The adult movie legend’s attempts to become a recording superstar are a mixed bag.
In 1976, second-tier adult film star Andrea True had an unexpected career as a disco diva, with her lusty single More More More becoming an international hit even in countries like Britain where her films had never been released. In fact, while this was the only significant hit for The Andrea True Connection, it quickly became established as a disco classic and many of those who grooved to the funky tune, breathy vocals and slightly salacious lyrics would have had no idea that True was the star of films like Deep Throat Part II, The Seduction of Lynn Carter and Every Inch a Lady. While adult film stars of the early 1970s often dreamed of crossing over into the mainstream as actors – an idea that wasn’t unthinkable at the time – True became one of the few to actually have what could be called a mainstream career. Admittedly, her subsequent singles and two LPs didn’t do much, but More More More was the sort of one-hit-wonder that meant lasting fame and recognition.
Naturally, True’s success meant that a few other adult stars would take a stab at becoming musical stars. In later years, it became quite a thing, with varying levels of credibility – artists like Traci Lords and Heather Hunter were actually quite credible while others were strictly novelty acts. Where exactly Marilyn Chambers comes on that musical scale is, perhaps, a matter of opinion.
Chambers was arguably the biggest name in American porn during the early 1970s once Linda Lovelace had moved on and fizzled out. Making her debut in Behind the Green Door in 1972, she had the looks, the sexual voracity and the talent to outshine most of her rivals – and because she was the star of one of the first XXX-rated movies to break through to mainstream success, she was immediately a bona fide celebrity. Chambers made a handful of films in the early 1970s and then moved on to a career of live appearances, mainstream movies (she is magnificent in David Cronenberg’s Rabid) and general celebrity before returning to adult movies at the end of the decade.
Amongst her ‘other’ work was an attempt to make it as a singer. This dates back as far as 1974 when she made an appearance on Good Night America performing the song What is Hip?. The best that we can say about this particular performance is that it clearly isn’t mimed. Still, host Geraldo Rivera seems to enjoy it.
Her best-known musical work is the 1976 single Benihana, which feels like a half-baked attempt to beat True at her own game. Co-written and produced by Michael Zager (best known for the hit Let’s All Chant), the song is decent enough I suppose, and Chambers does a decent job with her performance – but it lacks the hooks of True’s song and all feels rather wishy-washy and forgettable. Despite some mainstream promotion – notable an appearance on Future Shock, a music show hosted by James Brown – the song – backed by the pop ballad So I Cried a Little Bit – was not a hit and did not lead to further recordings.
Nevertheless, this wasn’t quite the end of Marilyn’s singing career. In 1980, the theme song to her comeback hit movie Insatiable, titled Shame on You, was issued as a single by Miracle Records, though this seems to have been more a promotional item than a commercial release. She would also flex her vocal cords in the movie Up ‘n’ Coming, where she played a country singer. None of her songs from this film made it to vinyl though and this seemed to be the last gasp of her musical ambitions.
Marilyn’s recording career was unfortunately too brief to justify any retrospective LPs – though perhaps if the two songs on the Miracle Records single could be sourced and rights secured, perhaps a four-track 12-inch EP could be a decent proposition and if the other recordings that never made it to vinyl in the first placed could also be picked up, there might just be an album in it. Other, lesser adult stars have had their musical works reissued and so it seems a shame that Marilyn’s efforts are effectively forgotten. I suspect that many fans would be keen to snap up a new release of these songs (though to be fair, the Benihana single is not exactly rare).
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