Albert Hall, receiving
rave reviews. A One Man Show was released on DVD, as Grace Jones
– Live in Concert, in 2010 with 3 bonus videoclips ("Slave
to the Rhythm", "Love Is the Drug" and "Crush").
"Love You to Life" was the third commercial single off Hurricane.
In 2011 Jones again collaborated with Brigitte Fontaine on two tracks
from Fontaine's 2011 release entitled L'un n'empêche pas l'autre
and performed at the opening ceremony of the 61st FIFA Congress.
Autumn 2011 saw the release of the "dub" version of Hurricane.
On 4 June 2012 Jones performed at Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee
Concert in London, where she sang Slave to the Rhythm (song) whilst
hula hooping. 
Style, image and voice
Grace Jones live in Copenhagen, Denmark.
In 1980, Jones adapted the emerging New Wave music style and adopted
a severe, androgynous look, with square-cut hair and angular, padded
clothes, created in partnership with stylist Jean-Paul Goude. She
would also exemplify the so-called "flat top" hairstyle
in many of her concerts in the 1980s, which would become very popular,
especially amongst black men. Her first album cover to feature this
hairstyle was 1980's Warm Leatherette. Her strong visual presence
was an advantage for her music videos and concert tours. In her concert
performances, she adopted various personas and wore outlandish costumes,
particularly during her years with Goude. One such performance was
at the Paradise Garage in 1985, for which she collaborated with visual
artist Keith Haring for her costume. Haring painted her body in tribal
patterns and fitted her with wire armour. The muralist also painted
her body for the video to "I'm Not Perfect (But I'm Perfect for
You)" and the 1986 vampire film Vamp. Grace Jones's striking
appearance, height (5'10½" or 1.79 m), and manner influenced
the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s. To this day, she is known
for her unique look at least as much as she is for her music and
has been an inspiration for numerous other artists, including Annie
Lennox, Lady Gaga and Rihanna.
Jones is a contralto. Although her image became equally as notable
as her voice, she is a highly stylised vocalist. She sings in two
modes: either in her monotone speak-sing voice as in songs such as
"Private Life", "Walking in the Rain" and "The
Apple Stretching", or in an almost-soprano mode in songs such
as "La Vie en rose", "Slave To The Rhythm, and "Victor
Should Have Been A Jazz Musician". Jones' voice spans two and
a half octaves.
At the turn of the 1970s and 1980s, Jones had a relationship with
Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren and with French graphic designer
Jean-Paul Goude, with whom she has a son, Paulo, a member of the band
Trybez. Through Paulo, Grace has a granddaughter. Jones has been
married twice; her first husband was producer Chris Stanley, whom
she married in 1989. She married her second husband, bodyguard Atila
Altaunbay, in 1996. The couple later divorced. Her current
boyfriend is music producer Ivor Guest.
Main article: Grace Jones discography
Warm Leatherette (1980)
Living My Life (1982)
Slave to the Rhythm (1985)
Inside Story (1986)
Bulletproof Heart (1989)
1973: Gordon's War
1976: Let's Make a Dirty Movie
1976: Colt 38 Special Squad
1979: Army of Lovers or Revolution of the Perverts (documentary)
1981: Deadly Vengeance
1984: Made in France (documentary)
1984: Conan the Destroyer
1985: A View to a Kill
1987: Straight to Hell
1990: Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol (documentary)
1995: Cyber Bandits
1998: McCinsey's Island
1999: Palmer's Pick Up
2006: No Place Like Home
2008: Falco – verdammt, wir leben noch!
2008: Chelsea on the Rocks
1982: A One Man Show
1988: Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special
2001: Wolf Girl
2001: Shaka Zulu: The Citadel
1994: Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller (voice only)
Awards and nominations
Jones is a three-time Saturn Award nominee, a Grammy nominee, an
MTV Video Music Awards nominee, a Razzie Award nominee and a Q Awards
winner. She has also ranked 82nd on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock
1983: Best Long Form Music Video for her A One Man Show (Nomination)
MTV Video Music Award
1986: Best Female Video for "Slave to the Rhythm" (Nomination)
Q Music Award
2008: Q Idol (Winner)
1987: Worst Supporting Actress for Siesta (Nomination)
1985: Best Supporting Actress for Conan the Destroyer (Nomination)
1986: Best Supporting Actress for A View to a Kill (Nomination)
1987: Best Supporting Actress for Vamp (Nomination)