Wendy & Lisa – Waterfall
At the end of August 1987 two artists released their first album, but they were by no means unknown. In fact, we had seen them practically throughout the 1980s together with the king, or better, the Prince of dangerous relationships, we are obviously talking about Prince. Throughout the first part of his career the genius from Minneapolis released his albums under the name “Prince and the Revolution”, and the Revolution were precisely his court of artist friends who accompanied him in the recording studios and especially on tours.
The Revolution also often were part of Prince’s personal relationships, as we know had never distinguished too much working life and love life. Throughout his career, in fact, Prince often granted visibility to the women around him, like Sheila E, even if he was always ready to give and remove his support when things changed from a sentimental point of view, as happened with Vanity 6 and Apollonia for the recordings of the film Purple Rain.
And in this context were also our two artists. Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman were childhood friends, raised in Minneapolis as Prince, both daughters of musicians. Lisa Coleman’s father was named Gary Coleman but he wasn’t the actor playing Arnold in Diff’rent Strokes, of course.
Lisa was the first to join Prince’s band, as keyboardist and singer, since 1980. Three years later Revolution were left without a guitarist, and so Lisa brought Wendy into the group, her girlfriend at the times. To complicate things further, Prince began a relationship with Wendy’s twin sister Susannah, who became a sort of additional member of Revolution dealing with artistic production and effects.
And so, from the time of Purple Rain, Wendy and Lisa gravitated to Prince’s orbit. They also took part in the albums Around the World in a Day and Parade, and in particular Wendy had at least two fundamental appearances in Prince’s videos. In fact, we see her in Purple Rain (she is the guitarist that Prince kisses at the end of the video, and who cannot hold back an almost disgusted grimace), and above all we see her in Kiss, sitting on a stool playing the guitar, while Prince dances with the beautiful Monique Mannen.
Starting in 1986, however, Wendy and Lisa expressed a desire to leave the Revolution and therefore Prince’s court. With the latest entries, the group had become too male chauvinist, and for this reason they wanted to distance themselves from it. Prince begged them to stay, they had to finish a tour and he promised them that after the tour he would fix things and there would be no more problems. And in fact he fixed them, but in his own way: once the tour was over, Prince all of a sudden disbanded The Revolution, and Wendy and Lisa found themselves free as the wind.
They managed to find a record deal and record the album Wendy and Lisa, released on August 24, 1987, simply using the name “Wendy & Lisa” for their duo. Through name changes (like “Girl Bros.”) and some high and lows they recorded albums until the 10s, but I think I can say they never replicated the success of their first song, Waterfall, at least internationally.
However, Waterfall remains a beautiful memory of the 80s. Written with Bobby Z., himself a former drummer of The Revolution, it speaks of those moments in life when we have to react to a change, because the people around us change. The future will certainly be calm and bright, but in those moments we must be careful not to be dragged by the waterfall in front of us. The song is beautiful, and the video gives us all the energy, the beautiful voice, the grace of the talented Wendy, and also the great harmony of the game of glances with Lisa, sitting at a piano with a surface of water instead of the tail, which contributes to making the whole setting dreamlike.
Wendy and Lisa as we said have perhaps reached the point of maximum visibility with this song, but if we consider all their experience with Prince and the Revolution, we can certainly say that they were two great stars of the 80s.
Wendy & Lisa on Wikipedia