Celebrating her 69th birthday today (5/19), “Slave to the Rhythm” was the first single from Grace Jones‘ 1985 album of the same name. Written by Bruce Woolley, Simon Darlow, Stephen Lipson and Trevor Horn and produced by Horn, “Slave …” was originally intended for Frankie Goes to Hollywood as a follow-up to their hit debut single “Relax“. The song was produced by Trevor after the FGTH hit, “Two Tribes“, but the project was ultimately given to Jones.
“Slave to the Rhythm” was released in Autumn of 1985 to a significant commercial success and went on to become one of the artist’s biggest hits peaking at #12 in the United Kingdom and Top 10 in Belgium, New Zealand, Italy and German speaking countries. The remixed versions of “Slave To The Rhythm” topped the American Billboard dance chart in 1986 and was proclaimed the best single of 1985 by The Face magazine.
The song’s lyrics could be interpreted as telling about slavery in Afro-American history (“Axe to wood in ancient time/Man machine, power line/Fires burn, hearts beat strong/Sing out loud the chain gang song.”) or referring to the music industry and its exploitation of musicians.