Long time reader and commenter Sam requested Vanity 6, and we figured: why not? I mean who doesn't like your basic story about sex and drugs and rock & roll, with ties to Prince and The Time.
The Vanity 6 story begins in the early 1980's with Prince. By this point Prince is a star on the rise (note that ERV has previously featured "Dirty Mind" and "Controversy," which are great examples of his early work). He is also a prolific songwriter, and starts working on side projects to manufacture additional creative outlets.
The first project is The Time, featuring vocalist Morris Day. While The Time was an actual band, Prince (using the pseudonym Jamie Starr) wrote the songs and recorded all of the parts (except for the vocals). This gave Prince a different band, but one where he had total creative control.
Around the same time, Prince decides to create a female band (called The Hookers) to perform hyper-sexual songs while wearing lingerie. (Early 1980's Prince was way into sex and about as subtle as artillery about it.) The original band (with three of Prince's lady friends) progressed to the point of making demos when Prince met Vanity (given name: Denise Matthews) a Canadian model and B movie actress. Prince was smitten, he and Denise became an item and Denise eventually was renamed Vanity. Prince then made Vanity the lead singer of his female trio and named them Vanity 6 (after the number of breasts in the band ... seriously). The backup singers from The Hookers (Brenda Bennett and Susan Moonsie) remained in the band.
Vanity 6 goes into the studio (with his Purpleness, of course) and emerges with their 1982 self-titled debut album. The LP hits #45 on the charts, while "Nasty Girl" becomes a dance hit but does not break the top 100. Vanity 6 (with The Time backing them up) tour with Prince and the Revolution during their 1983 1999 tour, but Vanity eventually breaks up with Prince and develops a major drug problem. She then leaves Prince and the group to go out on her own.
Prince re-creates the band as Apollonia 6 for Purple Rain, using the same backup singers, and new music that was originally intended for Vanity 6. Eventually, Prince and Apollonia break up, and it seems that Prince's interest in designing a girl group also fades over time. Vanity ends up as an addict, nearly dies, and becomes a religious Christian. She has gone back to her given name and left the industry.
So there you go -- the Crib Notes version of Vanity 6. The video is a bit NSFW, and we went with the extended version because it is rarer, but it also has some additional NSFW dialog at the end.