Grace Jones ‎– Island Life

Island Records ‎– 842 453-2
Island Masters – IMCD 16
CD, Compilation, Reissue, Repress, PMDC France

Companies, etc.



Tray insert:
Ⓟ 1985 Island Records Ltd.
Ⓒ 1985 Island Records Ltd.

Track 1: Ⓟ + Ⓒ 1977 Island Records Inc.
Track 2: Ⓟ + Ⓒ 1977 Island Records Inc.
Track 3: Ⓟ + Ⓒ 1978 Island Records Inc.
Track 4: Ⓟ + Ⓒ 1980 Island Records Inc.
Track 5: Ⓟ + Ⓒ 1980 Island Records Inc.
Track 6: Ⓟ + Ⓒ 1981 Island Records Inc.
Track 7: Ⓟ + Ⓒ 1981 Island Records Inc.
Track 8: Ⓟ + Ⓒ 1981 Island Records Inc.
Track 9: Ⓟ + Ⓒ 1982 Island Records Inc.
Track 10: Ⓟ + Ⓒ 1985 Island Records Inc.
This compilation Ⓟ + Ⓒ 1985 Island Records Inc.

Disc imprint:
This compilation Ⓟ 1985 Island Records Inc
Made in France by PMDC

There are several different releases existing, which differ mainly by the pressing company and / or MRO:
Nimbus: Grace Jones - Island Life
PDO, UK: Grace Jones - Island Life
PMDC, France / BIEM STEMRA: Grace Jones - Island Life
PMDC, France / Cinram: Grace Jones - Island Life
Cinram: Grace Jones - Island Life
EDC, Germany: Grace Jones - Island Life

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode (Text): 0 42284 24532 6
  • Barcode (Scanned, UPC_A): 042284245326
  • Rights Society: BIEM MCPS
  • Label Code: LC 0407
  • Matrix / Runout (Glass master, all variants): 842 453-2 00 L7
  • Matrix / Runout (Moulded text, variant 1): MADE IN FRANCE BY PMDC
  • Matrix / Runout (Moulded text, variant 2): MADE IN FRANCE BY PMDC 1H
  • Mastering SID Code (Variant 2): none
  • Mould SID Code (Variant 2): ifpi 0283
  • Price Code: PY 900

Other Versions (5 of 70) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
207 472 Grace Jones Island Life(LP, Comp) Island Records 207 472 Europe 1985 Sell This Version
842 453 4, ICM 2030 Grace Jones Island Life(Cass, Comp) Island Records, Island Records 842 453 4, ICM 2030 Netherlands 1985 Sell This Version
IMCD 16, 842 453-2 Grace Jones Island Life(CD, Comp, RE) Island Records, Island Records IMCD 16, 842 453-2 Europe Unknown Sell This Version
RML 52059 Grace Jones Island Life(LP + 12", Ltd, Lig + Comp) Island Records RML 52059 Australia 1985 Sell This Version
610 584, 610 584-222, CID 132 Grace Jones Island Life(CD, Comp) Island Records, Island Records, Island Records 610 584, 610 584-222, CID 132 Europe 1985 Sell This Version



Add Review



May 20, 2016
edited over 2 years ago

This ten track compilation was released at the end of 1985. At this point in Grace Jones' career, her profile had been raised considerably thanks to her role as the totally insane May Day in the 1985 James Bond film, 'A View To A Kill', starring Roger Moore. She'd also enjoyed one of her biggest hit singles with 'Slave To The Rhythm', as well as critical and commercial success with the accompanying album of the same name which was released that year. This is what prompted her record label, Island, to issue this compilation.

Although it's a rather condensed overview of her music career up to that point, it certainly hits all the right spots and is perfect for the casual fan, each track being essential Grace Jones. It briefly covers her disco period between 1977-79, where she became a formidable force at Manhatten's legendary nightclub Studio 54 and hailed as the "Queen of Gay Discos", though the main focus (thankfully) is on her lauded work with reggae wizards Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, which culminated in the heralded trilogy of albums 'Warm Leatherette' (1980), 'Nightclubbing' (1981) and 'Living My Life' (1982), and finishing with the addition of her most recent hit 'Slave To The Rhythm'. So, let's have a look at the track listing:

1. La Vie En Rose
Most outstanding from her disco era between 1977-1979, was Grace's inspired, magnificent and vibrant re-working of the Edith Piaf classic from the 1920's, 'La Vie En Rose'. Grace alternately, and endearingly, sings in a strikingly rich, warm, engaging voice, delivering both English and French passages. The glorious, shimmering opening flows into a blend of sprightly-played Latin guitars and a smooth, reggae-like beat. 'La Vie En Rose' captures, arguably, Grace Jones' most expressive and passionate vocal performance of her career. She literally caresses the lyrics and exudes impressive, nifty vocal phrasing. Quite a masterpiece! Whether this exceeds Edith Piaf's original is subjective, but either way, Ms. Jones most certainly stamps her own undeniably unique mark on it.

Clocking in at over seven minutes long, her version of 'La Vie En Rose' was released as a single in which it was trimmed down to the standard three-and-a-half minutes. Grace's radical interpretation, which intertwines bossa nova/disco elements, was a success in Europe, hitting #4 in the Netherlands, #3 in Italy, #2 in France, and eventually hit #12 in the UK when it was re-issued as a double A-side with 'Pull Up To The Bumper' in 1985. Originally featured on her debut album 'Portfolio' (1977), Grace commented about the song: "That's a very special song to me. Oh God, I cry every time I sing it. I had quite a few French lovers, so every time I sing it I think about them."

2. I Need A Man
The raging 'I Need A Man' is a slamming disco classic that ranks right up there with some of the most acclaimed disco recordings of the era, even if it is considerably over-looked as such. It certainly contributed to her growing popularity on the gay scene, and zoomed up to the top of the US Billboard dance chart. She had actually recorded the song in 1975 when signed to the Orfeus label in France, at which time she was still working as a fashion model. However, it commercially was ignored, but upon signing to Island Records she re-recorded it for her debut album 'Portfolio'.

3. Do Or Die
Extracted as a single from her second disco album, 'Fame', in 1978, 'Do Or Die' is a catchy if generic disco number which didn't really see any developments in her musical style. Even so, it's an enjoyable number set to an urgent beat and an effective vocal from Grace. Once again, though it failed to hit the mainstream chart, it did enjoy top ten success on the dance charts in the US. In its original edition on the 'Fame' album, it was included as part of Side One's non-stop medley, though was heavily edited for its release as a 7".

4. Private Life
Following the huge anti-disco backlash circulating in the music industry in the late 70s, Grace Jones decided a musical overhaul was needed, as well as a new image. With the help of her ex-husband Jean Paul Goude, her image switched to that of an adrogynous, warrior-like look, complete with a short and sharp haircut. To me (and many others, I'm sure), this was her most incredible and exciting era. Just listen to the classic session playing by the likes of Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Uzziah Thompson, Wally Bardou etc, jamming hard away behind Grace's tough, often scowling, vocal approach.

Grace's fantastically compelling version of the Pretenders' 'Private Life', successfully combines an intriguing mixture of reggae-new wave-rock. Grace talks in her renowned, deep, evocative voice on the thrashing verses while singing gently on the haunting chorus. Lots of swirling, tinkling sounds and a sharp bassline, 'Private Life' , recorded for the excellent 'Warm Leatherette' album of 1980, became one of Grace Jones' biggest sellers, flying up into the UK Top 20 chart and landing at #17. Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders even said she thinks Grace Jones improved their original, interestingly being quoted in the liner notes to Island Records' 1998 Grace Jones compilation 'Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions': "Like all the other London punks, I wanted to do reggae, and I wrote Private Life. When I first heard Grace's version I thought 'Now that's how it's supposed to sound!' In fact it was one of the highpoints of my career - what with Sly and Robbie being the masters, and Grace Jones with her scorching delivery. Someone told me it was Chris Blackwell's idea - thanks Chris!"

5. Love Is The Drug
Her thrilling, rocketing version of Roxy Music's 'Love Is The Drug', arguably, surpasses their version. Grace's vocal delivery is snappy, though extremely engaging, conveying soulful qualities as she whips along the verses with conviction. This driving number which had been written by Bryan Ferry and Andy Mackay, which bears such immediacy in its urgent tone, is a highlight of her career, and when re-issued in the UK in 1986, raced into the Top 40 Chart. This was another track from the classic 'Warm Leatherette' project.

6. I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango)
The ethereal 'I've Seen That Face Before' is something of an over-looked masterpiece. Immersed in a dark setting, Grace once again delivers English and French passages, intertwined with Latin-flavoured, reggae-like arrangements. It cleverly encapsulates vibes of Jamaica, Paris and New York! A lilting mix to say the least! The recording contrasts 'Libertango', an Argentine tango classic, written by Astor Piazzolla and first recorded by himself in 1974, against a subtle reggae arrangement with new lyrics courtesy of Grace and Barry Reynolds. When lifted from her superb 'Nightclubbing' album as a single, it made the top twenty in five European countries, including a number one hit in Belgium. Most definitely one of her very best recordings.

7. Pull Up To The Bumper
The funk-driven 'Pull Up To The Bumper' hosts lyrics which are riddled with double entendres (drive it in between WHAT, exactly? She definitely isn't referring to parallel parking). The fabulous arrangement contains lots of groovy, spiraling rhythms, incessant jangly guitars and a persistent, squelching, reggae-like beat. For those that don't know, and without being crude, the song is, in fact, all about the joys of anal sex! 'Pull Up To The Bumper' was originally released in 1981 and stalled at a disappointing #53. Upon its re-issue in 1985, which was to tie-in with the release of this compilation album, it raced into the Top 20, hitting #12, and also scored high on the Club and R&B Charts.

Undoubtedly one of her definitive classics. Some radio broadcasters refused to air the song because of its sexual content, with lines such as "Pull up to my bumper baby / In your long black limousine / Pull up to my bumper baby / Drive it in between" and "Grease it / Spray it / Let me lubricate it" raising eyebrows.

8. Walking In The Rain
The dark, swirling, hypnotic sounds and unearthly vibes of 'Walking In The Rain' from 1981's critically-acclaimed 'Nightclubbing' (a top 10 R&B hit album and also voted 'Album Of The Year' by readers of NME magazine) is a stand out! Grace delivers her trademark half-sung, half-spoken passages, all adding to the intensity of the beguiling mood and atmosphere. The song had originally been composed and recorded by the Australian band Flash and the Pan in 1979. Grace's version was culled as the final single from 'Nightclubbing', but despite being a top notch cut, only met with mediocre success commercially.

9. My Jamaican Guy
The six minute 'My Jamaican Guy' (written solely by Grace Jones and based on a member of Bob Marley's group The Wailers with whom she had fallen in love with) is a sparse but sprightly arranged reggae/funk/new wave/soul mid-tempo ballad. And just listen to that glorious opening on the track - way ahead of its time and still sounds cool today, a fact reflected in the number of times it has been sampled by others. My Jamaican Guy is not least complimented by a striking vocal performance from Grace where she alternately sounds deep, evocative and at times, fiery and aggressive. The track certainly had ample commercial potential and was released as a single, scoring Grace another international hit. It's the only track from her third and final collaborative album with Sly & Robbie, 'Living My Life' (1982), marking the end of her Compass Point sessions.

10. Slave To The Rhythm
Written by Bruce Woolley, Simon Darlow, Stephen Lipson and Trevor Horn (the latter also producing), 'Slave To The Rhythm' is one of Grace Jones' most familiar and popular recordings, as well as being one of her biggest commercial hits. Entwining pop, Go-go and funk styles, this atmospheric recording boasts a great vocal from Grace who really hits her stride. Like so many of her songs, it bears a somewhat ethereal effect.

And there you have it. This compilation remains one of her most visible releases and was a big international success, including top ten positions in the UK, Australia, Austria and a number one spot in New Zealand. Those wanting a more thorough overview may be well advised checking out the other dozen or so compilations out there, but this short compilation certainly serves up the highlights of her career up to that point, so, therefore, is more than recommended.

Ian Phillips