Romance 1600

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Romance 1600
Studio album by Sheila E.
Released August 12, 1985
Recorded 1984–1985
Genre Funk, pop, R&B
Length 38:59
Label Paisley Park/Warner Bros.
Producer Sheila E.
Sheila E. chronology
The Glamorous Life
Romance 1600
Sheila E.
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau (B)[2]

Romance 1600 is the second album from singer-drummer-percussionist Sheila E.. Although Prince wrote and played on the whole album, other than the instrumental "Merci for the Speed of a Mad Clown in Summer", the only track he is credited for openly on the album sleeve itself is "A Love Bizarre", which was co-written and produced with Sheila E. and is a duet between the pair. The song, a 12-minute epic, became a major hit in its edited radio-friendly form.

During her hiatus, she had garnered a lot of exposure via the media, including appearing in the movie Krush Groove, in which she performed "A Love Bizarre" and "Holly Rock". She had also performed for a wide audience as an act on Prince and The Revolution's Purple Rain Tour.

The video for "Sister Fate" (the album's lead single) introduced a new image of the performer: a somewhat female-Prince influenced protégée. "Sister Fate"'s B-side featured the cryptic protest song "Save the Children". However, the album itself featured many tracks that were personal and help to support the embodiment of the thematic faux-French Renaissance episodic adventure that the lead single's video and the album art intended to set up for the listening audience.[citation needed]

This concept-theme album became a staple within Prince's camp at the time, which saw Prince inspired by a more glamorous, high fashion stylized image, which included Romance 1600, along with The Family's self-titled debut album, and his own 1986 release, the soundtrack album Parade. This marked a clear visual departure from the more "street tough" image of the Minneapolis sound acts from his pre-Purple Rain success, namely The Time and Vanity 6.[citation needed] Although the album received mixed reviews, "A Love Bizarre" was the album's biggest hit single. On January 28, 1986, the album was certified Gold by the RIAA.[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Prince, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Sister Fate"   3:50
2. "Dear Michaelangelo"   4:38
3. "A Love Bizarre" (Prince and Sheila E.) 12:18
Side two
No. Title Length
4. "Toy Box"   5:32
5. "Yellow"   2:11
6. "Romance 1600"   3:56
7. "Merci for the Speed of a Mad Clown in Summer" (Sheila E.) 2:47
8. "Bedtime Story"   3:45


  • Sheila E. – lead vocals, percussion, drums, strings, bass guitar, keyboards, arranger, producer, writer
  • Juan Escovedo – percussion (tracks 3 and 8)
  • Eddie M. – background vocals (tracks 3 and 4); saxophone (tracks 1–4; 6–8)
  • Ken Grey – organ (track 1)
  • Stef Burns – guitar (tracks 2 and 8)
  • Karl Perazzo – bongos (track 6)
  • Prince – guitar, bass (tracks 3 and 4); vocals, arranger, producer, writer; vocals (track 5)
  • Micheal Weaver – background vocals (track 4)
  • Stef Birnbaum – background vocals (tracks 3 and 4)
  • Susie Davis – background vocals (tracks 2, 3, 6)
  • Benny Rietveld – background vocals (track 6)

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
U.S. Billboard 200 50
U.S. Billboard R&B Albums 12