It all started with seeing La Vie en Rose last month. Afterwards, I was looking on YouTube for a clip of Edith Piaf singing the song from which the movie takes its title. I found it, but I also stumbled across this clip:

This clip is from Grace Jones’s “A One Man Show” from 1982. I think her version of this classic song is genius, and now I’m obsessed with her music. She’s clearly a brilliant performance artist.

I only barely remember Grace Jones from the early ’80s. She started as a vocalist in the late ’70s and then moved on to modeling and movies (campy pics like Conan the Destroyer, Vamp, and the James Bond film, A View to a Kill). She is, of course, known for her androgyny. Hers was an incredibly influential look, and I read that her severe haircut influenced men’s haircuts throughout the ’80s. Here’s what the Christian Science Monitor says about her:

Grace Jones took the disco world by storm with her predatory poses, flashy style, and androgenous looks. Her music mixed punk energy with reggae rhythm.

Ms. Jones was born in Spanishtown, Jamaica, in 1952, but moved to Syracuse, N.Y., at age 12. She became a top model in her early 20s. In 1977, her debut single, “I need a man,” became a disco classic. Several successful albums followed.

After disco’s demise, Jones became a pop star and a poster girl for the ’80s nightclub scene. “Slave to the Rhythm” (1985) was her most enduring album. She also pursued performance art and starred in films, including “A View to a Kill” (1985) and “Conan the Destroyer” (1984).

I’ve been listening to a collection of her early hits for the past week or so. So far, my favorite tracks, besides “La Vie en Rose” are “Libertango,” “Pull Up to the Bumper,” “Breakdown,” and “My Jamaican Guy.”

Here are some YouTube clips of my favorites:

I love that she has dancers and performers imitating her on stage while she’s performing. Her self-referentiality is so ’80s!

She’s supposed to have a new album out soon. Next, I need to listen to a larger collection of her music. The album I bought only has 12 tracks. I really want to hear her version of “Send in the Clowns.” I also haven’t watched the full version of the “One Man Show” on YouTube yet. But even so, I think she’s a genius and I look forward to learning more about her and her art.

Advertisements