Wednesday, July 12, 2017

"The Belle of St. Mark" by Sheila E.

Song#:  2098
Date:  10/27/1984
Debut:  89
Peak:  34
Weeks:  15
Genre:  R&B, Pop

Pop Bits:  Prince assisted his latest protégé Sheila E. with her debut solo album and it resulted in a Top 10 hit. The title track to her debut album The Glamorous Life got to #7 Pop, #9 R&B and #1 Dance. Next up was this track that served as the album's opener. Although it got inside the Pop Top 40, it wasn't as successful as her first hit. It did worse at R&B where the tune could only manage a #68 showing. Dance skipped this one altogether this time around. However, the title hit was enough to sent the album into gold territory.

ReduxReview:  This has Prince all over it. The production and even the androgynous lyrics (she sings he/him/man throughout, but he's referred to as the "Belle," which is feminine) are indicative of the Purple One's touch. It's a fun, jaunty tune that bubbles along in a similar fashion to Prince's own "Delirious." It also has a innocent quality to it with parts of the tune nearly sounding like a children's song. It's fine, but not nearly as good or catchy as "Glamorous Life."

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Prince was never a standard artist in any way, shape, or form. He always had to be different and that extended to his songwriting credits. For the most part, on his own recordings he used Prince for the songwriting credit. However, when he gave songs to other artists, he wouldn't always use his own name. Sometimes it would be a pseudonym, such as Alexander Nevermind, Joey Coco, or simply Christopher. Other times, he wouldn't even take a credit as in the case with this song. If you look at The Glamorous Life album, it will show that the songwriter of this tune is Sheila E, but that is not the case. For whatever reason, Prince let Sheila E. get the credit even though he actually wrote it. The same can be said for tunes on the Apollonia 6 album as well songs done by The Time. However, when it came to getting paid, that was a different story. According to the royalty distribution organization ASCAP, these songs (including "The Belle of St. Mark") were written by Prince and any funds generated from the songs go to him. Why he would give the printed credit to other artists is not fully known. Perhaps he didn't want to draw attention to himself so that the artist could get themselves established without his name attached. Or maybe he wasn't that thrilled with the songs and didn't want people to know he wrote them. Whatever the case, it didn't really matter as folks found out he was behind these anyway. Just another mysterious Princely move.


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