Throwback: Grace Jones-Pull Up To The Bumper


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Grace Jones’ Nightclubbing album changed her status from an underground disco artist and successful fashion model to an innovative pop music icon. It was her fifth album after releasing projects that made her a revered disco queen at New York City’s Studio 54 and Paradise Garage. Island Records founder Chris Blackwell produced Nightclubbing with Alex Sadkin and put her back in the studio with Sly and Robbie. They had already incorporated reggae into her music on the Warm Leatherette album and that era was also the time she debuted her androgynous style and signature box haircut. “Pull Up To The Bumper” was recorded during the Warm Leatherette sessions but Blackwell did not add to the album because its R&B sound did not fit with the other songs. Jones co-wrote “Pull Up To The Bumper” with Kookoo Baya (Sly and Robbie) and Dana Manno. The lyrics were provocative despite Jones telling Q magazine in 2008 that sex was never the intention. Some radio stations refused to play the song for that reason but it was also a Black radio breakthrough because mainstream R&B audiences were not familiar with her. “Pull Up To The Bumper” was an international hit and made Nightclubbing her most popular record. The combination of R&B, reggae and dance music influences along with her singular look soon had musicians and fashion followers copying her style. Jones had one of the most important and accessible songs of 1981. Jones continued to innovate musically with the subsequent Living My Life and Slave To The Rhythm albums. Her contributions to music, film and fashion are the focus of the current documentary Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami.