"The Belle of St. Mark" is a song written by Prince and recorded by singer/percussionist Sheila E. The song was released in November 1984 in the Netherlands, and in February 1985 in the U.S. and elsewhere. It peaked at #34 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #68 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles Charts in 1985. It reached the top ten in the Netherlands and New Zealand as well as the top twenty in the UK and Ireland, and was an NME "Single of the Week".
The song's lyrics tell of an androgynous "frail but passionate creature", referred to as "he" throughout, but called the feminine "Belle". (Androgyny was a prevalent theme in the music of Sheila E.'s mentor, Prince, and common in pop music of the period.) The song implies the Belle is French (viz. the lyrics, "His Paris hair, it blows in the warm Parisian air / That blows whenever his Paris hair is there") but St. Mark is commonly known as a location in Venice, Italy.
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