Monday, August 24, 2009

Prince's Purple Harem


I loved Michael Jackson in the 80's and anyone who knows me knew it. But, I wanted to be Prince! I loved the music that both guys put out and unlike others, I never compared or felt the need to get involved in one of those who's better debates. I just enjoyed both of them in their hey day and purchased music by both of them.

I was in a club a few weeks ago and the DJ played an awesome mixture of both Michael Jackson and Prince's greatest hits from the 80's... I'm talkin' about "Billie jean", "Beat it", "1999", "Let's Go Crazy", " Wanna Be Startin' Somethin", "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", "When Doves Cry", "Party Up" and my favorite, "Delirious". I haven't danced that much since... well, the 80's. It was great... shout out to the DJ, "Nasty Nate", for putting that hour's worth of great music together. Everyone in there that night was as wet as a fish from sweating after he was finished. Everyone? Well, mostly everyone there that night was around the same age as both Michael and Prince, which means that we ranged in age from our late 40's to our early, early 50's. Sorry, hip-hoppers... he hit you guys up next.

The inspiration for this post came because he ended his set by playing some songs produced by the icons and performed by women. First, was the wildly successful (and forgotten) "Centipede" by Michael's big sister, Reebie... and, the second was "Muscles" by Diana Ross. Then, he played "Sugar Walls " by Sheena Easton and "Glamourous Life" by Sheila E. And, there it was... the basis for this post.

Diana Ross, although she is "The Boss", is about 14 or 15 years older than me nd Micheal's sister, Reebie, is pretty much out of my age range too. But, on the other hand, Prince always had an array of women that might have sat in front of me in high school... Vanity, Appolonia, Sheena Easton, and Sheila E., just to name a few, and therein lies the rub of why I said that I wanted to be Prince... his genius for music and his mysterious women. Nevermind that neither Vanity or Appolonia had any talent outside of their looks... the fact that, for a minute, Prince made them appear to be a star was good enough for me.

So what has happened to them? I was reading about some of their fates in "The Root" and here is what I found out...

Sheila E.

Back in the day, Prince wrapped himself in that whole fabulously mysterious Purple Majesty thing. If you came of age in the ‘80s, chances are that you wanted, above anything, to be a part of his crew. And, usually being part of his crew meant being young, beautiful, female, and racially ambiguous. Percussionist Sheila E. was all of those things. But, she also had something else going for her... she could play. Prince helped her record her first solo album, "The Glamorous Life", which brought her glamor and multiple Grammy nominations. Once Prince moved onto other protégées (the "Purple One" bored easily) Nicole Richie's aunt, Sheila Escovedo (Sheila E.) continued to have a thriving music career, jamming with everyone from Tito Puente to Placido Domingo to Patti LaBelle. This year, she won Grand Prize on CMT's hit show, "Gone Country 3". She's found religion, too.... it goes with the territory. Even Prince thinks his old songs were too nasty... now he's a Jehovah's Witness.

Vanity

She was gorgeous and she got to hang out with Prince. So what if she couldn't sing? That didn't stop "Nasty Girl," her seriously raunchy single with girl group Vanity 6, from topping the charts in '82. Before Madonna made the bustier a fashion statement, Vanity, aka Denise Matthews, was rocking the lingerie. Wannabe nasty girls started teasing their hair and sneaking out the house in their underwear. (This must of been in Minneapolis, beause I certainly didn't see anybody I knew in Philly sneaking out in their underwear... or at least if they were, it had nothing to do with Prince or any trends in fashion or music-:)) Life after Prince wasn't easy for Denise Matthews. She left Vanity 6 in 1984, trying for a solo career that never took off. She starred in a series of B-movies (i.e. "The Last Dragon", which I went to see and shamefully admit, I kinda liked at the time) and became heavily addicted to crack. Now a born-again Christian, she's a committed evangelist who testfies about her former sin-filled life. Last year, she self-published her tell-all memoir, "Blame It On Vanity."

Sheena Easton

Before she hooked up with my man Prince, Sheena Easton was a hot singer in her own right and she won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1981. But, under Prince's tutelage, the squeaky-clean Scot embraced her inner slut. In 1984, she released "Sugar Walls," an ode to her lady parts, a single written and produced by Alexander Nevermind (of course, that was really Prince). The pair sang together in the 1987 hit, "U Got The Look", one of my favorites. Like most of Prince's women, Sheena Easton didn't sparkle as brightly after she left Prince's court. She starred briefly in the '80s TV blockbuster, "Miami Vice" but, her character was killed off. (Remember, she played Sonny Crockett's 2nd wife? I hated when that happened but, it was one of the great Miami Vice episodes.) She hasn't had a chart hit since 1991, Broadway beckoned in the '90s, and she appeared in a 1998 revival of "Man Of La Mancha." Now 50 years old, she's a four-time divorcee and a mother of two. Why is it that so many of Prince's ladies take to sporting giant crosses?

Well, I'll stop right there. You know, someone could write a blog post about what happened to a number of women that I was involved with in the 80's, where they are now, and I probably wouldn't be shed in such a nice light (which is why I have tried to tell my side of the story to all of you good folks that read this blog more than occasionally-lololol).

It was nice to know that most of Prince's female protoge's have turned out pretty good, considering... and, whatever else is missing, we did have some great music and great times. For that, I have to thank the women, Prince, and of course, Michael Jackson.

22 comments:

Angie B. said...

I am a big Prince fan too!

Toni said...

Love Prince and MJ too Keith and like you, I never compared, just enjoyed.

Sunflower said...

I too dearly love his Purple Majesty...and Sheila E. Never was a fan of Apollonia or Vanity. Like you said ,neither one had much talent outside of their looks.

Rich Fitzgerald said...

I recently watched the taped interview between Prince and Tavis Smiley on PBS's web site. It was a great interview.

Prince always pulled the fine chicks and showed how big a freak they were. LOL

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

I love me some Prince and MJ.

Go B. said...

These folks were out years before my time but I remember my cousins listeing to Sheila E I loved her and would often act like I was her beating the crap out of stuff as if they were drums..lmao!


Sincerely,

Go

ShellyShell said...

I love MJ but Prince is my all time favorite artist. I remember being little and my sister playing "I wanna be your lover" from that moment I have loved his Purple Majesty. My favorite Prince album is "Sign of the Times" I read somewhere that if you're a true Prince fan then Sign is your favorite album.

I wish I would have seen him when he was singing nasty and doing splits(but I was too young). I have seen him four times in the last 8 years. I saw him at Eseence in 04 and he was great! He had Chaka come out and sing. Sheila E killed the drums and Maceo Parker did his thing. I saw him again when he did his intimate concert series in Vegas. THAT WAS INCREDIBLE! It was so worth the $800. Words just can't explain. It was the first time I could relate to white people throwing their panties on stage when the Beatles performed! Because I damn sure wanted to throw myself and my panties on stage....lol!

I've always said Prince has had some of the baddest chicks in the game. They all seem to turn to religon. He's doing something to them! Lawd I tell you he could get it all day and night and in front of my parents!

Vanessa said...

I'm with Shelly Shell,Prince could get it all day and in front of my parents!-LMBAO!

Halo said...

I'm a crazy,crazy Prince fan!

Lisa said...

Great Post...Nice and smurfy!-:)

Cheryl said...

I saw Prince's "Sign of Times" tour
and his "Lovesexy' tour...both were
incredible!

Brenda said...

Love the man,but have never seen him live..He's having hip problems now...I realize now that I might never get to see that.

Grover Tha Playboy said...

Prince always pulled the fine chicks!

Jazzy said...

I heard that Prince and Miles Davis recorded some two albums worth of music that has never seen the light of day..I'd love to hear
that.

James Perkins said...

I saw Prince live in Los Angelas one year, back in the early 90's..
One of the best concerts I've ever been to.

Simon Bastion said...

I've always been a big fan of Prince. Never seen him perform live though.

Captain Jack said...

ROFLMAO @ Shelly Shell's last statement!- I agree!-lololol.

Sean said...

I'm a big Prince Fan, but an even bigger Sheila E. Fan, thanks for shedding some light on what she's been up to Keith!

Swaggie said...

"Sugar Walls" was my jam...I thought I was the only one who was that into it like that. Good pull Keith!

Tate2 said...

I too like everybody on here am a big fan of his purple majesty. he made his best music before I was
born unfortunately..but I still dig it though.

SLC said...

CAT!

12kyle said...

not only was this man a great artist but he had a flock of women. lol. you can't help but respect him.

growing up people always compared prince and mj. i never could. however, mj never had no brawdz like prince! lol




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