20 Jazz Funk Greats

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20 Jazz Funk Greats
20 Jazz Funk Greats.jpg
Studio album by Throbbing Gristle
Released December 1979
Recorded August 1979
Genre Industrial[1]
Length 42:23
Label Industrial
Producer Sinclair/Brooks
Throbbing Gristle chronology
D.o.A: The Third and Final Report of Throbbing Gristle
20 Jazz Funk Greats
Heathen Earth

20 Jazz Funk Greats is the third studio album by industrial music pioneers Throbbing Gristle, recorded in August 1979 and released in December 1979 by the band's record label Industrial. Despite its tongue-in-cheek title, most of the thirteen tracks on the album consist of the group's signature industrial, ambient, and electronic music, with only brief experiments with jazz, funk, and other genres.


20 Jazz Funk Greats is the band's first fully studio album, as prior albums contained both live and studio recordings. The production is credited to "Sinclair/Brooks". The album was recorded on a 16-track borrowed from Paul McCartney.[2]

The album's cover photograph was taken at Beachy Head, a chalk headland on the south coast of England, close to the town of Eastbourne in the county of East Sussex, and one of the world's most notorious suicide spots.[3] In a 2012 interview, Cosey stated:

We did the cover so it was a pastiche of something you would find in a Woolworth’s bargain bin. We took the photograph at the most famous suicide spot in England, called Beachy Head. So, the picture is not what it seems, it is not so nicey nicey at all, and neither is the music once you take it home and buy it. We had this idea in mind that someone quite innocently would come along to a record store and see [the record] and think they would be getting 20 really good jazz/funk greats, and then they would put it on at home and they would just get decimated.[4]

On the 1981 Fetish Records issue of the release an apparently dead and naked male body lay in front of the band on the album cover.

Pitchfork described the album's style as such: "In a smash and grab that testifies to both increased musical ambition and a relentless urge to wrongfoot audience expectations, 20 Jazz Funk Greats finds the band waking up from D.O.A's dark night of the soul and feeling curiously frisky. Snacking on not only the titular funk and jazz, the band also takes touristic zig zags through exotica, rock and disco", ultimately describing it as a "kitsch detour toward mutant disco".[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[6]
Pitchfork 10/10[5]
Uncut 8/10[7]

Pitchfork gave the album its highest possible grade of 10/10, regarding it as Throbbing Gristle's peak.[5]


Pitchfork ranked 20 Jazz Funk Greats at number 91 in its list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1970s.[8]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Throbbing Gristle (Genesis P-Orridge, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Chris Carter, Peter Christopherson). 

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "20 Jazz Funk Greats"   2:51
2. "Beachy Head"   3:42
3. "Still Walking"   4:56
4. "Tanith"   2:20
5. "Convincing People"   4:54
6. "Exotica"   2:53
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Hot on the Heels of Love"   4:24
2. "Persuasion"   6:36
3. "Walkabout"   3:04
4. "What a Day"   4:38
5. "Six Six Sixties"   2:07


  • Sinclair/Brooks – production


Chart (1980) Peak
UK Indie Chart 6[9]


  1. ^ S. Alexander Reed (2013). Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music. p. 259. ISBN 0199832609. 
  3. ^ Daniels 2007.
  4. ^ "Hot On The Heels: An Interview With Cosey Fanni Tutti". Red Bull Music Academy. 5 November 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Daniel, Drew (7 December 2011). "Throbbing Gristle: Second Annual Report / D.O.A. / 20 Jazz Funk Greats / Heathen Earth / Greatest Hits | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  6. ^ Bush, John. "20 Jazz Funk Greats – Throbbing Gristle : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Bonner, Michael (14 February 2012). "Throbbing Gristle: The Industrial Pioneers, Reissued – uncut.co.uk". Uncut. Retrieved 13 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Stosuy, Brandon (23 June 2004). Staff Lists: Top 100 Albums of the 1970s | Features | Pitchfork. Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1989. Cherry Red Books. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]