It is with sadness that I report the death of Teena Marie aged just 54. According to some news reports she died in her sleep and was found by her daughter. Read the news here on Yahoo. Teena was one of Motown‘s most successful white artists and a protegé of funk legend Rick James. Motown were worried that the fact she was white might have a detrimental effect on sales so they kept her image from the cover of her first album. A bit like the way they released some albums by their black artists in the 60s, I recall one Isley Brothers album, where the cover was a picture of a lot of beautiful young white people on a beach! It’s all wrong surely.
Teena also won a landmark legal case against Motown before she joined Epic. It broke the way record companies were allowed to hold artists on contract without them being able to release anything. Although she went on to further success with Epic in the 80s Teena for me will always be remembered for two classic funk songs from her Motown days; “Behind The Groove” and “I’m Just A Sucker For Your Love”. You can listen to them below and also watch an excellent clip of her singing “Casanova Brown” live
She will be sadly missed, my thoughts go out to her family and fans around the world.