February 1, 2011

Prince's Girl Groups: Apollonia 6 and Vanity 6

Let's appreciate some extraordinarily bad music. In the 1984 Prince-vehicle and bonafide cult classic Purple Rain, Prince's love interest is played by Patricia "Apollonia" Kotero. Apollonia, a virtual unknown at the time, was brought in to replace Denise "Vanity" Matthews—a nude model, Canadian B-movie star, and former Prince girlfriend who resigned from the role at the last minute. Apollonia and Vanity's duties—both on and off screen—were to lead an all-female pop trio created by Prince. Prince's initial idea was to call the group the Hookers, dress them in lingerie, and have Matthews go by the stage name "Vagina." While the names didn't stick, the lingerie did.

Pre-Purple Rain in 1982, Vanity 6 (the "six" supposedly representing the performers' total breast count) released their self-titled debut, featuring the small hit "Nasty Girl." After the departure of Matthews/Vanity—who later in the 1990s almost died from smoking crack cocaine, renounced the "Vanity" moniker," and became a born-again Christian preacher—and the wild success of Purple Rain, Apollonia and company released the only Apollonia 6 album in 1984 (please take note of the absurdly placed teddy bear on the album's cover).

Prince is one of pop music's all-time greatest songwriters and performers and albums like Purple Rain, 1999 and Sign O The Times are perhaps some of the best albums ever made. But there's no question he was stretching his role as sexual provocateur with this trio, as the songs—which he wrote—play more like a Saturday Night Live sketch than Top 40 pop. But that doesn't mean absurdity and bad taste shouldn't be appreciated.

Vanity 6 - "Vibrator" (unreleased)
Apollonia 6 - "Sex Shooter" (from Apollonia 6)

Prince originally wrote "Manic Monday" for Apollonia 6, but opted to give it to the Bangles instead two years later.

Apollonia 6 - "Manic Monday" (unreleased)

Prince

4 comments:

  1. I love Prince, but the Manic Monday thing is new to me. Thanks.

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  2. wow. thank you for this.

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  3. Thanks for posting!

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  4. Thank you for these.
    Am hoping to find the remainder of the tracks too.

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