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Romance 1600, Warner Bros. Records (1985) Romance 1600 © 1985, Warner Bros. Records
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Romance 1600

Warner Bros. Records

He asked me to marry him

Romance 1600 is Sheila E’s second solo album, but despite only being credited in the liner notes as a co-writer and performer on A Love Bizarre – the album’s most noteworthy track and reached number 1 in the US dance chart. Prince wrote every track on the album with the exception of one song, Merci For The Speed Of A Mad Clown In Summer – which is written by Sheila. The album was recorded between December 1984 and February 1985, at Sunset Sound in Hollywood and at various studios while on the road during the Purple Rain Tour, when Sheila was the support act on his tour. Boni Boyer and Levi Seacer were her band members, and all three joined Prince’s band for his Sign O’ The Times Tour.

Romance 1600 is the second album Prince released under his newly inaugurated Paisley Park Records, the first being his own, Around The World In A Day. His production credit is under the name of Jamie Starr, although Romance 1600 did not chart in the Billboard Top 200, on 28 January 1986 it received Gold certification by RIAA. Prince’s version of Dear Michelangelo with his vocals was released in 2019 by Warner Brothers, in the collection Originals, as is Holly Rock – an outtake intended for release on Romance 1600.

Data

Production
Prince (as Jamie Starr) and Sheila E.
Label
Paisley Park Records
Distribution
Warner Bros. Records
Cover/Design
Rebecca Blake and Laura LiPuma
Released
35 years, 8 months ago on 26 August 1985
Running Time
36:13
US Chart Peak
-
UK Chart Peak
-
Orig. Formats

Tracklist

  1. Sister Fate (3:50) 1
  2. Dear Michelangelo [feat. Prince] (4:38)
  3. A Love Bizarre [feat. Prince] (12:18) 1
  4. Toy Box (5:32)
  5. Yellow [feat. Prince] (2:11)
  6. Romance 1600 (3:56)
  7. Merci For The Speed Of A Mad Clown In Summer (2:47) 2
  8. Bedtime Story (3:45) 1

1 Released as singles.
2 Written by Sheila E.

Romance 1600 – review

Romance 1600 is worked on a premise of a production, in that each track is a Scene rather than a “track”, which is really a cover-up to instil the album the air of sophistication, and hence the 17th Century getup Sheila wears on the cover. But the product is very much conventional fare, nonetheless. The album begins with a jump, with Sister Fate, a somewhat nondescript track on which Sheila percussion’s the bejesus out of the backing. This continues throughout and the Latin feel is also dominant. Track 2 is where the business gets started, with Dear Michelangelo, complete with Prince’s (uncredited) backing vocals the product lacks the impact of his version later released on Originals in 2019. Prince plays instruments throughout the album and this input likewise uncredited. (One can see why.) The third track is the album’s most famous, be that only within Prince circles – A Love Bizarre – which is, yes, as catchy as hell but running to 12 minutes it still requires commitment – its reputation proceeds itself. The album continues with Toy Box and Yellow also receipt of Prince input but which too fail to ignite, if only slightly doing so with the title track until the excitement it gains is likewise dissipated. Merci For The Speed Of A Mad Clown In Summer is perhaps the most chaotic track released on Paisley Park Records, played back at high speed it might even warrant a health warning. Bedtime Story peters out what is a unremarkable record, one that is perhaps trying too hard either to be both different and but still follow convention – it achieves neither.

Romance 1600

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