Teena Marie: Five key songs by the late singer

teena-marieImage Credit: Chris Walter/WireImage.comThe unexpected loss of singer Teena Marie at age 54 is hitting R&B fans hard today. While she’s gone far too soon, she left behind an impressive body of work that spanned several eras in music.

As we send our condolences to Teena Marie’s friends, family, and fans, we’ve compiled a list of five essential tunes from throughout her career. Listen after the jump — and let us know which songs you’ll remember her by.

“Fire and Desire” (1980)
A year after releasing her debut album on a division of Motown Records, Marie cut this romantic duet with mentor Rick James. He runs the show until her passionate lead vocals come in around the 4:00 mark. After that, this is Teena Marie’s song all the way.

“Square Biz” (1981)
“Everybody get up!” Marie shouts at the start of one of her first major hits as a solo artist. Listening to the rest of the unstoppably upbeat tune without grooving along as she commands is simply impossible. And don’t miss her sassy rap verse at the end!

“Lovergirl” (1984)
As the ’80s went on, Marie’s career kept getting bigger. Signing to pop powerhouse Epic Records — home of another famous Motown alum, Michael Jackson — she released a string of successful singles. Among them was this sexy R&B-funk-rock jam, which quickly became her signature song.

“Ooh La La La” (1988)
This breezy ballad pairs Marie’s exquisite wail with a smooth saxophone part. Eight years after it first became a hit, “Ooh La La La” returned to the airwaves when the Fugees sampled it for the chorus of their “Fu-Gee-La.” It was just one more sign of Lady T’s continued relevance.

“I’m Still in Love” (2004)
Although she’s best remembered for her output in earlier decades, Marie mounted a comeback in the 2000s, recording three albums with New Orleans rap label Cash Money Records. This single, a loose refashioning of Al Green’s classic “I’m Still in Love With You,” proved she could play the role of a streetwise contemporary R&B star quite convincingly.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com:
Teena Marie dies at 54
EW interviewed Teena Marie in 2004

Comments (229 total) Add your comment
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  • Joseph Molnar

    “I Need Your Lovin'”

    • DivaSoulSista

      Loved that song!

    • Flooba Bilbers

      Yes, “I Need Your Lovin'”!!!

      • TB

        I need your lovin is by far one of the most underrated songs EVER… that base line at the intro, the lyrics, amazing…

      • Delon

        My favorite, too.

    • Maurice

      Cassanova Brown!!!

    • Slammed

      I know, I got to f_uck her too, way loose vulva.

    • HD

      “Square Biz” was sampled by the Firm which included Nas, Foxy Brown and Dawn Robinson on their song called “Firm Biz”. TM’s influence is big even if people don’t realize it.

    • Ida M. Carter

      Definitely my favorite and #1 in my music book.

  • Ki

    Portuguese Love!!!

    • SXiPPY

      Or “Dear Lover” and “Casanova Brown” from the underrated 1983 LP “Robbery”.

      • Jacqueline

        I love Casanova Brown!!!

      • Lori Loves

        She was amazing and BBWMarriage was amazing

    • FanofLadyT

      Yes!! That’s a favorite.

    • Moni

      YES!! Portuguese Love!!! & “Can It Be Love”, “If I Were A Bell”

      • Bells

        “If I Were A Bell” was one of my favorites.

    • Liz

      Yes! I love that song! Played it over and over.

  • James

    I saw teena marie in concert in San Diego in ’84-I think-at the fox theatre. it was with Billy Ocean. the loverboy/lovergirl tour. outstanding. you are already missed.

  • Renee Davis

    RIP Teena Marie. You were of the greats, and you genuinely loved our community and taught us how to love. You will be missed.

    • KAREN WYNNE

      TEENA MARIA, YOU WILL BE TRUELY MISSED

  • cynthia

    This has beem a great lost to all of us who have been touch by Teena Marie’s music and warmth…..we will miss her very much

  • outside agitators mom

    ‘Deja vu’ is my favorite

    • Butterscotch

      Mine too…I just finished listening to it and I’m still crying. That song carried me through so much emotional turmoil. I hope Lady T doesn’t have to return again either (those who know the lyrics will understand)

    • rmj

      yes Deja vu!!!!

  • linmonique

    There are just too many great songs to choose from, but if I have to chose one I guess it would be “Now That I Have You” from the Lady “T” album.

  • JoeC

    Very good choice of songs, Simon. But as someone else here posted, I would add ‘Portuguese Love’. As for ‘Fire and Desire’ that is one of the best duets ever with two greeat singers, and now we’ve lost them both too soon. Godspeed, Lady T….

  • shameeka wilson

    this is a sad loss for the R&B music world and she will be sadlt missed.

  • ADW

    Portugese Love & Deja Vu

    …c’mon EW, you’re losing your edge.

  • nrb

    How could you have overlooked Deja Vu? That song alone, put her in a class above all others.

    • AJ

      I agree 150 percent. DeJaVu (I’ve Been Here Before) is a MASTERPIECE. Her reading on the song is sheer BRILLANCE. I just learned of Teena’s death moments ago and cried. The world has lost a TRUE DIVA!

  • Chuck Anziulewicz

    It’s really sad to lose such a talent so prematurely. And make no mistake about it: Teena Marie was still recording, still performing, and she still sounded fabulous. The fact that radio considered her yesterday’s news didn’t change that fact. Just last year (2009) she put out an album called “Congo Square,” and if you listen to samples on Amazon, you can see that she had much more talent than most of today’s pre-packaged, over-produced, auto-tuned pop tarts.

  • Carol

    Another great one gone too soon.

  • Huh

    We miss you “Vanilla Child”.
    “Out On A Limb” is my favorite among many of her great songs!

    • DivaSoulSista

      Out on a Limb. Loved that song.

      • california chick

        yes lord!!!

    • Ashley

      Definitely Out on a Limb for those of us mourninng an unfulfilled love!

    • Zakry

      Good call on “Out On A Limb”

  • Katrina

    My heart goes out to Alia Rose….. God Bless Her! Teena was my favorite…. didn’t miss a concert in Detroit!!! RIP Lady T cause god has another songbird in Heaven! Missin You….. KT

    • Sal

      Tina Marie was a very good singer, she was in a class all by herself. The world has yet lost another great soul….Tina, you will be greatly missed.

      • Are you for Real?

        For some reason this has always bothered me. If you are going to pay your respects, at least realize her name was Teena not Tina.

      • Zakry

        Calm down. “Tina” is the common spelling, I’m sure no slight was intended.

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