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Like her fellow Scotswoman, Annie Lennox, the bonnie Sheena of the Eastons is much funkier a lady than her translucent Celtic skin would suggest. It wasn’t for nothing that Prince duetted with her on “U Got the Look” and wrote her the song “Sugar Walls,” which had the honor of being named one of the “Filthy Fifteen” by Tipper Gore and pals. (This is the second time in four posts that I have mentioned Prince…there will certainly be more.) Yet when one thinks of the trash queens of the 80s – like Samantha Fox, Stacey Q, and of course, La Ciccone – Sheena’s name doesn’t normally come up. Sleaze rolls right off of her. She’s Daddy’s little porcelain blow-up doll.
What Olivia Newton-John did with “Physical” – successfully playing off her wholesome, accented Anglophone image with a late disco come-on tune (which I’ll bet money was originally written for a man, BTW) – Sheena did several times, as her music got blacker and blacker. Was something going on in her personal life? Had she found her g-spot? Started hanging out with Grace Jones? As the songs got more rhythm-n-bluesy, they also became more confrontational: she went from waiting at home for the guy who took the morning train to leaving pissy “telefone” messages for him. Next thing we knew, she was giving the kiss-off to a creepy role-player in “Strut” but encouraging some other lucky dude to “take advantage” in the song that might turn all women gay, “Sugar Walls.” Talk about a politically incorrect wet dream – a kick-ass sister in an alabaster package! Sadly, after parlaying her white girl funk into a recurring role on multiracial cop show MIAMI VICE, Miz Easton seriously damaged her street cred by doing cartoon voiceovers for movies like ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN 2 and becoming a celebrity replacement in Broadway musicals. Sheena, where’s the lover in you now?
*A RELATED NOTE: The Parents Music Resource Center, aka PMRC, is the jolly group of DC moms who pushed for warning labels on music. In order to demonstrate the need for such a thing, the organization compiled a list of fifteen songs, the aforementioned Filthy Fifteen, that represented the vilest in pop (including three written by – guess who??? – Prince!). Sure, there are a few tracks on there that probably shouldn’t be in a 10-year-old’s record collection – “Strap on Robbie Baby,” for example, or “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)” – but do we seriously need to protect impressionable youngsters from Madonna’s “Dress You Up”? (All over, all over…) Does “We’re Not Gonna Take It” really constitute an incitement to riot? Did anyone under 12 even understand what the hell “She-Bop” was actually about?