It’s been 40 years since the release of Teena Marie’s ‘IT MUST BE MAGIC’ album, on May 14, 1981. It was her 4th. and the last album under the Gordy/Motown labels. Teena sealed the delivery of ‘IT MUST BE MAGIC’ with clever writing, brilliant producing, and masterful rhythm arrangements for all of the songs – right down the album cover concept. The first single from the album to hit radio ‘SQUARE BIZ’, whom she co-wrote with Bassist, Composer, Allen McGrierwas one of the first R&B hits that incorporated Rap by a female singer. It was one of her signature concert must-hear, along with the haunting ‘PORTUGUESE LOVE’. ‘PORTUGUESE LOVE’ was the ‘We ain’t leaving until she sings my song,’ cut, on the album. Teena revealed that she wrote the song for her Cape Verdean boyfriend at the time, renowned Photographer/Filmmaker, Bobby Holland.
There are so many beautifully crafted tracks and lyrics to each song, on the album with Teena’s distinguished undisputed vocal style, ‘WHERE’S CALIFORNIA’, ‘365’, ‘OPUS lll’, ‘THE BALLAD of CRADLE ROB and ME’, ‘YES INDEED’ and her tribute to John Lennon, ‘REVOLUTION’. ‘REVOLUTION’ was inspired by the assassination of John Lennon. She and her best friend Mickey Boyce Hearn were in a limo in Washington, D.C. the moment they heard the news of his death.
On August 6, 1981, Teena and ‘IT MUST BE MAGIC’ received her first RIAA Gold certification.
It’s hard to fathom, but Teena Marie never won a Grammy Award for any of her recordings, although other artists who sampled her work went on to receive multiple Grammys and other industry accolades — nor has she ever received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, yet Shrek and Big Bird have one. Nonetheless, the album charted at #2 on Billboard’s U.S. Black Albums chart and #23 on its Pop Albums chart. It was also the highest-selling album for Teena during her time at Motown. It’s been mastered, re-issued, re-released, remastered, and has an expanded CD edition with bonus tracks. Somebody must love Teena Marie’s music…
Well yes, there are legions of her loyal fans on Vanilla Child the oldest Teena Marie Fan Club since 1996, founded by the late Larry Dennison, and is now curated by Sonya Stewart. They’re the ones pushing to get ‘IT MUST BE MAGIC’ back in rotation at radio and on the charts. There isn’t any fan or major celebrity that doesn’t believe Teena’s legacy and her body of work isn’t deserving of all of the above. It’s time to honor Teena Marie’s rightful place in the history of music…
Let’s re-live the magic,
Special thanks to Greg Porras of Los Angeles for being the love and inspiration behind writing this story. To Sonya Stewart and the Teena Marie Fans ~ VanillaChild.com (TeeLOVE) fanbase on Facebook who keeps Teena Marie’s music and memory alive – thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving Teena from the beginning and seeing that her historic legacy is sealed forever.
Click to open the Vanilla Child Fanbase Tribute to Teena Marie’s 40th. Anniversary of ‘IT MUST BE MAGIC’ Album – Credit: Sonya Stewart, Curator of VanillaChild.com (Tee Love) on Facebook.