I was aware of Grace Jones as a Jamaican model and singer with a cult following in the dance music world. I would run across her videos late at night as she was far from mainstream. Her music videos were interesting but weird, they reminded me a little of Art of Noise. Jones never entered my music library. But I love modern music biographies, and her autobiography is equally weird. I came in thinking she was on the edge of music, but Jones argues she was at the center. And if you look at want came after, it’s a valid argument. Grace Jones brought performance art to music. Something that Madonna and every female pop singer as since built their careers around. Jones was raise in Spanish Town, Jamaica by her grandparents who were Pentecostal pastors. There she suffered from child abuse. Her parents finally sent for the children and she grew up in upstate New York. She did modeling, and some acting. Disco was her introduction to music and performance art. She had many friend and boyfriends in the arts that helped her create her personae. Andy Warhol was a friend from Studio 54, where Jones was a disco queen, and gay icon. Chris Blackwell of Island Records introduced her to larger audience.
Jones comes off as sort of nuts, so it’s an entertaining read. I’ll Never Write My Memoirs bogs down a little as Jones shares her insights into her style and her philosophies. The book was co-written by co-written by Paul Morley.
Excerpts From My Kindle
Record producer Tom Moulton, who worked out of Sigma Sound in Philadelphia. He had developed the 12-inch disco mix format, which involved extending the rhythmical parts of a track to make the song longer, and better to dance to, because there were no vocals. He made the accidental discovery when a song meant for a 7-inch was instead cut onto 12-inch vinyl, leading him to understand how dynamic and physical this made it sound. Longer and louder. Perfect. He came up with the idea of the disco break from watching how people dance to music in the clubs, and seeing that their favorite parts to dance to were the instrumental sequences and the extended jamming parts of jazz-funk tracks. They hated it when a record changed and the vibe was ruined. In those dancing situations, music had to flow. This was a very new idea, and before disco became the bad, kitsch disco, a very important moment in the development not only of dance music but of pop music in general and, later, even rock. – location 2376-2383