Fire And Desire
by Rick James (featuring Teena Marie)

Album: Street Songs (1981)
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Songfacts®:

  • Running 7:19, this slow jam is a duet between Rick James and Teena Marie. It starts with James in a long spoken section seeing her again for the first time in a while. He has a new lady now, but still burns hot for her; she's the one who got him to give up his cold blooded ways toward women and put pleasure before pain.

    When Teena Marie comes in, we learn that the feeling is mutual: she still has that fire and desire for him as well. They're both seeing other people and aren't ready to give that up, so they agree to just hold each other like they used to once more.
  • "Fire And Desire" was never released as a single but built a huge following and has become one of Rick James' most popular songs. It got loads of airplay in the late '80s and early '90s when it became a staple of the "quiet storm" format, with radio stations running blocks of romantic R&B songs. Unlike traditional formats where shorter songs are favored, the quiet storm can't be rushed, so a 7-minute song was no problem.
  • Many who heard Teena Marie on this track were surprised to learn she was white. She appears on two other tracks from the Street Songs album as well, singing backup on "Give It to Me Baby" and "Mr. Policeman." In 1984 she had her biggest hit with "Lovergirl."
  • Rick James and Teena Marie performed this at the 2004 BET Awards, where it brought the house down. It was James' last performance; he died suddenly five weeks later at 56. Marie died just six years later at 54.
  • The song gets a jazz flourish near the end when a vibraphone comes in, played by Donny Keider.
  • Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell sing this in the 1994 Martin episode "Break Up to Make Up." Campbell could really sing: She released an album in 1993.

    "Fire And Desire" also appears in the movies Booty Call (1997) and King's Ransom (2005).

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