Sunday, January 9, 2011

R.I.P. Teena Marie

I got back to the U.S. a few days ago, only to find out some troubling news: Teena Marie passed away at age 54 on December 26 in her Pasadena home. They're not quite sure how she died. Teena Marie had one of those voices that completely filled a space, even if you listened to her on your stereo. She was so underrated, one of the voices of the 80s. And she wasn't like other legends; you didn't buy her later albums just because you remembered the good old days. Her last several albums had all the spark of her work in the 80s, with an updated sound. Even more impressive, she wrote, produced and played keyboards and guitar on a lot of her songs. I'm truly kicking myself for not seeing her in concert last year.

Rick James was her mentor beginning in the late 70s, and the mentor-mentee relationship later turned into a romantic one, one that raised a lot of eyebrows, as Rick James was notoriously wild. Here are some of my favorite Teena Marie songs, including a fantastic duet with Rick James:

(one of my favorite dance-around-in-my-underwear-when-no one's-looking songs)

Rest in peace, Ivory Queen of Soul.

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