Classics: Vanity 6 – Nasty Girl (Warner Bros.)
“Tonight, I’m livin’ in a fantasy, my own little nasty world. Tonight, don’t you wanna come with me? Do you think I’m a nasty girl?”
‘Nasty Girl’ was tailored by Prince on his aim to develop a girl band that would sing sensual songs with lyrics about sex and fantasy. Hence their appearance with in lingerie and high heels. Unsurprisingly, it has all the ingredients that made Prince’s music with no comparison. Beginnin’ with its funky syncopation.
It just didn’t fulfill its creator’s expectations though. As seen too risqué in a conservative America at the time. With many radio jocks and programmers passing on it. ‘Nasty Girl’ appeared in the soundtrack of various films though. From ‘Beverly Hills Cop’, to ‘Girl 6’ and ‘Private School’. Inaya Day givin’ it a successful cover back in 2004.
Let’s get back to the early 80’s. Thus at a period when Prince was still a rising star…
Just like Rick James with the ones that were to become the Mary Janes Girls, Prince constantly evolved along with female artists. By then, he had put together a girl band by the like of The Hookers. A threesome as a matter of fact, comprising Brenda Bennett and Jamie Shoop along with his then girl-friend, Susan Moonsie.
The latter never saw the light as such at the end. With Denise Matthews replacing Shoop after Prince had renamed her Vanity. He had even thought about callin’ her Vagina for some time… The group soon after turning their name into Vanity 6. With the “6” in their name referring to the female trio’s breasts!
Remembered for their sexually explicit lyrics, performances, and costumes, the girls released only one album – ‘Vanity 6’ – back in 1982 with production work by the likes of Prince. An album out of which the “sexplicit” ‘Nasty Girl’ remains their most famous cut. Even though it only received moderate airplay. And this first and foremost because of its lyrical content considered as risqué back at the time. With the same applying to their album as a matter of fact.
This brought the threesome to disband, after they’d performed with Prince and The Time on his 1999 Tour until the Spring Of 1983. Vanity leaving right before the shooting of ‘Purple Rain’ to pursue a solo career. Thus leaving open an acting position for the role written for her by Prince in the film.
Patricia Kotero finally replaced Vanity in ‘Purple Rain’. Adopting the stage name Apollonia, she also took her role in Vanity 6, with the band becoming Apollonia 6. Then releasing what would be their first and final (self-titled) album back in 1984. With ‘Sex Shooter’ being their biggest success, featuring Jill Jones and Wendy & Lisa on backing vocals.
Apollonia 6 disbanded almost as quickly as Vanity 6, after Prince had progressively lost interest in the concept. This leadin’ tracks that were intially thought to be performed by Apollonia 6 to appear on other artists’ albums. From ‘Take Me With U’, a duet with Patricia Kotero which ended up on the ‘Purple Rain’ OST. To ‘The Glamorous Life’ which became the title track of Sheila E.‘s debut-album back in 1984. Not to mention ‘Manic Monday’ on The Bangles‘ ‘Different Light’ album two years later.
Vanity signed with Motown as a solo artist during the same year. There, she released two albums which generated moderate success. Eventually starring in various films. With her performance in 1988’s ‘Action Jackson’ standing as her highest profile role. A film that saw her starring opposite Carl Weathers, Craig T. Nelson, and Sharon Stone.
She recommitted herself to evangelical Christianity upon a drug overdose in 1994. Eventually removing herself from Hollywood and denouncing her past provokative work beginning with ‘Nasty Girl’.
The Artist Formerly Known As… Vanity sadly died, aged 57, in a Fremont, CA, hospital on Feb. 15, 2016, from renal failure. Two months before Prince‘s own passing…