Grace Jones might actually be the coolest person on the planet. I doubt she’s ever looked less than stunning, even holding an accordion. Which has, over the last couple of years, struck me an instrument that well overdue a comeback.
Despite her almost alien good looks it’s hard to remember that she started off as a model given how astonishingly good her back catalogue of music is, and while unarguably she’s been great at picking people to work with (particularly Sly and Robbie, but also Trevor Horn on the epic Slave to the Rhythm, as well as a cast of photographers and film makers) there’s no doubt that her catalogue wouldn’t work for anyone else (including the covers she’s taken on and made her own).
Wandering the streets of Paris wouldn’t be the same without her on the soundtrack: she’s had a love affair with the city that is almost unmatched by any other arriviste (because who can love a place as much as someone from elsewhere who has chosen to live there, rather than being born there and failing to leave?).
For me it goes back to the movie Frantic, with Roman Polanski wisely picking a collection of her songs for the soundtrack, including some of the most memorable moments of a great film. You know how when you see a really good movie that it feels likes you’re right there? I remember thinking wow, this makes me feel like I’m in Paris until the end of the film: I walked out of the cinema on the Champs-Elysées and remembered oh, I am.
I saw her play 2 years ago at OnBlackheath, and she was amazing: she must be mid-sixties at least, but she had the entire crowd in the palm of her hand as she changed outfit for every song, had a setlist to kill for and an entertaining story for every song, she never missed a note and culminated with Slave (of course), singing her heart out while spinning two hula hoops around herself. As you do.
Screw Mick Jagger, Grace is the epitome of growing old disgracefully (along with Iggy Pop), and long may she continue to be. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIN3IE3DHqc