February 16, 2016

20,000 Vinyl LPs 51: Action Jackson & Vanity

Action Jackson soundtrack album 
cover photo by Peter Sorel
Copyright 1988, Lorimar Productions 
photo of album cover by Styrous®

I just discovered Vanity died yesterday. I was saddened to hear the news and began hearing her music in my mind. She only made two albums but she made an impression on me when she was in full swing.  

She was a model before Prince discovered her In 1980 and propelled her into the music scene. She met Prince at the American Music Awards. Prince renamed her Vanity because, he said, he saw his female reflection when he looked at her. She first sang backing vocals for his song Free on his 1982 album, 1999; she reappeared on his 1994 album, Come, in the song, Orgasm. In 1982, she sang on the album, Vanity 6, along with Brenda Bennett and Susan Moonsie, one of many projects produced by Prince. The hit song from the album was the funky, Nasty Girl, which was composed and written by Prince.   

Action Jackson soundtrack album 
back cover photos by Peter Sorel
Copyright 1988, Lorimar Productions 
photo of album cover by Styrous®

Funk is a music genre that originated in the mid- to late 1960s when African American musicians created a rhythmic, danceable new form of music through a mixture of soul music, jazz, and rhythm and blues (R&B). The word funk initially referred (and still refers) to a strong odor. It is originally derived from Latin "fumigare" (to smoke) via Old French "fungiere" and, in this sense, first documented in English in 1620. In 1784 "funky" meaning "musty" is first documented, which, in turn, led to a sense of "earthy" that was taken up around 1900 in early jazz slang for something deeply or strongly felt. It was a term used in the early sixties by the gay community; it was picked up by funk musicians in the late sixties.    

Due to its explicit lyrics, Nasty Girl met with resistance on mainstream American radio, peaking within the U.S. Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart. It did, however, become a sizable hit on U.S. R&B radio and it hit number one on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart for four weeks in November 1982. The song was knocked off the number one position by Prince's 1999. Lead singer Vanity, who later became a Christian preacher, subsequently denounced the song and told members of her congregation who listened to the song to "keep praying for the Holy Spirit"  

Vanity was born Denise Katrina Matthews on January 4, 1959, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Her mother is of Polish descent and was born in Germany and her father was African American. She won the Miss Niagara Hospitality title in 1977 and went on to compete for Miss Canada in 1978.

In 1980, Matthews had a small role in the horror movie Terror Train, which was filmed in Montreal a year earlier. She then went to Toronto to film the lead role in the B-movie, Tanya's Island. At the time of both film roles, she was billed as D.D. Winters. After her music career started, as Vanity she starred in a number of movies, including The Last Dragon, which featured her underground hit 7th Heaven. In 1986 she starred in Never Too Young to Die opposite John Stamos. The film also featured Gene Simmons. She went on to appear in 52 Pick-Up and 1988's Action Jackson, her highest profile role, in which she starred opposite Carl Weathers, Craig T. Nelson, and Sharon Stone.

Action Jackson movie poster

Vanity was linked romantically to Adam Ant and Billy Idol. In 1987, she stated that she and Mötley Crüe bassist, Nikki Sixx, were engaged; she joked that she would become Vanity 6 (Sixx) again.  

Action Jackson
vinyl LP label, side 1
photo by Styrous®

In 1994, Vanity overdosed on crack cocaine and suffered from near-fatal renal failure. She recalled that after being rushed to the hospital, doctors said she had three days to live while on life support. She said that Jesus appeared to her at this time and spoke to her, saying if she promised to give up her Vanity persona, he would save her. When she recovered, she renounced her stage name and career and became a born-again Christian. In 1995, she said, "When I came to the Lord Jesus Christ, I threw out about 1,000 tapes of mine — interviews, every tape, every video. Everything." She stated that she had chosen not to receive any further revenue from her work as Vanity, and cut off all ties with Hollywood and her former life in show business.      

Matthews suffered from sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis, a rare complication of a peritoneal dialysis, and died in a Fremont, California hospital yesterday, February 15, 2016. She was 57.   

Action Jackson
vinyl LP label, side 2
photo by Styrous®


Side 1:

1 - The Pointer Sisters - He Turned Me Out - written by LeMel Humes, Mary Lee Kortes - Producer: Richard Perry - 4:25
2 - Madame X - Action Jackson - written by Bernadette Cooper - Producer: Bernadette Cooper - 5:01
3 - LeVert - For The Love Of Money - written by Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff & Anthony Jackson - Producers: Craig Cooper*, Gerald Levert, Marc Gordon - 5:24
4 - Vanity - Undress Me - written by Kim Cage & Jesse Johnson - Producer: Jesse Johnson - 4:10
5 - Herbie Hancock - Building Up "Action Jackson" - written by Herbie Hancock - Producer: Herbie Hancock, Co-producer: Michael Kamen  - 4:05

Side 2:

1 - Sister Sledge - Keeping Good Loving - written & produced by:  Kae Williams Jr., Kathy Sledge, Phillip Lightfoot - 5:24
2 -  Dave Koz & Vanity - Shotgun, Featuring Kareem - written by Autry DeWalt II - Producer: Jeff Lorber - 4:12
3 - Vanity - Faraway Eyes - written by Sue Ann Carwell & Jesse Johnson - Producer: Jesse Johnson - 4:24
4 -  Skyy - Lover's Celebration - Producers: Randy Muller & Solomon Roberts Jr. - 3:46
5 - MC Jam & Pee Wee Jam - Protect And Serve - Producer:  Stevie Salas - 5:05

Some covers are gold stamped as promotional.  

Barcode and Other Identifiers:
    Barcode (Scanned): 075679088611  

Net links:
Action Jackson cast and crew on IMDb             
Action Jackson info on Forgotten Flix      
Yahoo Obituary           
CNN Obituary        
Rolling Stone Obituary         
Washington Post Obituary     
Variety Obituary        
NY Daily News Obituary           
YouTube links:  
Vanity - Faraway Eyes     
Vanity - Undress Me        
Vanity 6 - Nasty Girl          
Action Jackson Official Trailer         

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I started the Vinyl LP series because I have a collection of over 20,000 vinyl record albums I am selling; each blog entry is about an album from my collection. Inquire for information here.   

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Those far away eyes will be missed!

Styrous® ~ Tuesday, February 16, 2016 

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