The Belle of St. Mark

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"The Belle of St. Mark"
SheilaE-BelleStMark.jpg
U.S. 7" single
Single by Sheila E.
from the album The Glamorous Life
B-side"Too Sexy"
ReleasedNovember 1984 (U.S.)
November 3, 1984 (Netherlands)
February 3, 1985 (Ireland and New Zealand)
RecordedMarch 1984
GenreDance-pop
Length5:12 (Album Version)
3:38 (7" Single)
7:43 (12" Single)
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Prince[1]
Producer(s)Sheila E.,
Prince (as The Starr ★ Company)
Sheila E. singles chronology
"The Glamorous Life"
(1984)
"The Belle of St. Mark"
(1984)
"Oliver's House"
(1985)

"The Belle of St. Mark" is a song recorded by singer/percussionist Sheila E. The song was released in November 1984 in the United States and in the Netherlands,[2] and in February 1985 in other markets. It peaked at No. 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1984, and No. 68 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles Charts in January 1985. It reached the top 10 in the Netherlands and New Zealand as well as the top 20 in Australia, the UK and Ireland, and was an NME "Single of the Week".[3]

Background[edit]

The song's lyrics tell of an androgynous "frail but passionate creature", referred to as "he" throughout, but called the feminine "Belle". (Androgyny was a prevalent theme in the music of Sheila E.'s mentor, Prince, and common in pop music of the period.)[citation needed] The song implies the Belle is French (viz. the lyrics, "His Paris hair, it blows in the warm Parisian air / That blows whenever his Paris hair is there") but St. Mark is commonly known as a location in Venice, Italy, although it is referencing the St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral (Minneapolis) which the writer of the song at the time (Prince) lived near the church and grew fond of their bells, and the same bells are featured in the beginning of the song.

Track listing[edit]

Cover art for the German and Dutch editions of "The Belle of St. Mark"

7" vinyl[edit]

Side one

  1. "The Belle of St. Mark" – 3:38

Side two

  1. "Too Sexy" – 5:03

12" vinyl[edit]

Side one

  1. "The Belle of St. Mark" (dance remix) – 7:43

Side two

  1. "Too Sexy" – 5:05

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1984–1985) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[4] 16
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[5] 65
Ireland[6] 18
Netherlands[2] 8
New Zealand[7] 5
UK[8] 18
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[9] 34
U.S. Hot Black Singles[10] 68

References[edit]

  1. ^ ACE Database (ASCAP), Work ID: 320305111
  2. ^ a b MegaCharts (November 3, 1990). "Dutch Singles Chart". Dutch Charts. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  3. ^ Parsons, Tony (1985) "Single of the Week", NME, February 2, 1985, p. 14
  4. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  5. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 9636." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  6. ^ Irish Recorded Music Associationa. "The Irish Charts". IRMA. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  7. ^ MegaCharts (April 7, 1990). "New Zealand Singles Chart". New Zealand Charts. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  8. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 175. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  9. ^ "Allmusic – Sheila E. – Billboard singles". Retrieved December 20, 2008.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 522.