A Love Bizarre
by Sheila E. (featuring Prince)

Album: Romance 1600 (1985)
Charted: 76 11

Songfacts®:

  • Written by Prince and Sheila E., this duet between the Purple One and his protégée appeared as a 12-minute dance groove on Sheila's sophomore album, Romance 1600. It was cut down to 3 minutes and 46 seconds for radio but retained its funky energy, which took the single to #11 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance chart. It also peaked at #2 R&B.
  • Like her father, Latin jazz star Pete Escovedo, Sheila E. began her career as a percussionist, backing a number of big names like Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock, Diana Ross, and Lionel Richie. She was performing alongside her dad when Prince first met her in 1978. He had just released his own debut album, For You, and was poised to become a superstar with his self-titled release the following year. Convinced Sheila had the potential to be a solo star, Prince eventually took her under his purple wing and invited her to drum in his band and sing on tracks for his 1984 Purple Rain album. That same year, he wrote and produced her breakthrough hit, "The Glamorous Life."
  • Sheila accompanied Prince on the Purple Rain tour, where they came up with the idea for the sensual track. "We wrote the song on the 'Purple Rain' tour," she told New Musical Express in 1986. "Most of the time we're together is spent writing. Backstage he usually has a piano so he'll get an idea and then I'll switch on the drum machine. That one came together very quickly."

    But it went on... and on, clocking in at 12 minutes and 16 seconds. "Sometimes when we're recording we watch the clock and switch off when it's getting too long. What happened with 'A Love Bizarre' was that the beat was so good we just went on and on because it felt right," she said.
  • The basic tracks were recorded at Cheshire Sound Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, during a tour stop in the first week of January 1985.
  • Sheila performed this, along with "Holly Rock," in the 1985 movie Krush Groove, which was based on the rise of Def Jam Recordings. The music video features scenes from the film.
  • In the lyrics, Sheila wants to indulge in a no-holds-barred sexual fantasy or "a love bizarre." Lines like "It gets kinda rough in the back of our limousine" set off sirens with the morality police, who had been dogging Prince since he released "Darling Nikki" (in response to the sexually explicit Purple Rain track, Tipper Gore founded the Parents Music Resource Center, a music watchdog group that slapped Parental Advisory Stickers on offending content). Like her mentor, Sheila wasn't deterred by the fuss. "What I'm doing is talking about what I want to talk about, I mean it's a free country and if people don't like it they don't have to listen to it," she said. "I'm not saying things that nobody else is doing. Everybody is in love, has sex, it's just an everyday thing and there's nothing bad about it. If it wasn't for God making Adam and Eve and them having sex then none of us would be here."
  • Prince's bass guitar part samples the French traditional folk song "Frere Jacques."
  • Sheila E. sang this, along with "Holly Rock," on the November 16, 1985 episode of Saturday Night Live.
  • This was used on the TV series Pose in the 2019 episode "Never Knew Love Like This Before."

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