“The Glamorous Life” by Sheila E. (1984)

Prince’s demo version of “The Glamorous Life” (released on the Originals set earlier this year) is illuminating if only because it provided proof of what he brought to the table on this song, and what Sheila E. added. His soon-to-be protege shaded in what was already a monster track with her powerful percussion. The end result was an all-time classic dance jam, with some of Prince’s most mature and interesting lyrics. “Glamorous” further outdid many of its contemporaries in the Purple canon by adding horns to the mix. Eddie Minifield’s sax playing sizzles here.

(stops for a second to ponder the loss of the sax solo in popular music.)

Back to those lyrics for a second. Prince is so multi-talented that lyric writing might not even be in the top five of things he does well (which is not to say he’s a bad lyricist at all, in case you were wondering.) “The Glamorous Life” does a fantastic job at telling a story. “Boys with small talk and small minds really don’t impress me in bed” is a genius lyric. So, is the line about the song’s protagonist meeting a guy in “the section marked ‘if you have to ask, you can’t afford it’ lingerie’. When a witty pen meets a slammin’ groove, you know you’ve got a winner.

There’s a lengthy list of Prince proteges and a lengthier list of songs Prince wrote that were eventually recorded by other artists. “The Glamorous Life” and Sheila E. rank near the top of both lists.

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