Due to “a rights issue,” some of pop superstar Grace Jones’ most famous album artworks are missing from streaming platforms, specifically her albums Nightclubbing (1981), Living My Life (1982), Slave To The Rhythm (1985) and Island Life (1985). In the place of each album artwork are simple cassette-formatted covers showing the tracklist for each record on the left side and plain color squares on the right with plain-text album titles, color-coordinated to match the colors from the original artworks.
The artwork for each was shot by photographer/fashion designer Jean-Paul Goude, who also shot iconic photos for Citroën CX, Chanel, Shiseido’s Zen perfume, Charlotte Gainsbourg’s 2017 record Rest and Kim Kardashian’s “Break the Internet” photoshoot for Paper magazine. He shot other photos for Jones as well, many of which can be found in their photography book Jungle Fever. The only other album artwork he did for her was 1980’s Warm Leatherette, which is still up on streaming platforms even though it was put out by the same label as the other four projects, Island Records.
Island Records’ statement to Pitchfork confirmed that it was “a rights issue,” but didn’t go into detail. No word has gone out on how long Jones’ album arts will be missing from streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and Amazon Music.
did Grace Jones lose the rights to Jean-Paul Goude’s artwork on her own album covers?! pic.twitter.com/WWBpdTOgHA
— badgalriedy (@jackriedy) June 29, 2021
Jones had started out her career as a model before moving into the disco scene in the mid ‘70s. She rose to fame off of her 1977 disco version of “La vie en rose” before going on to incorporate new-wave, dub and synth-funk elements into her music throughout the ‘80s span of her career, cementing herself as a household name.
The albums with missing covers aren’t iconic for Goude’s art alone. They all count among Jones’ most popular albums, especially Nightclubbing, which features hits like “Pull Up to the Bumper” and “I’ve Seen That Face Before (Libertango).” Living My Life also had a big hit with My Jamaican Guy and Slave To The Rhythm had its title track. Island Life is a singles compilation, and therefore a ‘greatest hits’ compilation in a way, albeit with singles edits of the tracks.