Grace Jones – An Appropriated Island Life

Grace Jones – An Appropriated Island Life

Grace Jones released her Island Life ’85 compilation album via Island Records. A very 70s Eurodisco sounding release, it has become a classic of the pop/reggae/electro genres, and includes classic tracks such as La Vie En Rose , Slave To The Rhythm, My Jamaican Guy and Pull Up To The Bumper.

Island Life Vinyl Cover Art

The Island Life Vinyl Cover Art is, however, the focus of this blog article. We do love the music and Grace herself, but it is the cult of attraction to the visual side of the album that fascinates us. MTV music channel and video formats were a new medium at the time, and the need for 24/7 content was only just in its’ nascent phase. Jones’ striking visual appearance and performance style were a perfect match for video television.

Creative Imagery

The Island Life cover creative imagery was composed by Jean Paul Goude, using a composite of imagery to make an impossible arabesque the key visual focus of the cover. In the shot, Grace is just touching her right foot with her twisted left arm. Her right arm is extended, holding a microphone with lead extending out to the right of the frame.
She wears a red bandeau and red leg warmer on her left knee and thigh together with a blue and white spotted legwarmer on her lower calf and ankle. And that’s it, unless you include the shiny, shiny oil all over her perfectly proportioned body!
The background of the photograph is intentionally simple – sky blue wall with wooden floor and mat to make Graces’ left foot pop.
 
Grace Jones Island Life album cover, 1985

He notes about that picture that:

“…unless you are extraordinarily supple, you cannot do this arabesque. The main point is that Grace couldn’t do it, and that’s the basis of my entire work: creating a credible illusion.”

We don’t think that any human could sustain a pose like this, but because it is shot to look like a natural pose, it gives the impression that Jones is doing it. Clever, right?

The concept visuals are below, showing how it was made. It looks easy enough to do from todays’ perspective, but remembering that Photoshop didn’t appear for another 5 or so years, it is actually very masterful manipulation of both the pose to trick the eye AND the finishing of the photography to make it look as natural as it does.

The typography is at the top of the record, which is sensible so browsers can see it immediately on flicking through records in a crate. We wish more design could be like this…

Sincere Appreciation Appropriation

Since then, many have tried to buy into the iconic imagery of Graces’ album. This is a definite sign of success, as well as a sincere appreciation appropriation of the creative concept.

Just because vinyl, art and film references go together (Alien Grace Jones):

The Grace Jones Project

In 2016 MoAD put together the exhibition that we all want to: The Grace Jones Project. Excerpt from their archive page:

“The Grace Jones Project explores the influence of model, actress, and singer Grace Jones. The exhibition brings together more than twenty works by an inter-generational group of artists working primarily in photography, video, and performance. Some artists pay direct tribute to Jones while others demonstrate a Jones-like sensibility in their engagement with the black body and queer identity.”

So good! Vinyl + art = Grace Jones.

Reference

But it gets better than fine art – in this blog appropriated Island Life imagery is reworked using the artists’ different body shape (left), then Grace, then a Lego inperpretation!

Reference

Celebrity appropriations

And then there are the celebrity interpretations of the pose:

Amber Rose V Grace Jones

myvinylrev-Grace-Jones-AmberRose

Caleb Scott V Grace Jones

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Caleb Scott does an admirable job of balancing on a lightbox with a wide grin in Graces’ pose!

Kenya Moore V Grace Jones

Miss USA 1993 (also American actress, model, producer, author, television personality, and entrepreneur, Bravo series The Real Housewives of Atlanta from 2012-2018 and The Celebrity Apprentice 7 in 2015) does it with a boxing glove and orange towel…

Grace is clearly the winner in this article (if there was ever a comparison to be made) but we love that everyone, especially those with access to software and too much time on their hands, is prepared to follow suit with the Island Life vinyl cover art.

 

Newtown Record Fair Jan 2020 – Black Tigers playlist

Newtown Record Fair Jan 2020 - Black Tiger Deejays playlist

Newtown Record Fair Jan 2020 – Black Tiger Deejays playlist – honestly these deejays cannot do any better – check out their rockin’ playlist shared with us last weekend!

Society – Summer Sunset
Mark Gillespie – Falling
Peter Green – Slabo Day
Moon Martin – Paid Killer
Allah Las – Roco Ono / Star
Link Wray – Big City After Dark
Bo Diddley – Who Do You Love
Lee Hazlewood – Long Black Train
Mystics – I’m A Man
The Labrats – Have Love Will Travel
The Underground Set – Equator
Bobby Gentry – Glory Hallelujah, How They’ll Sing
The Easybeats – Say That Your Mine
Georgie Fame – I Believe In Love
Nancy Sinatra – I Gotta Get Outta This Town
Heart – Magic Man
Celibate Rifles – Wild Desire
Pam and the Pashions – Sunny Boyfriend
The Coasters – Down In Mexico
The Seeds – She’s Wrong
Shocking Blue – Oh Lord
L’epee – Une Lune Entrange
Pascal Comelade + Les Liminanas – Green Fuz
Randy Alvey & Green Fuz – Green Fuzz
Arthur Conley – I Can’t Stop (No, No, No)
Roy Head & The Traits – Treat Her Right
Kenny J All stars – Almost Grown
The Ventures – Wooly Bully
ZZ Top – La Grange


Bert Kaempfert – Swinging Safari
Smith & Mudd – Shulme (Lexx Remix)
Moon Duo – Sleepwalker
The Liminanas – Trouble In Mind
The Cruel Sea – Reckless Eyeballin’
John Lee Hooker – Boom Boom
Mary Jane Hooper – I’ve Got Reasons
Lee Dorsey – Get Out Of My Life Woman
Solomon Bourke – Cry To Me
Lee Dorsey / Betty Harris – Love Lot’s Of Loving
Betty Harris – Trouble With My Lover
Eddie C – Yeah
Huey ‘Piano’ Smith and His Clowns – Free Single and Disengaged
Boco – Running The Mardi Gras
The Jaynettes – Sally Go Round The Roses
The Tops – I Found You
Jackie Mittoo – Totally Together 
Jerry Jones – Trying Times
Cedric IM Brooks – Shaft 
Nightmares On Wax – Mission Venice
Ennio Morricone – Svolta Definitiva 
The Sonics – I’m Going Home
Wet Taxis – C’mon
Screaming Jay Hawkins – Frenzy
Tav Falco’s Panther Burns – Bertha Lou
The Trashmen – Surfin’ Bird
Clarence Carter – She Ain’t Gonna Do Right
The Squires – Going All The Way
The Labrats – Psychotic Reaction

Play Video

Journey Through Psych Prog Vinyl Records

VINYL      ?       SOCIAL MEDIA     ?       MUSIC
Have been looking through some of the more interesting psych/prog titles from the collection and wanted to offer our email list customers only a sneak peek into a few we found

Les Baxter – Ports of Pleasure – Retro Exotica LP Love – Review

Les Baxter – Ports of Pleasure – Retro Exotica LP Love – Review

Ever imagined being a pirate in the South China Seas? Or performing the dance of the seven veils on top of an elephant in the dusk? Well Les Baxter has, because he created Ports of Pleasure just for you to practise to! Here is our review of the vinyl record LP

George Michael – His Last Christmas RIP

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George Michael – His Last Christmas RIP

Another one bites the dust! George Michael was a flawed diamond but man did he give his all. Born in 1963, allegedly he has died just today, 25 December 2016, he was known for these three things:

  • Wham (80s dance pop outfit)
  • His solo career
  • His sexuality

And we LOVE him for all of them. Before you cast aspersions, just remember that this guy sold more than 80 MILLION albums in his time. That deserves big kudos.

Wham (80s dance pop outfit)

Fantastic, the bands’ first album, was released in 1983 and includes Club Tropicana (below via Vevo), Young Guns and Wham Rap! It went No. 1 and had multiple top ten hits. Imagine this happening to you as a teenager?

Their second album, Make It Big, went No. 1 on the US charts, including No. 1 hits Wake me Up Before You Go Go, Freedom.

In his copious amounts of spare time (not), George also contributed background vocals to David Cassidy’s The Last Kiss (1985) and Elton John’s Nikita and Wrap Her Up (1985).

His solo career

Although Careless Whisper was his first solo hit (1984), this was released during his time with Wham. Post-Wham, his first biggie was a duet with Aretha Franklin I Knew You Were Waiting. His effortless (well, that’s how it appeared to us the punters) collab with other huge global stars was another angle on his ability to not take himself too seriously, when millions were doing the exact opposite.

He won a Grammy for this one with Aretha.

In 1987 Faith was released, with George writing and producing every track on the album. I Want Your Sex was the lead track from this album but I honestly feel that every track from this album is worthy of exploration. I Want Your Sex is not about casual sex (George’s words), but not everyone else thought so. When introducing the song on American Top 40, host Casey Kasem, referred to it as “the new single by George Michael”. Go George! His creative work is really only an expression of his desire – how everyone else took it is up to them.

I Want Your Sex – such a strong, directional song!

His sexuality

Fast Love – such a smooth, sexy song! Watch here.

My Viyl Revolution - George Michael - Fast Love lyrics

George’s sexuality was a matter for himself of course, but his public journey to his own awareness of his sexuality was something that we watched from the media circus. How would you have managed coming out from one of the most successful 80s outfits?

I have no idea how I could have done what he did, and the more he got into trouble with the law (engaging in lewd acts in Cali loos with policemen, 1998, arrested for possession of dope, 2006), the more I liked him.

You see, George is only human. He has foibles like the rest of us and I would only hope that I had the grace and humour to take the piss outta myself if that ever happened to me.

Rest In Peace George, you have done a fantastic job and lived your life on your own terms.


My Vinyl Revolution is passionately committed to sharing vinyl and music stories in our online community and beyond. If you have a blog that you would like to share, please forward to us and we will either repost or paraphrase as you like.

Saving the World, One Record at a Time.

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Vinyl Art, Judas Priest and Ros?aw Szaybo

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Written by @olsonwells

Judaspriestsinsin

Ros?aw Szaybo

I came across a recent purchase of Judas Priest’s Sin after Sin while browsing through the piles of vinyl sleeves that lie round our house (yes, in ordered piles and on shelves).

Metalheads love this sort of music, and I’m not sure where my taste lies yet in that regard, but I sure do LOVE the vinyl cover art by Ros?aw Szaybo (allegedly).

Sometimes referred to as packaging, sometimes art direction, the design skill that this artist employs is focussed, heavy and mythical!

I did some research (more than Wikipedia) and found out these FAQs about Ros?aw Szaybo and the album creation:

Ros?aw Szaybo

  • Polish and still alive apparently. Born 1933, he would have been a perfect age to capitalise on commercial opportunities for bands needing trained painters, photographers and/or cover designers (which he was all three).
  • Moved to the UK in 1966 and worked at Young and Rubicam freelance while building his contacts.
  • 1972 – CBS chief artistic director. Designed OVER 2000 covers, mostly for classical music (see, there is always a connection!), but also for Santana and The Clash.
  • Also designed Judas Priest’s British Steel album cover art
  • What is he doing now? See this

Vinyl Art by Comus

My-Vinyl-Revolution-Tone-Float

Written by @myvinylrevolution

Hi Everyone! My Vinyl Revolution here, blogging about vinyl cover art and the artists, designers and sometimes even the musicians who make them an art form.

Electronic musicians and Kraftwerk fans should prick up their ears for this blog article. Organisation were a German Krautrock band with three (future) members of Kraftwerk making experimental bleeps and twaddles. Don’t get me wrong, I like this album but more for the vinyl art than the music

Mingering Mike – the story of a digger who found gold

my-vinyl-revolution

Mingering Mike – the story of a digger who found gold

How did a soul star, who released over 100 albums, just disappear? The story of Mingering Mike, whose career spanned from 1968-77, highlights the power of vinyl as art.

This story has all the elements of a good vinyl mystery:

  • Cratedigger
  • Jail
  • Drugs, guns, murder
  • Flea markets!

Read this wonderful story here: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/feb/11/-sp-mystery-of-mingering-mike-the-soul-legend-who-never-existed-jon-ronson

…and here’s where you can find details of the exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum: http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2015/mingering_mike/

Vinyl Cats

My Vinyl Revolution Vinyl Cats

Cats + Vinyl + Internet = Lots of fun!

Who would ever have thought that cats and vinyl are such a good match? And how they are ruling instagram at the moment? Check out these sassy pussycats below, who have legions of fans liking every post!

Why not add photos of your vinyl cat onto our @myvinylrev instagram fee, @myvinylrevolution Facebook page or other social media accounts (Pinterest, G+, Twitter, YouTube) – we would love to see them!

They are even selling merchandise for the page