Nightclubbing (Grace Jones album)

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This article is about Grace Jones album. For other uses, see Nightclubbing.
Studio album by Grace Jones
Released May 11, 1981
Recorded 1981
Genre Rock, new wave, reggae, soul
Length 38:40
Label Island
Producer Chris Blackwell, Alex Sadkin
Grace Jones chronology
Warm Leatherette
Living My Life
Singles from Nightclubbing
  1. "Demolition Man"
    Released: March 1981
  2. "I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango)"
    Released: May 1981
  3. "Pull Up to the Bumper"
    Released: June 1981
  4. "Use Me"
    Released: June 1981
  5. "Feel Up"
    Released: July 1981
  6. "Walking in the Rain"
    Released: October 1981
Music sample

Nightclubbing is the fifth studio album by Grace Jones, released in 1981. It was the second album of her Compass Point trilogy, and has become her best-selling studio release, spawning hits "Pull Up to the Bumper" and "I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango)".


Grace Jones had transformed her musical and visual style on the turn of 1970s and 1980s, evolving from disco to rock and reggae-fueled new wave music with the release of Warm Leatherette in 1980. The record earned her critical acclaim, and the singer teamed up once again with producers Chris Blackwell and Alex Sadkin for the second album recorded at the Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas.

The album includes reggae-oriented re-interpretations of the songs by Flash and the Pan, Bill Withers, Iggy Pop, and Ástor Piazzolla, in addition to several new tracks, three of which were co-written by Jones. Three songs share contributions from Barry Reynolds, with whom Jones would go on to compose most of the material for the 1982 album Living My Life. One song, "Demolition Man", was written by Sting of The Police, who would later that year record it with the band and include on their album Ghost in the Machine. The strong rhythm section which features on most of the tracks was provided by Sly and Robbie, Wally Badarou, Barry Reynolds, Mikey Chung and Uziah "Sticky" Thompson, aka the Compass Point Allstars.

Nightclubbing became Jones' chart breakthrough and remains one of the greatest commercial triumphs of her entire career. It entered top 5 in no less than four countries, and became the singer's highest-charting record on the U.S. Billboard mainstream albums and R&B charts. The album brought Jones from being a former disco diva with a loyal cult following but dropping sales figures to an international star with mainstream chart success. It later formed the basis of her groundbreaking concept tour A One Man Show. The album was released to critical acclaim, claiming the number one slot on NME's Album of the Year list.[1] Slant Magazine listed the album at #40 on its list of Best Albums of the 1980s.[2] Nightclubbing is now widely considered Jones' best studio album.[3]

Release of a two disc deluxe set, containing most of the 12" single versions of singles, plus two unreleased tracks from the "Nightclubbing" sessions, occurred on April 28, 2014, and Jones enjoyed a UK Top 50 chart placing the following week - her first since 2008.

Universal Music Group re-released the album on vinyl in 2009,[4] and again in 2014, but this time as a two-disc set.


The Nightclubbing album cover, by Jean-Paul Goude presents Jones posing in masculine attire, wearing an Armani jacket and holding a cigarette in her mouth. The look is complete with her trademark flattop haircut. The image was created in New York in 1981 as 'oil paint on cut up photo'.[5]


The lead single from the album was "Demolition Man", written by Sting. The single was not a commercial success and did not chart, although would later become one of Jones' signature songs. "I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango)" was released as the second single and became one of the most commercially successful songs in Jones' repertoire. It secured top 20 positions in several European countries and became another signature song for Jones.

The R&B-dance track "Pull Up to the Bumper" was a quick follow-up to "Libertango". It met with a great success on the U.S. club market, but turned out a modest hit in Europe upon original release. The song would re-emerge in Europe in 1985 as a major success, especially in the UK, where backed with "La Vie en rose" it became one of Jones' highest-charting singles in that country.

"Use Me" and "Feel Up" were then released as singles, but were unsuccessful in charts. The final single off Nightclubbing, "Walking in the Rain", was a minor chart success.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[6]
Melody Maker very favorable[7]
Mojo 5/5 stars (2014 reissue)[8]
NME favorable[9]
Robert Christgau B-[10]
Pitchfork 9.0/10 (2014 reissue)[11]
Q 4/5 stars (2014 reissue)[12]
Uncut 9/10 (2014 reissue)[13]

In the UK Adrian Thrills of NME said, "I spent an otherwise-miserable weekend afternoon with the sound of Grace swirling around my little earphones, grooving on songs effortlessly sung but put together with a jeweller's eye for detail".[9] Melody Maker stated, "Now here's an album with something for everyone: reggae, electronics, disco, blues – even a snatch of salsa funk. The incredible thing is that it all gels together so well – the common denominator is the danceability, which lasts all the way through: changes in tempo and pace only help to sustain the energy level."[7]

Andy Kellman of Allmusic praised the album, stating: "Sly & Robbie provide ideal backdrops for Jones yet again, casting a brisk but not bristly sheen over buoyant structures. Never before and never since has a precisely chipped block of ore been so seductive."[6] Music reviewer Robert Christgau wrote, "For as long as 'Love Is the Drug' and 'Private Life' last, Jones makes you forget the Pretenders and Bryan Ferry by sheer weird force of personality, but Bill and Iggy never relinquish 'Use Me' and 'Nightclubbing'."[10]

In 2014 Andy Beta of Pitchfork Media labeled the album's reissue as "Best New Reissue", describing the album as "the record that further cemented her iconic status in pop culture". He also stated: "She treats each cover not as a singer tackling a song, but as an actor inhabiting the skin of a role".[11] Mojo called it "probably the greatest of Grace Jones' Compass Point trio".[8] Uncut called Nightclubbing "the album that came to define Jones as the complete performer, in her own way, as singer, muse, actress, alien and androgyne. Its sound, a sublime mix of reggae, funk, new wave and disco, was as arresting as its cover image... The indigo mood, cool gaze and cigarette suggested Marlene Dietrich, the gender-bending a touch of Bowie. No one had seen or heard anything quite like this, though."[13] Q stated, "The music on Nightclubbing is as stripped-down and full of space as Jones's froideur demanded. Then again, when it evokes more emotional qualities, it also triumphs." The review concluded, "The fact that this music was first released 33 years ago beggars belief: it showcases great minds alighting on the future, and points the way to Madonna, Björk, Lady Gaga, Gorillaz, M.I.A. and more."[12]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Walking in the Rain"   Harry Vanda, George Young 4:18
2. "Pull Up to the Bumper"   Grace Jones, Koo Koo Baya, Dana Mano 4:41
3. "Use Me"   Bill Withers 5:04
4. "Nightclubbing"   David Bowie, Iggy Pop 5:06
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. "Art Groupie"   Grace Jones, Barry Reynolds 2:39
6. "I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango)"   Astor Piazzolla, Barry Reynolds, Dennis Wilkey, Nathalie Delon 4:30
7. "Feel Up"   Grace Jones 4:03
8. "Demolition Man"   Sting 4:03
9. "I've Done It Again"   Barry Reynolds, Marianne Faithfull 3:51
  • The 2-Disc Deluxe Remastered Version states that the writer(s) of "If You Wanna Be My Lover" is unknown.


Commercial reception[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label
Worldwide May 11, 1981 LP, Cassette Island
Yugoslavia Jugoton
Europe 1989 CD Island Masters
Worldwide 1990 Island
April 28, 2014 2-CD deluxe edition


  1. ^ "Vinyl Finals". NME (London, England: IPC Media): 30. December 19, 1981. 
  2. ^ "Best Albums of the 1980s". Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ "3333. "Walking In The Rain" by Grace Jones". Retrieved August 19, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Grace Jones - Nightclubbing (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved May 28, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Jean Paul Goude official website". 
  6. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. Grace Jones – Nightclubbing > Review at AllMusic
  7. ^ a b Reines, Roz (May 23, 1981). "Review: Grace Jones – Nightclubbing". Melody Maker (London, England: IPC Media): 25. 
  8. ^ a b Wood, Anna (June 2014). "Review: Grace Jones – Nightclubbing". Mojo (London, England: Bauer Media Group) (247): 106. 
  9. ^ a b Thrills, Adrian (May 2, 1981). "Review: Grace Jones – Nightclubbing". NME (London, England: IPC Media): 33. 
  10. ^ a b Robert Christgau. "Robert Christgau: CG: grace jones". Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Beta, Andy (May 1, 2014). "Grace Jones - Nightclubbing". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 1, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Harris, John (June 2014). "Review: Grace Jones – Nightclubbing (Deluxe Edition)". Q (London, England: Bauer Media Group) (335): 124. 
  13. ^ a b Martin, Piers (June 2014). "Review: Grace Jones – Nightclubbing (Deluxe Edition)". Uncut (London, England: IPC Media): 90. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Grace Jones – Nightclubbing". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  17. ^ "Top 100 Longplay, 14.09.1981". Top 100 Longplay (Germany: Media Control). Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Grace Jones – Nightclubbing" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  19. ^ "Grace Jones – Nightclubbing". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  20. ^ "Grace Jones – Nightclubbing". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  21. ^ "Grace Jones – Nightclubbing". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  22. ^ a b "Grace Jones | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  23. ^ "Billboard 200, retrieved from "Grace Jones – Nightclubbing" Awards at Allmusic". Billboard 200 (United States: Nielsen Business Media). Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  24. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1997 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  25. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Grace Jones; 'Nightclubbing')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 

External links[edit]