Work all day, as men who know,
Wheels must turn to keep, to keep the flow,
Build on up, don't break the chain,
Sparks will fly, when the whistle blows,
Never stop the action,
Keep it up, keep it up,

Work to the rhythm,
Live to the rhythm,
Love to the rhythm,
Slave to the rhythm,

Axe to wood, in ancient time,
Man machine, power line,
Fires burn, heart beats strong,
Sing out loud, the chain gang song,
Never stop the action,
Keep it up, keep it up,

Breathe to the rhythm,
Dance to the rhythm,
Work to the rhythm,
Live to the rhythm,
Love to the rhythm,
Slave to the rhythm.



Lyrics submitted by ButNeverOutgunned

"Slave To the Rhythm" as written by Bruce Woolley, Simon Darlow, Steve Lipson, Trevor Charles Horn

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, DOWNTOWN MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC

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Slave To The Rhythm song meanings
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  • 0
    General Comment:"Slave to the Rhythm" was the first single from Grace Jones' album of the same name, which was released in 1985. The song and the album was written by Bruce Woolley, Simon Darlow, Stephen Lipson and Trevor Horn and was produced by Horn. This was Jones first album in three years, and it contained eight variations of the same song (the single's B-side is another variation, yet to be released on CD). The single became one of her greatest commercial successes and counts as one of Jones' signature tunes.
    On the Slave to the Rhythm album the hit single version of the track is confusingly re-titled "Ladies & Gentlemen: Miss Grace Jones". The track called "Slave to the Rhythm" on the album is in turn an entirely different interpretation of the song - a well-known fact that somehow managed to elude the producers of a recent hits compilation - which lead to record company Universal Music issuing the wrong version of one of Jones' greatest hits on one of their many best of packages, see The Ultimate Collection.
    sepultura1987on February 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:*Here is what I think, I am interested in finding other interpretations.*

    At the begining of the song on her album there is a long intro. Here she is talking about being born Jamaican but raised American. Then goes on to say that she is an American Girl.

    I believe she is talking about African American History (slavery). Many references in the song refer to this such as "Axe the Wood in ancient times, man machine, powerline, fires burn, hearts beat strong, sing out loud the chain gang song.

    African Americans were brought and sold as merchandise, in chains (chained together in a line) on slave ships. They were forced to work under harsh conditions against thier will.

    Working to a Rhythm and singing while working was thought by slave masters to "boost moral" (as whipping, starving, or other awful punishments damaged the "merchanside" and made thier slaves worth less on thier investments) so slaves could work harder and more efficiantly. Some slave masters even used to have musicians or a band play to them as they worked.

    Congo: In Louisiana African Americans used to gather around on a Sunday night to sing and dance. This was the only time they were allowed to practice thier cluture / beliefs / be 'free' for a few hours. Slave masters/owners/whites would often come to watch them celebrate (almost as a form of entertainment)

    At the end of this song, Grace is saying Don't Cry, its only the rhythm, we live to the rhythm, we work to the rhythm ... Then announces herself as being a Slave to the rhythm.

    Perhaps she is refering to the music industry and the exploitation of Black musicians and music. Micheal Jackson also refered to himself as being a "slave to the Rhythem" in an interview (with Oprah, i think). We all know Micheals true feeling about Tommy Motola and how he said (very publicly) that Tommy was the Devil, and that he was racist. Prince (artist formaly known.. what ever he has decided to call himself theses days LOL) also made a very bold statement to the record companies by writing SLAVE across his face.

    For Example:
    Artists Record Deal: 15 Million Dollar contract for 3 albums. Fan Base for artist: 36 million. Cost of single CD: lets just say $15. Who do you think gets the rest? Also take into consideration that some record contracts do not pay for all the promo such as music videos. We see product placement in music videos (Nelly's Airforce Ones) Missy Elliot, Addidas. This is what is what I believe is truley paying the "Artists". (Not music related, but Micheal Jordan made more money from his endorsements and his shoes). Read about what happened to TLC and how they became bankrupt even though millions of people were buying thier music.

    By refering to herself as being a slave to the rhythm my guess is that even though the chains are gone and part of "ancient" times, She is still finding it difficult to express her music in the ways that she wants to, because in order to make a profit from her music the industy must first approve, and then take most of the profits for themselves.
    MissXyon November 28, 2011   Link

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