Sunday, September 24, 2017

"Sugar Walls" by Sheena Easton

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2172
Date:  12/22/1984
Debut:  60
Peak:  9
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Pop, R&B, Dance

Pop Bits:  Easton returned to the Pop Top 10 for the fifth time with "Strut" (#7), the first single from her album A Private Heaven. It showcased a new sound and attitude from the star and the results were positive. However, the controversy over this next single nearly overshadowed her previous hit. Written by Prince, the lyrics to "Sugar Walls" certainly set off the naughty alarm for a lot of people including Tipper Gore and the PMRC. They deemed it sexually explicit and quickly added to their infamous "Filthy Fifteen" list of songs. They were not the only ones to call foul on the tune. Several TV broadcasters refused to show the video for the song not based on visuals, but lyrical content. The hubbub over the song attracted attention and combined with Easton coming off of a hit and Prince's involvement, the song climbed into the Top 10. It was also a big hit at Dance getting to #1 while reaching #3 at R&B (the first of Easton's two R&B Top 10's).

ReduxReview:  Oooo, Ms. Easton gets all nasty and catches flack for it! In one way it wasn't really right because it was a total double standard. There were many songs (some of them hits) where the male member and what it produces was certainly cheekily referred to in other terms. But use a euphemism about a woman's coochie and world goes ballistic! It was unfair. Prince was also a target for this stuff, so that didn't help. In regards to this song, there are times when Prince writes sexy stuff, but goes overboard nearly into self-parody (i.e., the awful "Sex Shooter"). However, he refrains from that here and comes up with an oddball hit for Easton. I wouldn't list this alongside Prince's best works, but it's a solid effort from him and it strangely fit Easton quite well, which is probably why he continued to work with her.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Easton got hooked up with Prince thanks to her engineer David Leonard, who was working on both Easton's LP and Purple Rain. Easton asked Leonard if he could pass a note to Prince regarding a possible collaboration. Much to her surprise, Prince sent over the backing tracks to this song and Easton love it. She got in contact with Prince and he invited her over to his studio to record the tune. It would be the first at least four collaborations between the two which included the 1987 #2 duet "U Got the Look." Although it has never been fully confirmed, rumors have it that the two briefly dated.  2) Like many tracks that Prince wrote and gave to other artists, he used a pseudonym for the writing credit. In the case of this song, he used Alexander Nevermind. It would be the only song for which he would use that moniker for the writing credit. And despite being the actual producer of the song, Prince let the credit go to the album's producer Greg Mathieson.


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