Friday, February 08, 2013
AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Teena Marie
Blue Eyed Soul has been around since the 60s. Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers was probably the first white singer that was thought to be black. Such was the case with Teena Marie courtesy of her mentor and producer Rick James. Teena was a fixture on the R & B charts in the 80s but Lovergirl was her only top five pop hit in 1984. She also wrote and produced most of her own music. She was born Mary Christine Brockert Mar. 5, 1956 in Santa Monica, CA. Her family nickname was Tina. She started performing as a child and appeared in an episode of the TV series The Beverly Hillbillies. Her family moved to an area in Los Angeles known as Black Venice and this is where she learned soul music as a teen. She was leading her own band when she met Motown house producer Hal Davis in 1976. Davis brought Brenda Holloway to Motown. They signed Teena and planned to star her in a movie. But that fell through and then Motown had to figure out what to do with her. Fortunately, Rick James spotted her and decided to work with her instead of Diana Ross. She was to be called Teena Tryson which was changed to Teena Marie. Her first top ten R & B hit I'm A Sucker For Your Love was a duet with James. Radio stations hadn't seen Teena so they thought she was black. They found out otherwise when James brought her on to Soul Train. She was the first white artist to appear on Soul Train and appeared several more times. Teena became a fixture on the R & B charts. She recorded four albums for Motown and then got into a dispute with them over upcoming releases and control. They thought they could just leave her sitting doing nothing as punishment. She got out of her contract and signed with Epic Records. Lovergirl was from her second album for Epic Starchild in 1984. It topped the Billboard Hot 100. It only reached #9 on the R & B Singles chart. Her 1986 album Emerald City strayed towards rock music and didn't do as well. But she returned to R & B with the 1988 album Naked To The World and the single Ooo La La La was her biggest R & B hit. Then Teena faded and left Epic in 1990. This Universal budget CD is the only comp that covers both Motown and Epic years reasonably well. She also gave birth to her daughter Alia Rose. In the 90s, she concentrated on raising her daughter and was unable to get a major label record deal until she signed with Cash Money in 2004. She released two CDs and then released Congo Square on Stax in 2009. It wasn't like the 80s but she did OK and she performed regularly in Las Vegas. In 2004, Teena Marie suffered a concussion when while sleeping in a hotel room, a picture frame fell on her. She continued to have seizures and one of those seizures killed her on Dec. 26, 2010 at age 54. A very shocking and tragic death. She had mostly finished a new CD. Teena's daughter Alia Rose, who sings as Rose LeBeau, finished the album and Beautiful was released last week. Here's the video for Lovergirl by Teena Marie.