Teena Marie, R&B Singer, Dies

Posted December 27, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in News

Rick James protege, ’80’s pop sensation dies at the age of 54, according to initial reports

Teena Marie, known for her ’80s pop hit “Lover Girl” and for walking in the shadows of punk funksteer Rick James, passed away at the age of 54; the day after Christmas Day.

Roland Martin, CNN correspondent, reported the story first on his Twitter feed after receiving word from her manager, Mike Gardner, that Marie’s daughter found the R&B singer dead in her home on Sunday. It’s being reported that Marie suffered from a seizure last month. Cause of death has not been annouced at press time, but early reports are concluding that Marie passed away from a massive seizure.

Philadelphia radio station WDAS reported the story first, while Chicago’s V103 also echoed the news during their broadcast. Huffington Post also carried the report. CNN went on assignment to post the news coming from Marie’s manager. Condolences lit up the comments’ board from respected fans and from followers who remain in a state of shock over the troubling news.

Born Marie Christine Brockert, Teena Marie rose to prominence in the late ’70s and 80s after being signed to Motown Records, where she developed a musical and personal partnership with funk legend Rick James. She released over thirteen studio albums, six of which went platinum on the US R&B chart. Two of her albums went platinum, and six altogether were gold.

With a number of R&B hits under her belt (“Square Biz,” “Behind the Groove,” “I Need Your Lovin'”), Marie rose to fame when she left Motown for Epic and scored major success with her 1984 crossover hit, “Lovergirl,” as it sizzled its way to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Her fame slowly dwindled on the pop charts, but she managed to maintain a respectable career as a R&B songstress, recorded the No. 1 R&B hit “Ooh La La La” and continued recording albums faithfully up until 2009.  On her last album, Conga Square, where she signed with R&B revived label Stax Records, she recorded performances with  a number of artists including Faith Evans, Howard Hewett, George Duke and Shirley Murdock.

With a reputation for being the “white girl with the big white voice,” she was also best known for her duets with the late Rick James; evidenced best on songs like the Quiet Storm ballad “Fire and Desire,” “I’m a Sucker for Your Love” and “Happy.”

The hysteria behind Marie’s passing was met with lots of doubt; particularly through social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter.

Christiana1987, in disbelief:

“Lisa Raye says Teena Marie is alive, one of the Isley bros says she’s dead. This is like a ghetto late night BET movie. Is this life?”

BreezysBabyLove responded saying, “[It] doesn’t take long to die & she is” while commenting to Chrisbr0wnstans after they posted: “TEENA MARIE AIN’T DEAD SHE JUST TWEETED LIKE 20 HRS AGO.”

Sadly, Marie posted, in one of her last status posts on her Twitter page (MsTeenaMarie), the lyrics of a Sarah Vaughn song: “May You never grow old, and may I never die…”


Roland Martin – Twitter Feed
Huffington Post – ‘Lovergirl’ Singer Teena Marie Dies: Report
Manager: Singer Teena Marie dies at 54 (CNN)

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine

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