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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 were written by Bruce Woolley, Simon Darlow, Stephen Lipson and Trevor Horn and produced by Horn. This was Grace's first album in three years, and it contained eight variations of the same song.
Slave to the Rhythm was originally intended for Frankie Goes to Hollywood as a follow-up to their hit debut single Relax. The song was assembled and produced by Horn after Two Tribes, but the project was given to Jones. Paul Morley says Horn worked on the song endlessly and had hoped it would become one of his biggest and most successful creations.