Slave to the Rhythm (album)

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Slave to the Rhythm
Studio album by Grace Jones
Released 28 October 1985
Recorded 1985
Genre Funk, R&B, pop
Length 43:09 (full version)
37:42 (abridged version)
Label Manhattan Records
Producer Trevor Horn
Grace Jones chronology
Living My Life
Slave to the Rhythm
Island Life
Singles from Slave to the Rhythm
  1. "Slave to the Rhythm"
    Released: October 1985
  2. "Jones the Rhythm"
    Released: December 1985
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]

Slave to the Rhythm is the seventh studio album by Grace Jones, released on 28 October 1985 by Island Records. The concept album, produced by Trevor Horn, went on to become one of Jones' greatest album triumphs commercially and spawned her biggest hit, "Slave to the Rhythm".


After finishing sessions with Compass Point and releasing the Living My Life album in late 1982, Jones took a break from recording music and focused on an acting career. Within two years she made her debut as an actress in the 1984 film Conan the Destroyer where she played alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. She later gained even more notoriety in 1985 in the James Bond film A View to a Kill where she played the villain May Day. After finishing filming in late 1984 she returned to the studio to work on a follow up, ending an almost three-year long hiatus.

The album was written by Bruce Woolley, Simon Darlow, Stephen Lipson and Trevor Horn and was produced by Trevor Horn, who was assisted by Lipson. Unlike most albums that feature a collection of different songs, Slave to the Rhythm was a concept album that featured several, radical interpretations of one, title track. The project was originally intended for Frankie Goes to Hollywood as a follow-up to their hit "Relax", but was finally given to Jones.[2]

Musically, Slave to the Rhythm ranges from funk to R&B, incorporating go-go beats.[3] All eight tracks are interspersed with excerpts from a conversation with Grace about her life, conducted by journalist Paul Morley, which gives the record an autobiographical feel. The album also contains voice-overs from actor Ian McShane reciting passages from Jean-Paul Goude's biography Jungle Fever. However, a portion of the original LP material is absent on the CD reissue; many songs are shortened, the track order is altered, and fragments of an interview with Jones are also omitted. Only the US CD, released in 1987 (Island 422–842 612-2) retained the same track listing and running times as the vinyl version.[4]

Slave to the Rhythm is one of the most successful of all Grace Jones' albums in terms of commercial performance. It performed best in German speaking countries and the Netherlands, where it secured top 10 placings. It also reached number 12 on the UK Albums Chart in November 1985. The album remains the second highest-charting album of Jones' on the US Billboard 200 (after Nightclubbing) and her only entry on Canadian Albums Chart. In 1986 Billboard magazine reported that the album sold 150.000 copies in the USA and 1 million worldwide.[5][6]


The album is well-remembered not only for its musical content, but also for its artwork. Designed by Jean-Paul Goude, Jones' partner at that time, the cover picture is a montage of several copies of a single photograph of Grace, that makes her hair look "extended" and her mouth "stretched". The process of its creation is illustrated in the title song's music video.[7] The artwork has its roots in an earlier design of Goude's, the cover of Cristina's 1984 album Sleep It Off.

In 2008, the Slave to the Rhythm cover was included in Jason Draper's book A Brief History of Album Covers, which described it as "glass-shattering", reconfiguring the singer's image "as someone much more approachable and full of humour than previously thought."[8]


Only two singles were released from the album. The first one, "Slave to the Rhythm", was a major hit and has eventually become Jones' biggest chart success. That single was actually a version of the album track "Ladies and Gentlemen: Miss Grace Jones", the closing song of the album. However, due to numerous performances, usage in the music video and the big commercial success, this version is now more often associated with the title "Slave to the Rhythm". The actual album track titled "Slave to the Rhythm" was also released as a single, but that version did not garner that much attention.

"Jones the Rhythm", the second and the last single, was released at the end of the year, but passed unnoticed, overshadowed by the success of the first single and the release of Island Life compilation. It suffered from the lack of promotion, as no music video was produced for it and it has never been performed live.

Track listing[edit]

Full version[edit]

Side A

  1. "Jones the Rhythm" – 6:26
  2. "The Fashion Show" – 6:26
  3. "The Frog and the Princess" – 7:04
  4. "Operattack" – 2:45

Side B

  1. "Slave to the Rhythm" – 6:35
  2. "The Crossing (Oohh the Action...)" – 4:58
  3. "Don't Cry – It's Only the Rhythm" – 2:53
  4. "Ladies and Gentlemen: Miss Grace Jones" – 5:56

Abridged version[edit]

  1. "Jones the Rhythm" – 5:24
  2. "The Fashion Show" – 4:05
  3. "Operattack" – 2:16
  4. "Slave to the Rhythm" – 6:12
  5. "The Frog and the Princess" – 7:34
  6. "The Crossing (Oohh the Action...)" – 4:51
  7. "Don't Cry – It's Only the Rhythm" – 2:53
  8. "Ladies and Gentlemen: Miss Grace Jones" – 4:27


Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1985-1986) Peak
Austria[10] 7
Canada[11] 75
Germany[12][13] 10
Italy[14] 15
Netherlands[15] 8
New Zealand[16] 11
Norway[17] 13
Sweden[18] 23
Switzerland[19] 9
United Kingdom[20] 12
United States[21][22] 73
United States (Top R&B Albums)[21][23] 25

Release history[edit]

Region Year Format(s) Label
Worldwide 1985 LP, Cassette Island, Manhattan, ZTT
US, Europe 1987 CD Island, Island Masters


  1. ^ Scott Bultman. "Slave to the Rhythm - Grace Jones". Retrieved 2006-12-28. 
  2. ^ "Perfect Songs artists/writers Trevor Horn". Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  3. ^ "Go Go History". Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  4. ^ Scott Bultman. "Grace Jones - Slave To The Rhythm (CD) at Discogs". Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  5. ^ Billboard – Google Livros. Google Books. 22 November 1986. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Billboard – Google Livros. Google Books. 13 December 1986. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  7. ^ "Grace Jones - Slave To The Rhythm - Video Dailymotion". Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  8. ^ Draper, Jason (2008). A Brief History of Album Covers. London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 262. 
  9. ^ "David Gilmour: The Rightful Heir? - Q Magazine, Sep 1990". Q #48. September 1990. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  10. ^ "Discographie Grace Jones" (in German). Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  11. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". RPM. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  12. ^ "Suche nach "grace jones"". (in German). Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  13. ^ "Liedsuche" (in German). Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  14. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - ALBUM 1986". (in Italian). Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  15. ^ "Discografie Grace Jones" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  16. ^ "Discography Grace Jones". Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  17. ^ "Discography Grace Jones". Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  18. ^ "Discography Grace Jones". Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  19. ^ "Grace Jones" (in German). Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  20. ^ "Chart Stats - Grace Jones - Slave To The Rhythm". Archived from the original on 2012-07-28. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  21. ^ a b "Grace Jones". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  22. ^ "Grace Jones Album & Song Chart History". Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  23. ^ "Grace Jones Album & Song Chart History". Retrieved 2012-04-05. 

External links[edit]