Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Apollonia 6 - Apollonia 6

Today (October 1st) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Apollonia 6, the self-titled only release from the three girl trio of Apollonia (Patricia) Kotero, Susan Moonsie, and Brenda Bennett. Moonsie and Bennett had previously been two-thirds of the group Vanity 6, while Apollonia was cast as the female lead for Purple Rain. As the last of the spin-off albums from that film, this one spent seventeen weeks on the US Billboard Album chart and peaked at number 62.

Musicians on the record included Prince (who assembled the group, and produced the album), Wendy Melvoin (on guitar), Lisa Coleman (on keyboards), Mark Brown (on bass), Sheila E. (on drums and percussion) and Jill Jones (on backing vocals).

Side one opens with “Happy Birthday, Mr. Christian”, a breathy number about a teenaged student and her overly attentive teacher. The slow tempo tune features some quirky synth experimentation. Apollonia even does a Marilyn Monroe tribute towards the end of the song, and Prince even sneaks in a two bar riff of the “happy birthday” song.

“Sex Shooter”, the first single, went to number 85 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 7 on both the US Billboard Dance and R&B charts. This tawdry teaser, performed by the ladies in the movie, has a heavy, funky groove that was later expanded upon with an extended dance single.

The second single “Blue Limousine” drove to number 19 on the US Billboard R&B chart. The musical foundation of the cascading synths of the chorus on this one would reappear a year later on the song “Toy Box” from Sheila E.’s second album Romance 1600. The lyrics tell of a girl who has apparently been stood up by her rich boyfriend.

Side two begins with “A Million Miles (I Love You)”, a mid-tempo dance track that questions how far someone would go for love. Prince can clearly be heard in the background vocals here, and Sheila E. is given some room for a drum solo.

The girls gear up for some late night goofing around at a slumber party on “Ooo She She Wa Wa”. When the music kicks in, it has a quick pounding beat.

The B-side to the second single was “Some Kind of Lover”, a throwback R&B jam that sounds like it stepped out of the 70’s. It then culminates into a moaning, orgasmic end.

“In a Spanish Villa”, the closing track, was also the B-side to the first single.

There were a number of notable Prince penned tracks that had been slated for Apollonia 6 but ended up elsewhere. Prince recorded “17 Days” and released it as the B-side to the single for “When Doves Cry”. “The Glamourous Life” ended up being the title track and first hit single for Sheila E. “Manic Monday” ended up going to the Bangles around the time Prince was dating Susanna Hoffs.

As a Prince completest, of course I have Apollonia 6 in my music library. While the vocals are a bit limited, the best part for me are the compositions. It is always fun to see Prince experimenting with sounds and styles, outputting in a number of different avenues.

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