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Music

Revisit Grace Jones' cover of David Bowie and Iggy Pop

The similarities between the art of Grace Jones and David Bowie are apparent for all to see, and the pair are two of the most iconoclastic figures popular culture has ever seen. Without their work, the kaleidoscopic future that we now inhabit would be very different.

Starting with his real breakthrough in the 1970s, David Bowie railed against established social mores by unleashing his artistic vision unto the world. His music was a vivid and atmospheric palette that infused glam rock with an attitude that, until that point, the world had never seen. 

He was androgynous, challenging and had an uncompromising self-awareness. He showed everyone that gender, aesthetics, and art, in general, can be whatever you want them to be and that fluidity was the key to reaching the future. Moving forward, the world’s acceptance of the mundane was to be challenged across culture, with imagination coveted as the key to achieving a post-modern utopia.

A selection of songs David Bowie wrote for other artists

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Whether it be Ziggy Stardust, Station to Station, Scary Monsters or later works, Bowie invariably made experimental and progressive music that was so unique that it remains incredibly influential to this day. Duly, for someone so groundbreaking, he carved out an area in music that so many of our other favourite artists would go on to also inhabit.

One of these was Grace Jones. Making her name in the hedonistic Studio 54 scene of disco-era New York, Jones fused experimental music and stark aesthetics in a similar way to Bowie, owing a lot to the haute couture of iconic fashion houses such as Yves St. Laurent and Kenzo who she’d modelled for before her time as a musician. 

As she moved into the 1980s, Jones started to move away from her outwardly disco sounding work of the ’70s, still creating music for clubs, just this time, it was more futuristic, with increasingly complex textures aided by heady electronic sounds. Retrospectively, her music bridges the gap between that of Bowie and the Icelandic queen of pop, Björk.

How fitting is it, then, that one of Grace Jones’ best-loved cuts from the ’80s is her cover of the David Bowie and Iggy Pop penned song, ‘Nightclubbing’? Released as a part of her 1981 album of the same name, the song was originally written by Bowie and Pop for the latter’s 1997 debut solo record, The Idiot

Arguably, Jones’ version surpasses the original, making it more languid and spacey whilst still managing to honour the industrial sound that made Pop’s version such a fan favourite. Listen to Grace Jones’ ‘Nightclubbing’ below.

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