After rising to fame in 1980 with her first two singles, Modern Girl and Morning Train (9 to 5), Scottish singer Sheena Easton spent the next decade dominating the charts with hits like Strut, For Your Eyes Only, and Sugar Walls. The stream of hits might have tapered off in the ’90s, but that doesn’t diminish a legacy that includes five US Gold albums, one US Platinum album, and worldwide record sales of over 30 million. Here’s our pick of the 10 best Sheena Easton songs of all time.
10. The Lover in Me
In 1988, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Antonio “L.A.” Reid were at the height of their hit-making powers. Easton was on the cusp of coming to the end of hers, but she still had a few more hits up her sleeve before that happened. When all three came together on The Lover in Me, good things were bound to happen… and they did. Released in October 1998, the song returned Easton to the UK top 20 for the first time in seven years and became her last top ten entry on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 2.
9. We’ve Got Tonight
We’ve Got Tonight was written by Bob Seger and first recorded for his album Stranger in Town in 1978. In 1983, Kenny Rogers and Easton revisited the track on their supremely radio-friendly cover. The sharp contrast between Roger’s amicable baritone and Easton’s soaring vocals shouldn’t have worked, but it came together beautifully, resulting in a number six hit for the duo on the Billboard Hot 100 and a top 30 entry on the UK charts.
8. Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)
This synth-heavy theatrical dancefloor filler from Easton’s fourth album, Best Kept Secret, proved that Easton had her finger firmly on the pulse of the ’80s zeitgeist. Sure, it might sound a little dated today, but back in 1983, this was as fresh and funky as the mainstream got. Released as Best Kept Secret’s lead single, it failed to make much of an impact in the UK, but fared much better on the other side of the pond, reaching number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100.
7. Almost Over You
On Almost Over You, Easton sings from the perspective of a woman who’s been left broken and battered by her former lover, but is (almost) over him. A big, theatrical ballad with a broad appeal and a stunning vocal from Easton, the song added another hit to the singer’s collection in 1983, reaching number 4 on the US Adult Contemporary chart and number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was even bigger in Canada, coming in at number one on the Adult Contemporary chart.
6. Me Gustas Tal Como Eres
In 1984, Easton teamed up with Mexican singer Luis Gómez Escolar for the Juan Carlos Calderón penned and produced song, Me Gustas Tal Como Eres. Released as a single from Easton’s first Spanish language album Todo Me Recuerda a Ti, the song failed to chart, but still picked up enough positive attention for it to come away as the winner of the Grammy Award for Best Mexican/Mexican-American Performance at the 27th Grammy Awards.
5. Sugar Walls
Sugar Walls’ suggestive title might have raised a few eyebrows, but the sexed-up content didn’t stop it from becoming a top ten hit for the singer back in 1985. The fact that Prince (or “Alexander Nevermind,” as he’s listed on the credits) was the creative mind behind the song helps explain the innuendo-laden lyrics, but it’s Easton’s sultry performance that really makes it what it is.
As liveabout.com notes, after marketing herself as the wholesome, girl next door type for the first few years of her career, Easton began to show off her sexier, edgier side in the mid-’80s, adopting a racier image and venturing into funkier, more dance-oriented territory with her music. On Strut, she vamps it up to the max as she delivers a withering blow to casual chauvinism. Released as the lead single from the 1984 album A Private Heaven, the song reached number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
3. Modern Girl
To modern ears, the lightweight, electronic pop of Modern Girl sounds the very antithesis of contemporary. But even if it’s dated, there’s no denying the bright, breezy charm of this early hit, which combines a blissfully catchy melody with an exuberant performance from Easton. It’s a little bit cheesy and a little bit cutesy, but as far as early ’80s pop confections go, it’s almost impossible to dislike. Released as Easton’s debut single in 1980, it reached the top ten in the UK and the top 20 in the US.
2. For Your Eyes Only
As far as James Bond theme songs go, For Your Eyes Only easily ranks among the best, with a delicate, haunting fragility that stands up as well today as it did in the 1980s. Released as a single in 1982, it reached number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number eight on the UK Singles Chart. It also managed to pick up a nomination for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards.
1. Morning Train (9 to 5)
In at number one on our list of the 10 best Sheena Easton songs of all time is Morning Train (9 to 5). Released as the follow-up to Modern Girl in the UK and as Easton’s debut single in the US, the song propelled her into the mainstream, reaching number 1 on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary chart and becoming the twelfth biggest pop hit of 1981. The lyrics, which describe a woman’s constant efforts to keep her boyfriend happy, are a feminist’s nightmare, but if you can turn a deaf ear to the dated narrative, you’ll find it an impossible song to resist, with an insanely catchy hook and a stellar performance from Easton that demonstrates exactly why she was one of the ’80s biggest superstars.