Sunday, May 2, 2010

Midnight Meanderings: Will Smith, Patrice Rushen, & Prince

Will Smith, as most folks know, sampled Patrice Rushen's "Forget Me Nots" for the "Men in Black" theme. I'm posting both here, the MIB video, which has one of my favorite dance scenes, and the Dance Mix of Rushen's song. I wore that record out when it came out. Gah! This is what happens when I stay up too late. I start going down memory lane and posting YouTube music.



Uh, I'm convinced that the thingy that Will flashes at you at the end of the video and that he and Tommy Lee Jones flashed at humans to make them forget is a phallic symbol. Think about that. What were the men who made this movie really saying with that?

I told you. It's late at night. Bear with me. For the record, the flower pictured here is a Forget-Me-Not, "a Myosotis (pronounced /ˌmaɪ.əˈsoʊtɪs/;[1] from the Greek: "mouse's ear", after the leaf)," species sylvatica.

Moving onto Patrice Rushen, I remember reading that Prince had a crush on her back in the day. Somebody over at Prince.org, however, says he never had a crush on Rushen. He only admired her music. Uh, Dude! Read the liner notes sometimes.
One of the songs Prince wrote in 1979 was actually inspired by, and intended a demo for, Patrice Rushen. Despite a serious crush on the singer/keyboardist he didn't get the song on her album. But he did gain a friend and his first gold record. While I WANNA BE YOUR LOVER was atop the R&B charts and threatening the pop Top Ten, Warner Bros. shipped PRINCE. Sometimes criticized for being too slick, or even derivative, in retrospect there is something decent that can be said for all of the nine songs on Prince's sophomore album. For the purpose of this collection we will limit our focus to its other R&B hit, WHY YOU WANNA TREAT ME SO BAD? and another detoured Rushen demo, I FEEL FOR YOU. The latter is significant in suggesting how commercially Prince could disciple himself to write when the song was aimed at an artist other than himself. Ironically, it was still another female vocalist, diva Chaka Khan, who finally place the song on the charts in 1984. (From Hits, the B Sides.)
Speaking of liner notes, that's something that we hardly see anymore since the music world is going digital.



And now I feel it's only fitting to post Chaka Khan singing "I Feel for You," one of the Prince songs Rushen turned down. It was a smash hit for Chaka in 1984, and one of the coolest things on the song was rapper Mellee Mel saying her name twice at the beginning of the record, but I read tonight that that was a production error and not intentional. You can see him performing it live here at the 27th Grammys. By that time the repeating of her name stayed.



Years later Prince, who recorded and released the song first, performed it live on BET with Chaka and Stevie Wonder. Great clip, but who dressed Chaka that night?

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