Campy Music: GRACE JONES

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Former "Bond Girl" Grace Jones

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WHO: Grace Jones (born May 19, 1948) is a Jamaican–American singer, model and actress.

GENRES: Disco, New Wave, soul, dance-pop, dance, dancehall

WHY CAMP:  Jones secured a record deal with Island Records in 1977, which resulted in a string of dance club hits and a large gay following. The three disco albums she recorded — Portfolio (1977), Fame (1978), and Muse (1979) — generated considerable success in that market. These albums consisted of pop melodies, such as “All on a Summer’s Night” and “Do or Die”, set to a disco beat, as well as standards such as “What I Did for Love”, “Autumn Leaves”, and “Send in the Clowns”.

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During this period, she also became a muse to Andy Warhol, who photographed her extensively. Jones also accompanied him to famed New York City nightclub Studio 54 on many occasions.

Parallel to her musical shift was an equally dramatic visual makeover, created in partnership with stylist Jean-Paul Goude, with whom she had a son. Jones adopted a severe, androgynous look, with square-cut hair and angular, padded clothes. The iconic cover photographs of Nightclubbing and, subsequently, Slave to the Rhythm (1985) exemplified this new identity. To this day, Jones is known for her unique look at least as much as she is for her music.

 

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Grace Jones’ masculine appearance, height (5′ 10½” or 1.79 m) and manner influenced the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s. She would also exemplify the “Flat Top”, a hairstyle popular among men in the late-80s, which she displayed on the cover of her first non-disco album, 1980’s Warm Leatherette.

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She maintained parallel recording and acting careers, and modeling work often overshadowed her musical output. Her strong visual presence extended to her concert tours. In her performances, she adopted various personas and wore outlandish costumes, particularly during her years with Goude. One such performance was at the Paradise Garage in 1985, wherein she collaborated with visual artist Keith Haring for her costume. Haring painted her body in tribal patterns and fitted her with wire armor.The muralist also painted her body for the video to “I’m Not Perfect (But I’m Perfect for You)”.

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