Sheila E.

Percussionist/singer Sheila E. most recently was in the public eye as bandleader on

Magic Johnson's TV talk show.

While Sheila E.'s accomplished percussion playing often adds spice to other performers'

records (The Artist, Gloria Estefan) and tours (Lionel Richie, Patti LaBelle), she also has

had a considerable solo career.

Born Sheila Escovedo in Oakland, Calif., 41 years ago today, Sheila E. began playing

drums in Azteca, the Latin jazz-fusion band led by her father. Sheila E.'s dad, Pete

"Coke" Escovedo, also played with Santana. He released two solo albums on Fantasy

Records on which Sheila E. drummed.

The Artist Formerly Known As Prince met Sheila E. in the early '80s and soon employed

her on "Erotic City" (RealAudio excerpt), the B-side to

his 1984 #1 single "Let's Go Crazy." The former Prince was enthusiastic enough about

her work to get Sheila E. signed to Warner Bros. Records.

Her debut LP, Sheila E. in the Glamorous Life (1984), yielded the U.S. top-10

single "The Glamorous Life," written by Prince. The album also spawned the minor hit,

"The Belle of St. Mark," which scored in the U.K. as well. Sheila E. also opened Prince's

Purple Rain tour.

Sheila E. in Romance 1600, on Prince's Paisley Park label (1985), featured the

#11 hit "A Love Bizarre." But two years later, Sheila E.'s eponymous album, featuring the

"Hold Me" single, was less commercially successful. She hooked up with Prince again to

drum for his 1987 Sign O' the Times tour. Sheila E. was seen frequently in the

documentary film about the tour.

Sex Cymbal (1991) was Sheila E.'s next (and most recent) solo album. It featured

production help from her brother Peter Michael, who often has backed Stevie Nicks, a

performer whom Sheila E. herself has supported onstage. Sheila E. also has worked

with such greats as Billy Cobham, Diana Ross, Herbie Hancock, Natalie Cole, Don Was,

Babyface and Marvin Gaye.

Sheila E. was nominated for a Grammy Award for "The Glamorous Life," which also

earned her an MTV Video Award.

In recent years, Sheila E. has performed at various AIDS relief benefits with such

mega-stars as Patti LaBelle, Liza Minnelli and Barbra Streisand.

Other birthdays: Connie Francis, 60; Dionne Warwick, 58; Dickey Betts (Allman Brothers

Band), 55; Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull), 52; Paul Rodgers (Free/Bad Company/Firm), 49;

Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors), 35; Danny Boy (House of Pain), 30; Frank Sinatra,

1915-1998; and Rob Tyner (MC5), 1944-1991.