Young Prince

Holy mackerel.  I thought I was well-informed on the topic of Prince’s ubiquity as a songwriter and svengali, but I have recently discovered that his influence is even greater and more terrifying than I previously believed.  Now everyone knows that he wrote “Nothing Compares 2 U” (see Gen-X-Cavation 1), and most people (who matter) know that he made a star of underfed percussionista Sheila E.  It’s also far from a secret that he created two girl groups, Vanity 6 and Apollonia 6 (Vanity is far superior – yes, for real) and had some musical fun with Scots lassie Sheena Easton (see Gen-X-Cavation 4).  Some of you die-hard trivia junkies might even be aware that we have Prince to “thank” for the phenom that is Carmen Electra (though even he couldn’t make anything remotely musical out of her).

Apparently VH-1 Classic has, alas, gone the same route as its parent channels and relegated actual videos to the dead of night; luckily, that’s a time of day I cherish.  Old episodes of Pop-Up Video (though that’s redundant, because there aren’t any new episodes) revealed the following, not entirely shocking facts:

Chaka Khan’s “I Feel for You” (1984) was written by…PRINCE.  Actually, anyone who’s heard the entirety of Prince’s 1979 album would know this, since he originally recorded it himself…but that’s not a lot of people.  Still, I pride myself on knowing shit even about records I haven’t heard and films I haven’t seen, so this revelation was something of a surprise.  Also, it proves there was a time when the Purple One knew how to write the words “for” and “you.”

Martika’s “Toy Soldiers” (1989) was not written or produced by Prince…but her 1991 album, Martika’s Kitchen, was.  Not that I had any idea, prior to seeing this weekend’s rerun of Pop-Up Video, that this album even existed, but I think they loved it in Australia.  To me, this is evidence that my obsession with “Toy Soldiers” is not a sign of incurable brain disease.  Even Prince thought she had something going on.  Then again…can I say Carmen Electra?

BONUS INFO: For those who, like me, can’t possibly get enough of the Vanity 6, seek out the art of Douglas Bourgeois.  This Louisiana-based painter incorporates numerous pop-culture figures into his canvases, including Aretha Franklin, Queen Latifah, and Susan Moonsie, one of Vanity’s backup girls, who gets her own portrait in Bourgeois’ oeuvre.