Wednesday, May 22, 2013

 

Whatever Happened to Sheena Easton?

Sheena Easton is one of the most versatile recording artists of the past three decades; her sultry, soulful and passionate voice enabled her to become the only person who scored a top three hit on every major Billboard chart: Adult Contemporary, Dance, Pop, Country, and R&B. "9 to 5 (Morning Train)" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the Adult Contemporary chart in 1980, "We've Got Tonight" (a duet with Kenny Rogers) reached number one on the Country chart in 1983 and "Sugar Walls" reached number one on the Dance chart and number three on the R&B chart in 1985.

Easton's debut single was 1980's "Modern Girl":


Sheena Easton - Modern Girl Live by rvdgu2006

Easton's single "9 to 5"--which was retitled "9 to 5 (Morning Train)" in the United States to avoid any confusion with Dolly Parton's 1980 number one hit--reached number three on the UK Billboard chart and that success elevated "Modern Girl" to top 10 status in the UK after the earlier single was re-released. Easton became the first woman to simultaneously have two top 10 UK singles. "9 to 5 (Morning Train)" also became Easton's first and only Billboard Hot 100 number one hit:


Her rendition of the theme song for the 1981 James Bond movie "For Your Eyes Only" was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in 1982; it peaked at number four on the Hot 100 chart and number six on the Adult Contemporary chart and it is on the short list of best Bond theme songs ever:



"You Could Have Been With Me," released shortly after "For Your Eyes Only," peaked at number 15 on the Hot 100 chart and number six on the Adult Contemporary chart. Any spurned lover who feels like his or her former partner has made a mistake can identify with the piercing lyrics delivered by Easton on this track:



Easton teamed up with Kenny Rogers on a number one Country hit in 1983, "We've Got Tonight":



She soon followed that success with "Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)," which reached number nine on the Dance chart in 1983:


Sheena Easton Telefone by Celtiemama

"Strut," which peaked at number seven on the 1984 Billboard Hot 100 and number six on the U.S. Dance chart, signaled a shift for Easton toward songs featuring lyrics that were more sexually suggestive:


Prince--using the pen name Alexander Nevermind--penned "Sugar Walls" for Easton and that single became her first and only number one Dance hit; it also was listed by the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) as one of the "Filthy Fifteen" songs. In 1987, Easton teamed up with Prince on the duet "U Got the Look," which reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and thus became the highest charting single from Prince's "Sign O' the Times" album. Easton was not listed on the credits when the single was released but she appeared very prominently in the song's video:


Between 1980 and 1988, Easton had eight top 10 singles on the Hot 100 chart but after "The Lover in Me" peaked at number two in 1988 only two of her next 22 singles were listed in the Hot 100: "Arms of Orion" (a duet with Prince that is featured on the 1989 Batman soundtrack) peaked at number 36 and 1991's "What Comes Naturally" peaked at number 19.

Since 1990, Easton has periodically released new music plus some compilation albums; Easton's 1993 album "No Strings" includes her cover version of "The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else":



Recently, she has focused on theater work, voice-acting and performing in various venues in Las Vegas, her current residence; in 2004 she was inducted into the Casino Legends Hall of Fame.

Here is Easton performing "For Your Eyes Only" at a 2012 concert in Chicago:



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