Thursday, February 16, 2017

"The Glamorous Life" by Sheila E.

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1943
Date:  06/16/1984
Debut:  86
Peak:  7
Weeks:  26
Genre:  R&B, Dance



Pop Bits:  Sheila Escovedo was born into a musical family with her father, Pete, and her uncles all having success performing with artists like Santana and with their own bands. Sheila carried on her father's work and began playing percussion at a young age. By the late 70s, she was already performing with major artists like George Duke, Marvin Gaye, and Diana Ross. After a show with her father's band, a new R&B star named Prince came backstage to meet with them. Prince was enamored with the percussionist and told her that one day she was going to be in his band. Flash forward a few years and Sheila did find herself in Prince's studio doing the vocals on "Erotic City," the famous b-side to his "Let's Go Crazy" single. This led to Sheila getting a crack at her own career. With Prince behind the boards, Sheila readied her debut LP The Glamorous Life. While Sheila wrote the majority of the album, the title track was supplied by Prince and it became the lead single. The song would hit #1 at Dance while getting to #9 at R&B. It ended up being a slow starter at Pop, but it eventually caught on and finally got into the Top 10. The hit would help the album reach gold level sales. Sheila would go on to receive two Grammy nods as well. One for Best New Artist and one for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female.

ReduxReview:  The combo of Prince's production, his song, a great sax break, and Sheila E. bangin' the crap out of her percussion created an irresistible moment on record. It had a lengthy half-a-year stay on the Pop chart, which was pretty remarkable at the time. I'm surprised it didn't go gold. It had to have been close. The album was nearly an EP with only six tracks, but it was a solid effort that featured some good Sheila E. compositions like "Oliver's House." The full nine-minute version of "The Glamorous Life" on the LP was a bit much. I far prefer the concise single edit. Over the years Prince had some offspring that were not necessarily all that talented, but Sheila E. was the real deal. Watching her play percussion is da bomb. She could spin around in high heels and kick the cymbal without ever missing a beat. Awesome.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1)  This song was written for and about another Prince protégé, Patricia Kotero, aka Apollonia. Originally, Prince had cast Vanity, from the vocal trio he mentored called Vanity 6, as the lead female in Purple Rain. But when Vanity left both the trio and Prince prior to the movie, he then cast Kotero in the part. He also placed Kotero in the trio, which then became known as Apollonia 6. With the trio scheduled to record an album, Prince had intended this song for their use. However, after bringing Sheila E. into the fold, he switch the song over to her.  2) Nicole Richie is actually Sheila E.'s biological niece. Yes, originally she was Nicole Escovedo and was the daughter of Sheila's brother Peter. So how did she become a Richie? Back when she was very young, her parents didn't have the means to support a child. Peter had been friends with Lionel Richie and Richie agreed to let Nicole live with him and his wife. By the time Nicole was nine, Richie had officially adopted her.

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