Tag Archives: Sheila E.

Remembering Prince

Usually on Thursdays I post a Throwback Thursday playlist spotlighting a particular year in music. In light of today’s sad news, I’m posting a playlist of songs written or produced by the late great Prince.


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When Sheila E. Met Prince

In 1978, Pete Escovedo was a member of Santana’s band. While the group was holed up in a Bay Area recording studio working on a project, a young artist from Minneapolis was in the neighboring studio. Carlos Santana and Escovedo were impressed with the kid’s abilities – writing, producing and playing all of the instruments on the album he was recording. Hearing them sing this guy’s praises, Escovedo’s daughter Sheila, a talented musician in her own right, remarked that she’d like to meet him.

She did meet him the following year. She attended a performance of his and went backstage to introduce herself. It turns out he knew who she was and was already a fan of her work. That is when Prince met percussionist Sheila Escovedo, who he later christened Sheila E.

Though she had reservations about being a lead vocalist, Prince persuaded Sheila E. to do a solo album. He wrote songs for her, including the record’s title track, a song inspired by and originally intended for Apollonia. That song, “The Glamorous Life,” hit the top ten on the US pop and r&b charts and went to #1 on the dance chart.

Ringo + Sheila E2
Tunes du Jour celebrates Sheila E’s birthday with this twenty-track playlist.


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It’s Q-Tip’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Here’s the thing…I started writing today’s blog entry about mishaps I’ve recently encountered in on-line dating, specifically with an app I downloaded last week that despite my creating a profile that says I’m a man looking for a man, keeps trying to set me up with straight guys. I tied that into today’s birthday, Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, by saying he’s one straight guy who wouldn’t date me. I quoted lyrics from Tribe’s song “Georgy Porgy.” While I was typing those lyrics, my stomach turned. I had trouble finding the humor in a song that refers to a gay guy as gross, ill, a fag, wounded, weak, a fucking faggot, and then some. The post started out funny but when I got to Q-Tip’s lyric “You can call me homophobic but I know it and you know it/ you’re filthy and funny to the utmost,” I decided I may be funny, but he isn’t, nor is he worth celebrating.

Odd that such a hateful bigot should appear on a record by Deee-Lite, a trio of gay and gay-friendly performers. Q-Tip appears on a lot of good records.

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Today’s playlist doesn’t celebrate the loathsome Q-Tip, but rather twenty great club tracks, a few of which feature Q-Tip. I’ll fill you in on my dating app experiences later.


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Throwback Thursday – The Hits of 1984

Madonna debuted “Like a Virgin” with a performance on the MTV Video Music Awards in September 1984, weeks before the record was released. Watching her on television rolling around the floor in a wedding dress with a Boy Toy belt buckle, the song’s writers, Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, thought “We’re doomed now. This is an embarrassment. This is never going to succeed.”

“Like a Virgin” spent six weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, her first single to top that chart.

Kelly and Steinberg didn’t meet Madonna until around five years later. At a party they saw her, and asked Steve Bray, who wrote Madonna’s hit “Into the Groove,” to introduce them.

Bray did so. “Madonna, I want you to meet Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. They wrote ‘Like a Virgin.’”

Steinberg said “Oh Madonna, I’ve wanted to meet you for so long.”

Madonna replied “Well, now you did,” and walked away.

“Like a Virgin” kicks off this week’s Throwback Thursday playlist, spotlighting the hits of 1984.


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It’s Ana Matronic’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

“A kiki is a party, for calming all your nerves
We’re spilling tea, and dishing just deserts when they deserve
And though the sun is rising, few may choose to leave”

It’s Friday and I need to dance, but you already know that.

I’ve always enjoyed going out clubbing, especially in the early nineties. Some Fridays and many Saturdays I’d go with whoever I was then dating or a good friend to The Roxy or The Limelight or Twilo (though Twilo may have come into being a few years into the nineties) or that club on Sixth Avenue around 15th Street whose name escapes me at the moment or that bar/club/fire hazard in the East Village or The Saint. In New York, the clubs didn’t close at 2 AM or 4 AM. They stayed open. There were times we wouldn’t leave until 8 or 9 the next morning. As that was breakfast time, we’d head for a diner (a “coffee shop” in the local parlance, before coffee shop meant a place like Starbucks) to eat before heading home to sleep. Watching people start their Sunday before we even finished our Saturday made me feel so alive. I’m here on this earth and taking advantage of it.

It’s been a long time since I stayed out all night. Though I cherish the memories, I can’t say I miss doing so. That may be because I haven’t hit upon a club that plays music I’d like to dance to for hours on end. The exception is Oil Can Harry’s, a dive in Studio City that hosts classic disco night on Saturdays. I love me some classic disco, and can stay there until closing if classic disco and post-disco 80s house was all that was played. For some reason, the DJ throws on Rihanna or other contemporary acts between midnight and 1. That’s my cue to leave. Nothing against Rihanna – she has many fun club songs – but it throws me off after I’ve been grooving to Donna Summer and KC & the Sunshine Band and Chic to suddenly be brought back to the 2010s.

If they didn’t call it Classic Disco Night, if they mixed up the eras and genres throughout the evening, that would be welcome. Seventies disco, eighties house, nineties alternative, aughts pop – take the best of each and mix ‘em up. I’ll leave when the sun comes up.

I’d love to DJ there. This way I can play the music that would keep me going all night.

Every Friday Tunes du Jour posts a slice of such playlists. Today’s slice kicks off with “Let’s Have a Kiki,” performed by Scissor Sisters, whose Ana Matronic turns 41 today.


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It’s Paula Abdul’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

I was in my convertible car with my then-friend Victor, sitting in traffic on La Cienega Boulevard just below Sunset. It was late afternoon or evening a few months after I moved to Los Angeles. A convertible containing two young ladies pulled out of a parking garage onto La Cienega. They stopped next to us. One of the women excitedly told us “The lakers won!”

Victor and I looked at the lass and then each other. Neither of us knew to what she was referring. What is a laker? Someone who works on a lake, obviously, but what do they do on/to the lake? Was there an ongoing lake workers’ strike that finally ended when their greedy overlords caved in to their demands? Did the lake workers pool their money to buy Powerball tickets and succeed in matching each number? Who are these lakers, what did they win, and how does this benefit Victor and me?

That we didn’t respond quickly and with equal enthusiasm upset the woman who shared with us this news. “I was going to tell you guys you’re cute, but I changed my mind.” Oh, darn. The traffic moved and off we went. I made a left on Sunset; the woman went right.

Victor and I went for chocolate malts at Mel’s Drive-In, where we learned that the Lakers are a local basketball team. Oh, those Lakers! I heard of them. They gave us Paula Abdul. She was an LA Lakers cheerleader before she became a well-known choreographer/”singer”/reality show judge. If only those ladies said to Victor and me “The basketball team for which Paula Abdul was a cheerleader in the early eighties won a game today,” they may have gotten lucky with two cute guys.

Today Paula Abdul turns 53 years old. We kick off our weekly dance party with “Straight Up.”


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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance! – College Reunion Edition

Brandeis ID
On the Facebook page for my thirty-year college reunion, which is coming up this June, someone brought up the music that reminds them of our college days. Many posts followed, naming songs that remind us of shared experiences at Brandeis University in the first half of the 1980s.

That post inspired today’s playlist. Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour, and today I present 50 songs we danced to in the Usdan Ballroom at Brandeis University between the fall of 1981 and the spring of 1985. It was a great time for popular music. These songs have stood the test of time.

Have a great weekend!

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It’s Sheila E’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Prince wrote the song “The Glamorous Life” for the Apollonia 6 album. According to Apollonia, he wrote the song about her. Per Nilsen, who has written a couple of book about Prince, quotes Apollonia as saying “He used to make all these stupid jokes, ‘You’re the kind of chick who would wear a mink coat in the summertime.’ To this day I don’t have my own mink coat!”

Prince ended up giving the song to Sheila E. for her debut solo album. Prior to meeting Prince Sheila worked with Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Billy Cobham, Jeffrey Osborne, Con Funk Shun, and her dad, Pete Escovedo.

In 1984 “The Glamorous Life” hit #7 on the pop chart, #9 on the r&b chart, and #1 on the dance chart.

Ringo + Sheila E
Today Sheila E. turns 57 years old. We kick off our weekly dance party with her first hit single.

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Glenn’s Ten (11-18-14)

Greetings, readers! Today we check in with Glenn’s Ten, the list of my ten favorite current songs at this moment.

There are no changes in my top three. For the third week in a row, Tove Lo is at #1 with “Habits,” Banks is at #2 with “Beggin for Thread,” and George Ezra is #3 with “Budapest.” Entering this week’s top ten is Father John Misty’s “Bored in the USA” at #4, Les Sins’ “Bother” at #5, and Belle & Sebastian’s “The Party Line” at #8. This is the first time in Glenn’s Ten for Misty and Les Sins (who also records under the name Toro y Moi). I haven’t published Glenn’s Ten in the blog for a few weeks, so there are a few other songs that will appear to be new entries to those of you keeping score at home.

Here is Glenn’s Ten for this week:
1 – “Habits (Stay High)” – Tove Lo
2 – “Beggin for Thread” – Banks
3 – “Budapest” – George Ezra
4 – “Bored in the U.S.A.” – Father John Misty
5 – “Bother” – Les Sins
6 – “Inside Out” – Spoon
7 – “Let Me Down Easy” – Paolo Nutini
8 – “The Party Line” – Belle & Sebastian
9 – “Cedar Lane” – First Aid Kit
10 – “Low Key” – Tweedy

Today’s playlist are the above ten tracks followed by ten songs that were #1 on this date in Glenn’s Ten history.

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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

There was an article on the site Gawker yesterday about a woman named Zoe Fennessy who, when she hears the music of Ne-Yo, “freezes up and begins vomiting uncontrollably.” You may say the same thing happens to you when you listen to Nickelback, but Ms. Fennessy’s reaction to Ne-Yo’s music is due to a rare medical condition called musicogenic epilepsy.

Some of you may be saying “Who’s Ne-Yo? Is he/she/they someone whose music gets played a lot?” The answer is, apparently. Since his first hit in 2006 (“So Sick,” which went to #1 on the US and UK pop charts), Ne-Yo has had 17 top forty hits on the US pop chart and a half-dozen more on the r&b chart. He has had just as many hits in the UK, where Fennessy lives.

Ne-Yo isn’t the only artist to cause seizures in people with this condition. Around ten years ago there was a report of a six-month-old who had seizures when she heard The Beatles. The Beatles! That shit ain’t right, yo. One may get a reaction from all classical music, another from the lower notes played on a brass instrument.

The reactions people with the condition have vary as well. Some have convulsions, others become incontinent, and others become incredibly sleepy.

Ms. Fennessy had part of her brain removed to try and cure the problem, but the operation was not a success. She still needs to steer clear of Ne-Yo’s music.

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour, and if Ms. Fennessy is reading, she’ll be happy to know there is no Ne-Yo on today’s playlist, which kicks off with the Jason Nevins remix of “It’s Like That” by Run-D.M.C., whose Joseph “Run” Simmons turns 50 today.

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