This past Sunday was Teena Marie’s birthday, and had she lived to see it, she would have been sixty-one years old. One of the things her many fans loved about Teena is her way with slow, romantic songs. Through her long-running career, she had many Quiet Storm favorites, many of which became favorites of mine and people I know. Rather than pick one song by her, I picked what was supposed to be ten, then turned into a baker’s dozen, then finished up with fourteen of my favorite Teena Marie ballads. Even then, I left a few good ones off: “Shangri-La,” “Sunny Skies,” “Where’s California,” and “Irons In The Fire,” just to name a few.
That said I like my choices, and I hope you do too. Here’s the fourteen Teena Marie ballads I picked for #RomanticTuesday. If you cannot view them all, I’ve listed the song titles below.
The playlist contains the following songs:
- “Deja Vu (I’ve Been Here Before)”
- “Now That I Have You”
- “Can It Be Love”
- “Young Love”
- “Portuguese Love”
- “Fire And Desire” (Rick James feat. Teena Marie)
- “Happy” (Rick James feat. Teena Marie)
- “Dear Lover”
- “Shadow Boxing”
- “Casanova Brown”
- “Out On A Limb”
- “If I Were A Bell”
- “Miracles Need Wings To Fly”
- “Wild Horses”
Some notes about the songs:
“Deja Vu” is probably her first great signature ballad, found on her debut album which was produced by her sometime boyfriend and collaborator, Rick James and his partner Art Stewart. “Now That I Have You” and “Could It Be Love” are found on her second album, Lady T, which finally showed her face on an album cover (her debut, Wild & Peaceful did not). “Young Love” (from Irons In The Fire) and “Portuguese Love” (from It Must Be Magic) show Teena’s growing ability to produce herself.
I admit I’m cheating a bit including the two duets with James, but “Fire And Desire” is a song beloved by fans of both artists; it was also the song my folks realized (because apparently they hadn’t been following Teena’s career) that she actually was white. R&B fans never cared; they loved her music and they kept following her, even as she had some pop success with “Lovergirl.” “Dear Lover,” “Shadow Boxing” and “Casanova Brown” (rumored to be written about her relationship with James) were all included on Robbery, which was a comeback album of sorts for Marie, as she wasn’t able to release music for almost two years, due to a dispute with her label at the time, Motown Records.
“Out On A Limb” I remember as a favorite of a lot of girls back when it first came out. “If I Were A Bell” is a classic Teena performance and “Miracles Need Wings To Fly” was written as a kind of tribute to Smokey Robinson (or so I was told). “Wild Horses” has appeared on two Teena Marie albums: her 1993 release Passion Play and the posthumous album Beautiful, which was produced in part by her daughter, Alia Rose.
Teena really liked to stretch out on her slow jams—only one of these songs on this playlist is under five minutes in length—but her fans never complained, and neither did I. If you’re planning to take this playlist for a spin, you’ll need about an hour and a half to get through the whole thing. They may not be all for everyone, but you may find something in there you might like.
Enjoy the Teena Marie tribute to her slow jams, and thanks for listening and reading.
RIP Mary Christine Brockert, aka Teena Marie, aka Lady T