Vanity 6

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Vanity 6
Right to left: Susan, Vanity, and Brenda (1983).
Right to left: Susan, Vanity, and Brenda (1983).
Background information
OriginMinneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Genres
Years active1982–1983
LabelsWarner Bros.
Past membersVanity (deceased)
Brenda Bennett
Susan Moonsie

Vanity 6 was a short lived American female vocal trio that gained popularity in the early 1980s. They were protégés of musician Prince. Led by singer Vanity, they are known for their song "Nasty Girl."[6]

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

In 1981, Prince, himself a rising musical star, suggested that Susan Moonsie and her sister Loreen, along with Cavallo, Ruffalo & Fargnoli employee Jamie Shoop form a girl group that would be called the Hookers.[7] Prince's vision was that the three women would perform in lingerie and sing sensual songs with lyrics about sex, romance, and fantasy.[8] Later, musician Rick James claimed that Prince had stolen the idea for creating a sexy trio in negligees who sang about love, pain, money, and power from him while Prince was the opening act on James's tour in 1980.[9][10] Set designer Roy Bennett's wife Brenda Bennett, who later joined the group stated that Prince was looking to create a somewhat "1980s version of The Supremes."[11]

The original trio recorded a few demos before Prince met Canadian model and B movie actress Denise Matthews at the American Music Awards in January 1982.[7][12] Prince was so taken by her charisma that he decided she would be the perfect lead vocalist for his group the Hookers. He also suggested that Matthews use the stage name Vagina. She agreed to be part of the act, but insisted that the name of the group be changed from the Hookers, and that she will not be using the stage name Vagina. They settled on her stage name as Vanity and the group's name became Vanity 6.[13] Prince chose the name because he said that looking at her was like looking in a mirror at the female version of himself.[7] Around this time, Prince and Vanity began a romantic relationship. Loreen and Jamie were not in the group, and with Vanity's arrival, that left Vanity 6 as Vanity on lead vocals, and Brenda Bennett and Susan Moonsie on backing vocals.[11] Prince provided the group, now dressed in lingerie and high heels, with provocative songs (although within the album credits, group members were sometimes given writing credits).[14]

Career[edit]

Their first single, "He's So Dull", failed to chart on the main US Hot 100 chart and was a minor hit in Australia and the Netherlands; it appeared in the film National Lampoon's Vacation.[15][16]

The second single, "Nasty Girl", was also not a hit on the US Hot 100, but did become a hit on the U.S. R&B chart, hitting number 7, and the U.S. Dance chart, hitting number one.[17] The song was a top 10 hit in the Netherlands,[15] and a top 20 hit in the Flanders region of Belgium.[18] "Nasty Girl" was featured in the film Beverly Hills Cop, although it was not included on the soundtrack. It was also featured in the 1983 sex comedy film Private School.

The third single, "Drive Me Wild", was another minor hit. Music videos were shot for all three singles. Their first and only album, Vanity 6, was eventually certified gold.[19] Members of the group sometimes provided backing vocals on Prince's albums.[20] Vanity 6 opened up on the Prince 1999 Tour in 1982 and 1983, which also featured The Time. The fact that The Time played behind a curtain during the Vanity 6 performance, caused a rift between the bands and friction within those friendships.[citation needed]

The hierarchy in the group caused friction between Vanity and Bennett.[11] Prince often put Bennett in charge of rehearsals and checking Vanity's vocals when Vanity saw herself as the one in charge of the group.[11] Vanity appeared in a Richard Avedon photoshoot with Prince with one of the photos being used on the cover of the April 28, 1983 issue of Rolling Stone magazine.[21] The issue also contained a two-page Avedon photo of Vanity 6. In 1983, Vanity recorded demos for a number of new songs, including "Sex Shooter", intended for the ill-fated second Vanity 6 album.[22] During pre-production of the movie Purple Rain in August 1983, Vanity decided to leave the group and relinquish her role in the film.[23] Many possible reasons were given for her departure, such as disbursement of royalties, Prince being too controlling, and the end of their romantic relationship. Vanity was replaced in the music group and the 1984 film Purple Rain by Apollonia.[23]

Post-Vanity 6[edit]

Apollonia inherited the lead role in Vanity 6, which was renamed Apollonia 6, alongside Bennett and Moonsie.[23] The trio recorded what would be their only album, Apollonia 6 in 1984. Moonsie went on to work as a realtor and later became a restaurateur.[24]

Former front woman Vanity went on to have a solo music and acting career.[25] In 1994, Vanity overdosed on crack cocaine and suffered from near-fatal kidney failure. Upon recovering, she became a born again Christian and renounced her stage name and her career in show business.[8] She died from kidney disease on February 15, 2016.[26]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

Title
(A-side/B-side)
Release Peak chart positions Album
US
[27]
US
R&B
US Dance
[28]
AUS
[16]
BEL
(FL)

[29]
NLD
[30]
"He's So Dull"
"Make-Up"
1982 92 44 Vanity 6
"Nasty Girl"
"Drive Me Wild"
101 7 1 11 7
"Drive Me Wild"
"3 × 2 = 6"
"Bite the Beat"
"3 × 2 = 6"
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Unreleased second Vanity 6 album[edit]

A number of songs were intended for the Vanity 6 follow up album, but due to Vanity's departure, these songs ended up performed by others.

  • "Sex Shooter",[22] which was released by Apollonia 6. Vanity 6 did record at least one version of this song which has been leaked on the internet.
  • "17 Days", the B-side to Prince's "When Doves Cry", ended up being released by Prince, with Bennett's background vocals still on the recording.
  • "G-Spot",[22] which ended up on Jill Jones debut album. The Vanity 6/Prince with Jill Jones background vocals demo has been leaked on the internet as well.
  • "Vibrator",[22] which has been leaked online. The song features Prince in a comedic sketch as well as Jill Jones. It is about Vanity feeling ignored by her lover only to find solace with her "body massager" which midway through the song loses power prompting Vanity to go purchase batteries at two different stores. The song is set in three distinct parts: The verse and chorus portions, then the comedic sketch, and finally, Vanity achieving an orgasm with her vibrator.
  • "Moral Majority"[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vanity 6 Lead Singer & Prince Protege Passes Away at 57". The Music. February 16, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  2. ^ Gelt, Jessica (February 15, 2016). "Prince protege Denise 'Vanity' Matthews dies at 57". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  3. ^ Norment, Lynn (November 1987). "Prince's Intriguing Women". Ebony. Vol. 43, no. 1. p. 168. ISSN 0012-9011.
  4. ^ Leon, Darren (June 9, 1985). "Vanity sheds 'nasty girl' image in film" (PDF). Monmouth. p. 5.
  5. ^ Perrone, Pierre (February 23, 2016). "Vanity: Prince protégée who fronted the synth-pop trio The Hookers, fell prey to drug abuse and became a born-again Christian". The Independent. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  6. ^ "Vanity, Former Prince Protégé & Leader of The Hookers, Dies at 57". Billboard. February 16, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Tudahl 2018, p. 13.
  8. ^ a b Collier, Aldore (January 11, 1993). "Vanity Tells Why She Gave Up Sexy Image And Became Born-Again Christian". Jet: 58.
  9. ^ Collier, Aldore (September 26, 1983). "Rick James Talks About Life with Fast Women and Hot Cars". Jet: 61.
  10. ^ James, Rick (July 8, 2014). Glow: The Autobiography of Rick James. Simon and Schuster. p. 245. ISBN 978-1-4767-6416-0.
  11. ^ a b c d Tudahl 2018, p. 14.
  12. ^ "Do It All Night: The Story of Prince's Dirty Mind | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  13. ^ "Her Romance with Prince Hit the Rocks, but Vanity's Singing Career Is Going Grrr-Eat". People.com. October 15, 1984.
  14. ^ "Vanity 6 Living Out Daring Fantasies on Stage". Jet: 60. January 24, 1983.
  15. ^ a b "dutchcharts.nl > Discografie Vanity 6" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  16. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St. Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 320. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  17. ^ Vanity at AllMusic
  18. ^ "Ultratop > Vanity 6 – Nasty Girl" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  19. ^ "Vanity - Vanity 6". RIAA. Retrieved January 1, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ Tudahl 2018, p. 391.
  21. ^ Miller, Debby (April 28, 1983). "Prince's Hot Rock: The Secret Life Of America's Sexiest One-Man Band". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 1, 2022.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ a b c d e Tudahl 2018, p. 78.
  23. ^ a b c Draper, Jason (November 1, 2016). Prince: Life and Times: Revised and Updated Edition. Chartwell Books. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-7603-5363-9.
  24. ^ Mayo, Michael (March 6, 2020). "Are changes ahead for popular Hardy Park Bistro in Fort Lauderdale?". sun-sentinel.com. Retrieved January 1, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. ^ "Remembering Vanity Five Years Later". SPIN. February 15, 2021. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  26. ^ "Denise "Vanity" Matthews Of Vanity 6 Dead At 57". Globalgrind.cassiuslife.com. February 16, 2016. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  27. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2005). Bubbling Under The Billboard Hot 100 1959–2004 (2nd ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 277. ISBN 0-89820-162-4.
  28. ^ ((( Vanity > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles ))). allmusic (1959-01-04). Retrieved on 2010-08-18.
  29. ^ "Ultratop > Vanity 6 — Nasty Girl" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  30. ^ "dutchcharts.nl > Discografie Vanity 6" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 20, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

Tudahl, Duane (2018). Prince and the Purple Rain Era Studio Sessions: 1983 and 1984. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781538116432.

External links[edit]