Night Flight’s “Take Off to Sex”: Shootin’ love in your direction with Prince protégés Apollonia 6

By on September 11, 2017

Night Flight’s “Take Off to Sex” — our provocative look at eroticism in ’80s music videos — features “Sex Shooter” by Prince protégés Apollonia 6, who are practically bustin’ out of their bustiers in what some straight-lacers thought was simply an excuse to see three girls in skimpy lingerie for four-and-a-half minutes.

This episode, originally broadcast on February 1, 1985, is now streaming over on Night Flight Plus!

NFTAKEOFFTOSEX4

Apollonio 6 were led by Apollonia Kotero, who finally met Prince after she’d already passed her first audition for his semi-autobiographical feature film debut Purple Rain.

NFTAKEOFFTOSEX2

Apollonia 6: Brenda Bennett, Apollonia Kotero, Susie Moonsie (1984)

Originally the movie’s leading lady role was to be based on Vanity‘s life story.

However, in August of 1983, just a few months before cameras were to begin rolling in Minneapolis (where the film was set), Vanity had decided to break away from Prince and his girl group trio, Vanity 6.

Read more about Apollonia, Purple Rain and “Sex Shooter” below.

IDevices-For-NF-web

Hey! Do you have a Night Flight Plus subscription?

We’re offering up original uncut air masters of Night Flight programming from the video vaults of the 1980s TV show, as well as provocative new selections from the world of music, documentaries, animation, cult films and more. Sign up today!

NFTAKEOFFTOSEX9

At the time, Prince had already begun recording tracks for Vanity 6’s second album, and he was forced to scrap several tracks with Vanity’s lead vocals, including “Sex Shooter.”

He began looking for a new leading lady for Purple Rain, knowing the part would now have to be substantially re-written.

There were open call auditions in New York and Los Angeles in September of 1983, and 24-year old Apollonia Kotero was just one of some 700 women who tried out for the part, arriving at the audition wearing baggy sweats and no makeup because she’d come straight from the gym.

NFTAKEOFFTOSEX13

Nevertheless, she made an impression, and she was then flown to Minneapolis, where Prince picked her up from the airport in his purple limousine.

The film’s producers also asked her to remove her heels because they wanted to see how the 5′ 4″ actress sized up to the diminutive pop star (he was 5′ 3″).

NFTAKEOFFTOSEX5

Kotero — born Patricia Kotero in Santa Monica, CA, on August 2, 1958 (some sources say ’59) — had dropped out of San Pedro High at age sixteen to become a model.

She also worked as a “Dance Instructress,” according to a questionnaire she filled out in 1978 to become a Los Angeles Rams cheerleader (they were called the Embraceable Ewes).

She’d begun acting by then too — mostly bit parts on primetime network TV shows like “CHiPS,” “Fantasy Island,” and “Knight Rider” — and she had appeared as the vixen in Eddie Money’s “Shakin'” video.

NFTAKEOFFTOSEX6

Brenda Bennett, Vanity and Apollonia

Prince dubbed her Apollonia, which was apparently inspired by a minor character — Michael Corleone’s Italian wife — in Francis Ford Coppolla’s The Godfather.

At the time, Prince was “looking for not just a leading lady in a film but a leading lady in his life,” according to Apollonia, but she wasn’t interested.

He then apparently pressured her to break up with her then-boyfriend, Van Halen’s David Lee Roth, because he didn’t want his newest protégé dating someone famous.

NFTAKEOFFTOSEX16

Purple Rain — directed by Albert Magnoli — began production on October 31, 1983. Kotero plays Apollonia, who arrives in Minneapolis looking to break into the city’s music scene as a singer.

Her arrival sets up the movie’s rivalry between Prince (as “The Kid”) — who performs nightly with the Revolution at the now-famous First Avenue Club — and his nemesis, Morris Day of The Time, who convinces her to join the girl group he‘s putting together, which leads to The Kid feeling betrayed.

NFTAKEOFFTOSEX15

Everyone remembers the movie’s infamous lakeside scene, when she asks The Kid if he’s going to help her with her career and The Kid tells her that she hasn’t passed the initiation yet, that the first step is to “purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka.”

As we’re sure you already know, Apollonia then strips down to just panties and jumps into the frigid water, only to have him tell her, as she wades half-naked back to shore, “That ain’t Lake Minnetonka.”

What you may not know was that she began blacking out from hypothermia — the water already had a layer of ice on the surface — and an ambulance had to be called to the set (close-up shots were later shot at a lake in the Los Angeles area).

NFTAKEOFFTOSEX10

In December of 1983, Prince began working on the Apollonia 6 album, but he lost interest during the recording sessions, deciding to set aside some of the first-rate songs he’d written for it for other artists.

One of those was “The Glamourous Life,” which he’d written about Apollonia, but he later gave to another of his new protégés, Sheila E.

Apollonia 6 sang just one song, “Sex Shooter,” in Purple Rain, which was released as the album’s first single. When the self-titled Apollonia 6 album arrived on October 1, 1984, Prince’s name did not appear anywhere on the record.

“Sex Shooter” charted at #7 on Billboard‘s R&B chart, but it barely made it on to the Pop chart (#85, Billboard Hot 100).

NFTAKEOFFTOSEX12

Purple Rain grossed more than $80 million in 1984, and became a cult classic, winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score, while Apollonia, meanwhile, was nominated twice that year for the 5th Annual Golden Raspberry Awards.

The first Razzie nomination went to Apollonia for “Worst New Star,” while a second Razzie nom went to Apollonia 6 for their performance of “Sex Shooter” in Purple Rain.

NFTAKEOFFTOSEX11

Apollonia — who would continue to use the name for her career post-Prince — had told him that her sole interest was to star in his Purple Rain, but she did not want to fully commit to being in Apollonia 6, which effectively ended her their professional relationship.

Watch Night Flight’s “Take Off to Sex” — which also features videos by David Lee Roth, Duran Duran, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Berlin, Helix and much, much more — streaming over on Night Flight Plus!

NFTAKEOFFTOSEX14

About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.