Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

6. Grace JonesNightclubbing

I’m a huge admirer of Grace Jones in many, many ways. She came out of the fashion industry, made a disco record and then went on to make three classic records that I think are some of the greatest sounding things anyone has ever put out there.

Those albums were produced by Alex Sadkin and Chris Blackwell, who had worked with Bob Marley before that. We first worked with Alex Sadkin on ‘Is There Something I Should Know?’ and he went on to produce Seven And The Ragged Tiger and the Arcadia album with me. So, we worked very closely with Alex and the reason we wanted to work with him at all was because of the Grace Jones album. I was so astounded when I heard the sound on Nightclubbing – the depth, quality and clarity of instrumentation and the vibe of it. I couldn’t understand how anyone had ever captured that. I needed to work with this person somehow and fortunately Alex turned out to be one of our great collaborations.

Grace combined her style with a reggae influence, with a certain pop sensibility and with grooves that people could dance to and created something that only she could have done. It was entirely original and everyone in Duran Duran loves Grace Jones. We’ve played her records more than most other artists. We got to know Grace and hung out with her quite a lot. She did the Bond movie [A View To A Kill] that we were on the soundtrack for and she is did a cameo on ‘Election Day’ for Arcadia.

I also think Grace is one of the most fascinating performers out there. The stuff she used to do with Jean-Paul Goude – the photography, the videos, the album covers – was so stylish. They had great taste. I truly love the songs on Nightclubbing. The original of the title track is on Iggy Pop’s The Idiot – which I love – written by Bowie and Iggy. The song had the darkest vibe you could imagine being done in Berlin during that period and that Grace took it and made it so different and beautiful was really something. Often with a cover you either like the original or the cover – with ‘Nightclubbing’ they are both great.

Is she as scary when you get to know her as her public image would suggest?

I don’t know that people would want to be on the wrong side of Grace, but there is a pussycat in there as well as a leopard. I adore her. I think she is hugely creative.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Dave Okumu, Irmin Schmidt, Simple Minds
PreviousNext Record

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today